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FORUMS Photography Talk by Genre Macro Talk 
Thread started 03 May 2009 (Sunday) 23:16
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Do you guys shoot insects dead or alive?

 
Madweasel
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May 22, 2009 14:06 |  #16

pturton wrote in post #7968782 (external link)
Forgot to mention earwigs. I'll kill them where ever I find them.

Why?


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CyberDyneSystems
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May 22, 2009 14:13 |  #17

Got to agree with Lester etc.. a Wildlife photographer should strive to leave the world we capture as undisturbed as humanly possible.
Killing our subjects is both 100% contradictory to this basic precept, but it is the utmost of human arrogance.

Try and look outside the "ew it's a bug" box, and apply the same rules we'd use for other subjects..
Would we kill football player to force a better shot out of him? A Bride?
Of course not, the idea would be just plain ludicrous if it weren't at first so horrific.

Looking at it from this standpoint, the question need not even be asked,. it simply should not be done.

( look again at Lester's Avatar folks! )

Lastly, I don;t think you get good photos either,. I recall a Popular photo magazine printing an really horrible article "how to" where the author was shooting dead bugs, bugs he'd killed. What a horrible lesson, totally irresponsible IMHO to publish, but from a photog standpoint, anyone with even the least amount of observation skills could see that the insects were dead.. the skin on it's eyes was pealing off etc..
Terrible terrible photos.


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drh681
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May 23, 2009 03:58 as a reply to  @ post 7970791 |  #18

Yes:

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:D



  
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gjl711
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May 23, 2009 19:00 |  #19

drh681 wrote in post #7973594 (external link)
Yes:..
:D

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rjlittlefield
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May 24, 2009 00:58 as a reply to  @ gjl711's post |  #20

Hello! I'm new to your community here at P.O.T.N. But I wrote several of the postings that Namerifrats references at photomacrography.net. Perhaps I can help put those in context.

First, it's important to recognize that not all photographers of insects are "wildlife photographers". At least five of the people I work with are biologists who are using high magnification stacking as a way to produce high quality reference illustrations. One of them is working on identification keys for tabanid flies of eastern Canada, another on land snails of New Zealand, and so on. Trying to use the ethics of one group in the other group's work, either way, would produce some pretty strange effects.

Second, I think it's interesting to notice that the whole issue is not so much one of rational ethics as it is of perfectly valid emotional reaction. If rational ethics were all that's involved, it would be difficult to make a case for being concerned about the one insect in front of the camera, and not the tens of insects on the windshield of my car, or the thousands that got killed or displaced the last time I mowed the lawn, or the millions that got either pesticided or biologically excluded to grow the grain and vegetables in my vegan sandwich. (We won't even think about chicken salad.)

On the other hand, I completely agree that there seems to be something rather perverse about killing an insect just to make a pretty picture of it. Imagine a character in a movie saying something like "I loved this thing so much that I killed it and brought it home so I could keep it with me always and always." I don't know about you, but I think I would take that line as suggesting a character who's a bit deranged if not actually dangerous.

So there's the conflict that I confront. No matter how reviled a bug might be in normal context, if I make an attractive photograph of it, it becomes an object of attraction, and then I feel sympathy and sorrow for it.

This presents some very interesting situations. I am obligated by local law to kill the fruit flies that would otherwise make maggots in my backyard cherries. No problem, there are sprays to do that job, and everyone around appreciates the effort. (There are huge economic penalties if even a single maggot turns up in a commercial harvest. Besides, they spoil the cherries.) But if I kill one of the flies carefully and personally, and make even a decent clinical photograph of it (http://www.photomacrog​raphy.net/forum/viewto​pic.php?t=5134 (external link), second image), then suddenly it turns from villain to victim.

I think this is a fascinating effect, in large part because I feel it too.

So what to do, what to do? One approach I use is to keep a lookout for "found specimens" -- bugs that turn up dead but still fresh enough to photograph. The spiderwebs in my windows are handy for this. It seems acceptable to salvage a freshly killed lacewing whose head is still intact. The spider, of course, ends up short on his next meal, but it's the lacewing and not the spider who gets the sympathy in this case. When I photograph the spider, it's the other way around.

Complicated, eh? And fascinating, at least to me. Something to ponder, perhaps, the next time I'm eating lunch on the lawn thinking about photography.

--Rik




  
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macro ­ junkie
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May 24, 2009 16:11 as a reply to  @ post 7968773 |  #21

i never shoot dead ones..i have mayby 2 times in the hole time i been doing macro(2 years)


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Aug 24, 2009 18:47 |  #22

rjlittlefield wrote in post #7977854 (external link)
Hello! I'm new to your community here at P.O.T.N. But I wrote several of the postings that Namerifrats references at photomacrography.net. Perhaps I can help put those in context.

First, it's important to recognize that not all photographers of insects are "wildlife photographers". At least five of the people I work with are biologists who are using high magnification stacking as a way to produce high quality reference illustrations. One of them is working on identification keys for tabanid flies of eastern Canada, another on land snails of New Zealand, and so on. Trying to use the ethics of one group in the other group's work, either way, would produce some pretty strange effects.

Second, I think it's interesting to notice that the whole issue is not so much one of rational ethics as it is of perfectly valid emotional reaction. If rational ethics were all that's involved, it would be difficult to make a case for being concerned about the one insect in front of the camera, and not the tens of insects on the windshield of my car, or the thousands that got killed or displaced the last time I mowed the lawn, or the millions that got either pesticided or biologically excluded to grow the grain and vegetables in my vegan sandwich. (We won't even think about chicken salad.)

On the other hand, I completely agree that there seems to be something rather perverse about killing an insect just to make a pretty picture of it. Imagine a character in a movie saying something like "I loved this thing so much that I killed it and brought it home so I could keep it with me always and always." I don't know about you, but I think I would take that line as suggesting a character who's a bit deranged if not actually dangerous.

So there's the conflict that I confront. No matter how reviled a bug might be in normal context, if I make an attractive photograph of it, it becomes an object of attraction, and then I feel sympathy and sorrow for it.

This presents some very interesting situations. I am obligated by local law to kill the fruit flies that would otherwise make maggots in my backyard cherries. No problem, there are sprays to do that job, and everyone around appreciates the effort. (There are huge economic penalties if even a single maggot turns up in a commercial harvest. Besides, they spoil the cherries.) But if I kill one of the flies carefully and personally, and make even a decent clinical photograph of it (http://www.photomacrog​raphy.net/forum/viewto​pic.php?t=5134 (external link), second image), then suddenly it turns from villain to victim.

I think this is a fascinating effect, in large part because I feel it too.

So what to do, what to do? One approach I use is to keep a lookout for "found specimens" -- bugs that turn up dead but still fresh enough to photograph. The spiderwebs in my windows are handy for this. It seems acceptable to salvage a freshly killed lacewing whose head is still intact. The spider, of course, ends up short on his next meal, but it's the lacewing and not the spider who gets the sympathy in this case. When I photograph the spider, it's the other way around.

Complicated, eh? And fascinating, at least to me. Something to ponder, perhaps, the next time I'm eating lunch on the lawn thinking about photography.

--Rik

Hey Rik nice to see you here! I'm Cyclops on t'other forum. I personally would never kill something to photograph it.


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Aug 24, 2009 21:14 |  #23

Oh my, what would Mr. Audubon say? Oh, that's right, he killed everything before painting and sketching it....


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wickerprints
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Aug 24, 2009 21:28 |  #24

Cordyceps fungus -- watch this fascinating video.

http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=XuKjBIBBAL8 (external link)


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Aug 24, 2009 21:34 |  #25

wickerprints wrote in post #8517571 (external link)
Cordyceps fungus -- watch this fascinating video.

http://www.youtube.com​/watch?v=XuKjBIBBAL8 (external link)

WOW, some fantastic photography.


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reneethomas
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Aug 25, 2009 06:36 |  #26

The only time I have photographed a dead bug was when one accidentally got in the house and died. The only reason I would photograph it dead is to get an id to help the boys and I learn more about our environment. I always find it sad when I find these dead critters and I cannot imagine people killing them just to photograph them.


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macro ­ junkie
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Aug 29, 2009 17:13 as a reply to  @ post 7968773 |  #27

i catch them..trap em in a tub or 1ft x1ft netting..i then leave it out side and shoot it in the morning around 5 or 6 am..its how i got this series of shots.when there cold they dont fly off..i only do this if im after a insect and i cant get the shots im after..its sort of a last resort

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Sep 06, 2009 08:55 as a reply to  @ macro junkie's post |  #28

Nope. I never kill bugs. I have been known to give them some very harsh warnings though.

Roofero.


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factorgrimm
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Sep 10, 2009 18:40 |  #29

Personally, I think it is completely ridiculous to waste angst over the notion of killing an insect. People swat flies and mosquitos like there's no tomorrow, but they are going to get upset over "pretty" insects? Please.

Having said that, I think it is far more compelling to shoot live insects, and much more challenging. So that's what it is for me. It would take a lot of convincing to tell me that the life of say, a leafhopper or stink bug is more important than the life of a mosquito or house fly. It's not that much more difficult to shoot live insects, so just go for it and you will get good results.




  
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LynC
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Oct 26, 2009 23:12 |  #30

I guess I fall in between the extremes on this subject. If it is a mosquito, fly, poisonous spider or roach invading my home they will be DOA. Much to my wife’s dismay I catch any harmless spiders and put them outside before she sprays half a can of insecticide on it. Personally I can't imagine taking pictures of a dead insect unless there was a special reason and I certainly will not kill a beneficial one for sure. The results just don't look "natural" from what I have seen.




  
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Do you guys shoot insects dead or alive?
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