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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 23 Mar 2013 (Saturday) 11:37
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How to approach an insect?

 
Mony
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Mar 23, 2013 11:37 |  #1

Hello!
So after I gathered my gear and went outside how do you actually get to capture these bugs? Most people just say " oh I was just walking down my backyard, found this giant tarantula, pulled my gear out and BOOM a perfect shot" I figured out that this technique doesn't work with me..
So how do you approach a bug, get close, and get the shot, there are a lot of techniques. Do you freeze the subject? If so how? Special type of sprays or what is it harmful for the insects? Or do you enter "stealth mode" and wander around the background and shoot them without disturbing them? If so how do you not disturb them with your ninja skills, or maybe another idea is to trap them? Maybe put some honey. If so do you get them in your house or just trap them outside?
It's nice to see people share their techniques!
Thank you all!!
Keep clicking that shutter :)


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racketman
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Mar 23, 2013 15:01 |  #2

Obviously keep your shadow from falling on them so mainly shoot in to the sun. Try not to breathe over them as they react to CO2.
Early morning up to an hour after sun rise will find many specimens too cold to move, ideal for tripod/natural light work.


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Mony
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Mar 23, 2013 18:27 |  #3

racketman wrote in post #15747325 (external link)
Obviously keep your shadow from falling on them so mainly shoot in to the sun. Try not to breathe over them as they react to CO2.
Early morning up to an hour after sun rise will find many specimens too cold to move, ideal for tripod/natural light work.

A lot of people talk about early morning, what's with the sunrise? Cold blooded insects?


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vsg28
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Mar 23, 2013 19:02 |  #4

Yup, cold blooded insects are too sluggish in the early morning and prefer to bask in the sun for a good period of time.


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JuvarAbrera
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Mar 23, 2013 19:07 |  #5

racketman wrote in post #15747325 (external link)
Obviously keep your shadow from falling on them so mainly shoot in to the sun. Try not to breathe over them as they react to CO2.
Early morning up to an hour after sun rise will find many specimens too cold to move, ideal for tripod/natural light work.

Good to know. :)


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OhLook
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Mar 23, 2013 23:46 |  #6

For this endeavor, dressing for success means making like a flower bed. People have reported that when they wear Hawaiian shirts or floral-print blouses, flying insects come and land on them. Some colors attract particular kinds of bugs. I found that wearing orange got me more leafhoppers than I knew what to do with.

There are probably better and worse ways to smell. I haven't experimented in this area.


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Mony
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Mar 24, 2013 00:18 |  #7

OhLook wrote in post #15748573 (external link)
For this endeavor, dressing for success means making like a flower bed. People have reported that when they wear Hawaiian shirts or floral-print blouses, flying insects come and land on them. Some colors attract particular kinds of bugs. I found that wearing orange got me more leafhoppers than I knew what to do with.

There are probably better and worse ways to smell. I haven't experimented in this area.

Interesting.. Techniques like using sense of smell I have never seen, and for the blouses you kinda are wearing a camo, am gonna look at this today experimenting every time I go thanks!!


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OhLook
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Mar 24, 2013 10:55 |  #8

Mony wrote in post #15748638 (external link)
for the blouses you kinda are wearing a camo

Well, no, you're not trying to hide. A bright flower pattern on fabric is actually an attractant. It fools some bugs or at least reminds them of real flowers.


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LV ­ Moose
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Mar 24, 2013 11:30 as a reply to  @ OhLook's post |  #9

Good advice from Toby about sun/shadow, early morning, and not breathing on them.

Some bugs are easier to sneak up than others; a ladybug searching for aphids is going to be oblivious to your presence. Jumpers might actually turn in your direction to have a look at you. Bees that are moving from flower to flower will largely ignore you (unless you breath on them). I've even had great success shooting wasp nests close-up, by moving very slowly and then remaining still, and directing my breath away from them. Mantids are pretty easy to get close to.

Some bugs that are more skittish... dragons, damsels, robberflies...will take off but frequently return to the same spot, so hold your ground and resist the temptation to give chase.

I've only tried once to refrigerate a bug for pictures, and didn't like it (I killed it, actually), so haven't done that again. Nor have I ever sprayed them with anything.

I will sometimes capture a bug and put it in a controlled environent (a box with dirt, or on a stick, that I can relocate for more comfortable shooting)... scorpions, for instance, and some ground-dwelling spiders. Occasionally I'll find an assassin bug in a bunch of flowers that won't allow me a good shot, so I'll cut part of the plant and take it (and him) to another location for my shots, then return him. Obviously, I wouldn't do this if there are eggs attached to the plant. I've also done that with leaf-hoppers that are very adept at moving to the opposite side of the leaf from where you want them.

You kind of learn how you need to approach different critters as you go along. Good luck.


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nigpd
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Mar 25, 2013 06:55 |  #10

Early morning is great for getting something a bit different

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Mar 25, 2013 06:58 |  #11

Putting out honey or sugar water will attract many flies and bees, and they will usually stay there for quite a while if you don't move too fast.


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Japers
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Mar 27, 2013 13:10 |  #12

The most common methods have already been mentioned; early morning/evenings, honey, sugar water, shadows, clothing, breathing… but I’ll try to add a few methods I use.

If I’m shooting bugs that hang out on flowers, I find that shooting on windy days is helpful. I like to grab the stem of the plant for stability and so I can turn the subject to suit my framing desires.. Windy days allow me to do that without disturbing the insect. They don’t notice the difference between me moving the flower and the wind moving it before I got there.

Also, learning the habits of what you’re shooting is important. Honey bees feed in circles. Find a patch of flowers and watch the bees feed for a few minutes, learn which way they’re rotating, then you’re a step ahead of the game before you start shooting.

Flies and smaller bees like Cuckoos tend to sleep near where they feed. If you find some really active hoverflies that just won’t let you get close.. Wait a day and go back in the morning and you’ll likely find them in the same place asleep.


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How to approach an insect?
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