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Green mantispid (Zeugomantispa minuta) at one of BugShot 2011 black lights (Shaw Nature Reserve, Gray Summit, MO, September 2, 2011). Click/double click to enlarge.

We began the OUTSTANDING BugShot 2011 with each of the three instructors sharing their top 5 tips for outstanding macrophotography. Below I summarize one tip from each instructor that was made particularly relevant to me based on how I currently photograph.

John Abbott taught me and consistently showed me, that I need to use my tripod, tripod, tripod. Beginning this week I will do that, do that, do that. I’ve already seen a difference in some of my shots.

Thomas Shahan made clear the power of elevating the specimen I am photographing to give it a greater sense of importance and power. That’s what it’s all about. Or kinda’ all about.

Alex Wild helped me realize the importance of light manipulation and the fact that I can be much more flexible and creative than I currently am using my present equipment. I now have about two years of lighting things that I need to try and am really looking forward to experimenting.

If you didn’t go to the workshop this year and have even a little bit of interest in arthropod macrophotography you REALLY should go next year.

Equipment that can make my world a better place…

(Please note this is not all inclusive, but is a great starting point for anyone who already has some macrophotography experience.)

Panasonic Lumix cameras

Air rocket

Plamp (got one already, attaches to my tripod, tripod, tripod)

Cognysis automatic focus railing

White box (though my XotoPro kinda white boxes on its own… https://thingsbiological.wordpress.com/2011/09/01/encouraging-an-understanding-and-appreciation-of-spiders/)

IKEA Lazy Susan

2 gallon all glass aquarium

Glass partition to move specimens to the front of the aquarium for photography

Web Sites

Odonata Central Virtual Image Library

Cognisys, Inc.

Performance Database 

500px.com

1x.com 

Software

Software Photo Recovery

Adobe LightRoom ($43 education pricing for me and a bunch of others!)

Books to Browse

Secret Worlds: The Miracle of Flight, note that there are five hardcover copies available for less than $1 from Amazon associates.

Damselflies of Texas: A Field Guide

Matt Kowalski’s Light Room book (can’t find it so far, but if someone else can and wants to share a URL, it’ll be right here pretty quickly!)

Thanks so much to all of the BugShot 2011 instructors, participants and support folk. It was a great experience, I learned a huge amount, and met a bunch of people with whom I hope to stay connected well into the future!

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The Joy of Arthroblogging

One of the three images graphically depicting Morgan Jackson's phylogenetic analysis of arthroblogs.

Individuals who blog regarding arthropods are a varying lot. Passion for the animals, the challenge of capturing their images, and sharing of observations and discoveries are commonplace. The consistent humor and creativity shown by arthrobloggers has really made my entry into this community a pleasure. Over the past week three posts have really reflected the creativity and passion that permeates arthroblogging.

Alex Wild’s posting contradicting one of E O Wilson’s ant observation statements is a pleasure to read. It’s a clever entry that is written with a joy, respect and humor rarely encountered in any writing, blog or otherwise.

Morgan Jackson followed this with his tongue-in-cheek analysis of arthropod blogs using phylogenetic analysis tools. Nothing I write here can be nearly as clever as this project, so I’m simply linking to it. ‘Nuf said. Take a look at it if you haven’t done so already. It’s worth your while. I promise.

Finally, Ted MacRae shares the ongoing joy of rearing two Cylindera celeripes (swift tiger beetle) larvae. Nobody has ever reared this species, or even seen its larvae before. As usual, his writing style is thorough and engaging, plus he’s game to videotape some of the behaviors he observes. Can’t beat that!

I’m not sure of the path my blog will follow, but I have to say that entry into this world has been pretty delightful!

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