Over the few months that I have been writing this blog I have made no secret of the fact that I like flies; and have posted photos of flies several times. I have also written many times about the great opportunities for insect and arachnid photography on Deas Island. Well, here’s a picture of a blue bottle fly taken on Deas Island—two great topics together! [That reminds me of those commercials back in the 1970s and 1980s for Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups featuring the slogan “two great tastes that taste great together.”]
Anyhow, the photo above is a portrait of (I think) a blue bottle fly—a common species of blow fly that sports one of my all-time favourite scientific names: Calliphora vomitoria. Unfortunately in order to positively identify it you need to see the hairs beneath the mouthparts – they are bright red in C. vomitoria. [I just learned that from Dr. Gail Anderson, a forensic entomologist and good friend at Simon Fraser University]. In the photo you can just see some orange hairs peeking out from under its “chin”. If the identification is correct, then this is the same species that I featured in my last post about image stacking (More image stacking: portraits of flies).
When shooting macro photography, it is rare to get the shot you want in the very first frame, or at least it is for me. I will often take a dozen or more pictures trying to get just the right angle or get the critter in just the right position. Of course that is only possible when the specimen cooperates. Sometimes the critter will have no choice—for instance if it is in captivity. And some species, such as an orb weaver spider in its web, just naturally tend to remain still. But in the field cooperative subjects tend not to be the norm. Often, especially in the case of flying or fast moving species, you will have the opportunity to take only one or two pictures before the critter is gone. Most of the time the resulting one or two images aren’t anything special. But occasionally—and this photo is an example—I manage to catch a subject just right with the first shot.
If you look at the photo you can see that the fly had its head tilted up when I took the shot. I was very close to it and it was definitely looking at me. I pressed the shutter, and then the fly was gone. But I had the shot…
Aren’t those eyes gorgeous?
The technical stuff:
Camera: Olympus E-620 digital SLR
Lens: Zuiko 35mm macro
Settings: manual exposure (F16 @ 1/60 sec)
Lighting: Olympus RF-11 ring flash (1/2 power)