Fox Moth II
♂ Macrothylacia rubi
Wingspan ≈ 60 mm
A frontal view of the fox moth I posted a dorsal view of a couple of weeks ago.
Stacked from 45 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3,5 @ 1/6s, f/8, ISO100
Gaurotes virginea, Cerambycidae
Size: 10 mm
Early morning stack of this little long horn beetle on a cow parsely flower (Anthriscus sylvestris).
Stacked from 55 natural light exposures in Zerene stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65 @ 0.4s, f/6,3, ISO100
♀ Hylaeus confusus, Colletidae (ID-cred: G. Holmström)
Size: 7 mm
These little bees have interesting front legs. They appear smaller and weaker than the the remaining four legs and are often kept elevated like in this image. I've noticed they often use them for cleaning etcetera, so they are certainly not useless. Still, they remind me a little of the vestigial front legs you'll find in certain butterfly species.
This is another stack shot during my trip to the isolated island Gotska Sandön in the Baltic sea.
Stacked from 17 natural light exposures in Zerene stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65 @ f/5.6, 0.5s, ISO100
Ladybug on fern
Cocinella septempunctata, Seven spot ladybird
I've already dubbed it the world's most photographed beetle in a previous post so I wasn't sure about posting this one. But... this was such a beutiful specimen and it's perched on the underside of a fern leaf, packed with sori.
Stacked from 39 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.2X, 1/5s, f/5.6, ISO100
Neoitamus sp. (Asilidae), (ID-cred: P. Hall & M. Persson)
Size: 13 mm
This was shot during a trip to a huge wildfire area in June. The forest fire raged in the summer of 2014 and was declared a national emergency, eventually encompassing 17,000 hectares.
Though this fire was of course a traumatic event for many local residents it has undeniably created an interesting and valuable environment from a biological standpoint. Especially since a fairly large portion of the fire area has now been protected as a natural reserve, many species will benefit from the fire.
Stanislav and I have made a few trips to this area and this was shot during an early morning session in June this year. We found plenty of these fairly small robberflies scattered in the singed pine twigs. The dark background is a tree stump, turned into charcoal by the fire.
Stacked from 30 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65 @ f/5.6, 1/4s, ISO100
Full Spectrum Wasp
Holopyga cf. generosa, Cuckoo wasp
Size: 7 mm
These little wasps are always a delight to find. Their colors are truly astonishing.
This one proved to be a bit of a challange to get a successful stacking sequence of and I ended up having to manually combine the results from two similar but separate stacking sequences. One was 24 exposures @ 1/20, f/5.6, ISO100. The other was 25 exposures @ 1/15, f/7.1, ISO200.
Sony NEX-7, Canon MP-E65
Xysticus on Geranium
♀ Xysticus cf. cristatus (Thomisidae) ID-cred: T. Holmgren
Size: 8 mm
A female crab spider on the colorful leaves of Geranium macrorrhizum. Despite the fall colors this image was actually taken in mid July. Judging from the girth of her abdomen I'm guessing this spider is about to lay eggs.
Stacked from 14 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3.5 @ 1/20s, f/8, ISO100
Small Parasitoid Wasp
Braconidae, Probably subfamily Doryctinae
Size: 4-5 mm
During a night session in July I found several of these little wasps, drilling for hosts in a freshly felled aspen trunk.
Single handheld exposure with Sony NEX-7 + Canon MP-E65 @ 5X, f/10, 1/50s, ISO200. Lit with a Meike MK-300 flash + DIY-diffuser.
Ø 2.5 mm (roughly 5 mm when extended)
I found these nicely colored pillbugs underneath the bark of an old decaying birch just a minute's walk from my doorstep. If my ID is correct, it does not appear to be a very common species. That is, it's not often being reported. In fact, mine appears to be the most northern record of this species (in Sweden) and the closest find is more than 150 km from here (with mostly sea in between) or > 300 km to the second closest find. However, something tells me this is a grossly overlooked (and under reported) group of arthropods, and it wouldn't surprise me if this species is much more common than we think.
Stacked from five handheld exposures in Zerene Stacker. Each 1/60, f/10, ISO100.
Shot with the gear described in my previous post: Sony NEX-7 + nonaC 40/2.8. Lighting provided by a diffused Meike MK-300.
Pearly Heath on Allium
Coenonympha arcania, pearly heath
Wingspan ≈ 35 mm
I peculiar detail that I didn't notice while shooting this, is how it got its proboscis curled around its leg.
Stacked from 17 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3.5 @ 0.5s, f/11, ISO100
Megachilid on rose II
♂ Megachile willughbiella
Size: 8-9 mm
A closer view of the bee from the previous post. The bee is "waking up" here and paused it's morning grooming enough for me to shoot a quick sequence of shots. Shortly after shooting this, it wiped it's antennae and flew away as shown in this youtube clip.
The enlarged hairy front legs are used to cover the eyes of the female during the mating ritual.
Stacked from 29 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7 + Canon MP-E65 @ 4X, 1/6s, f/7.1, ISO100
Megachilid on rose
♂ Megachile willughbiella
Size: 8-9 mm
The enlarged hairy front legs are used to cover the eyes of the female during the maing ritual.
Stacked from 31 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Sigma 180/3.5 @ slightly below 1:1, 1/30s, f/8.0, ISO100.
Studio stack: Cuckoo wasp
A species in the difficult Chrysis ignita group.
Size: 7-8 mm
Posting this from my hotel room one day before the opening of my biggest exhibition yet at ABECITA Museum of Modern Art in Borås, Sweden. This image is one of 62 large format prints (averaging at above 100cm).
This particular image is also featured in my most recent book "Livet som minimonster" ("Life as a mini-monster") – a children's book focusing on the fascinating life cycles of insects and spiders (see comment section).
Stacked from 178 exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10/0.28, 170mm tube-lens ("morfanon"), Nikon PB-6 bellows, Cognisys StackShot.
♂ Adela cuprella Adelidae
The most prominent feature of these little moths is arguably their very long antennae. In males they are several times longer than the body – see comment section for a lower magnification view. On closer inspection I think I find their metallic scales to be an even more attractive feature though.
Stacked from 27 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 3.7X, 1/15s, f/5.6 and f/7.1, ISO200
Robber and noctuid eggs
Machimus (Tolmerus) atricapillus
Size: 15 mm
This grass spike was almost completely covered in noctuid (moth) eggs. I don't think this robber fly took much notice though.
Stacked from 10 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
A few additional shots in the first comment on flickr, including one showing the setup.
Canon 5DmkII, Schneider-Kreuznach Apo-Componon 90/4,5 (reversed), Nikon PB-6 bellows.
Studio stack: Neomida
♂ Neomida haemorrhoidalis, Tenebrionidae
Size: 6 mm
Studio portrait of this horned little darkling beetle (dead/prepared specimen). It's not very common here in Sweden. Found in an old bracket fungus growing on a dead birch.
Females lack the protruding hornes above the eyes.
Stacked from 274 exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Sony NEX-7, Nikon PB-6 bellows, morfanon tube lens, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10/0.28
Winter Damselfly, Sympecma fusca
Early morning stack shot in May 2014 during a macro workshop I held.
Some tricky direct sunlight hitting the subject from behind/left. Obviously this would have been easy to diffuse/shade but I wanted to capture how the sun highlighted the fine hairs on head and thorax and the well defined leg shadow on the grass.
23 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.2X, 0.4s, f/6.3, ISO200
Egg laying Jewel Beetle
Agrilus sp., Buprestidae (I'm leaning towards A. suvorovi)
Size: 9 mm
A bluish variety of the Agrilus from the previous post. At least I think it's the same species – they seemed quite variable in coloration, ranging all the way from bronze to green and blue.
This female specimen has deposited eggs on a beaver felled Aspen log and is now in the process of "brushing". This means covering them with some kind of secretion. She does this by repeatedly brushing the tip of her abdomen over the the eggs whilst excreting some fluid. See the comment section for a youtube clip showing this process!
This is a single handheld (mixed light) exposure, manually patched with a few pixels from a consecutive frame in order to get the entire eye in focus.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.7X (cropped), 1/100s, f/7.1, ISO400
BTW, I've been playing with a new DIY-diffuser design the past season – most of the hand held shots from 2014 posted so far has been with this diffuser. Expect som more info on it soon!
Watch this in action on youtube: youtu.be/yhY1APtcsWk
More on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qRUwfG
Studio stack: Ceruchus eye, 20X
Ceruchus chrysomelinus ♂ (Lucanidae)
Size: 16 mm (field of view: 1.5 mm)
This is a 20X view of the eye of this stag beetle. I found the pitted texture surrounding the eye to be particularly interesting. This species is very rare here in Sweden (I'm yet to find one in the field). This specimen was borrowed from Stanislav's collection (collected by him in the eastern part of the Czech Republic). It's been featured at lower magnification in a couple of earlier posts.
Stacked from 156 exposures in Zerene Stacker. Shot at ≈20X and slightly cropped.
Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Apo-Gerogon 210/9 (acting as tube lens), Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 20/0.42 microscope objective
Ephemera vulgata ♂ (ID-cred: C. Raper) Ephemeridae
Size: 19 mm
These spend 2-3 years as larvae but very short time as adults (a few days). They do not feed as adults (and lack functioning mouthparts) but are completely focused on reproduction. In essence, they finish off their life as flying genitals.
Stacked from 25 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1X (slightly cropped), 1/20s, f/5.6, ISO200
Here I've experimented with a polarizer as well (since the sun was causing some troublesome highlights). Not something I typically do but perhaps worth considering from time to time.
Studio stack: Ostoma
Ostoma ferruginea, Trogossitidae
Size 9 mm
A different take on the species from the last post. This dead/prepared specimen was borrowed from a friend's collection.
This is was shot in the studio with darkfield style lighting (light coming from behind). See the comment section on flickr for more info!
Stacked from 160 exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5X 0,14, morfanon tube lens.
Studio stack: Xylotrechus
Xylotrechus rusticus, Aspen zebra beetle, Cerambycidae (long horned beetles)
Size: 17 mm
Studio portrait of this very common long horned beetle. In the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qFXU8N you'll find some field shots as well as a youtube-clip featuring this beetle.
This species is not as colorful as some of its close relatives but it's beautifully shaped and I'm always pleased to find it. Funny how some species becomes "favorites" despite the fact that you can't put your finger on exactly what makes them special... In this case there might simply be some pavlovian explanation behind it – these guys show up my favorite time of year (June) when everything is pleasant: sun is shining, birds are singing and everything is growing, breeding, living...
This portrait shows a dead/prepared specimen, shot under studio conditions and stacked from 120 exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 5/0.14 microscope objective, morfanon tube lens, Nikon PB-6 bellows.
Ostoma parking lot
Ostoma ferruginea, Trogossitidae
Size 8-10 mm
These flattened beetles are closely associated with brown-rot fungi (such as Fomitopsis pinicola or Antrodia xantha) and you find them in rotting wood. These were found underneath the bark and/or inside the wood of a large rotting spruce.
This wide angle close-up was shot in 2013 as part of a book project I've mentioned here: https://flic.kr/p/geivZ3
More shots in the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qHh32b
Single handheld natural light exposure . Canon 5DmkII, Nikon Nikkor 28/2.8 AI-s, Nikon K1 extension tube | 0.5s, f/16, ISO200
Drilling for hosts II
Echthrus sp. (probably), Cryptinae, Ichneumonidae
ID-cred: I. Österblad & G. Várkonyi
Size: 8 mm
These wasps find their hosts using echo-localization. They rapidly tap their antennae like drumsticks against the wood surface and the echoing vibrations are then picked up by their slightly enlarged front legs (tibia).
Found and shot at the same location as the previous post. Beavers have been working hard here – hundreds of felled trees (mainly aspens) are providing excellent breeding sites for a large variety of insects.
I found many other interesting species on the very same log (see in the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qqgMZu
Stacked from 6 handheld mixed light (natural light + diffused flash) exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, diffused Canon 270EX, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.4X, 1/60, f/10, ISO400
Brown Hawker Encounter
Aeshna grandis (on my son's finger)
Size: 70 mm
This dragonfly seemed a bit lethargic when we first found it close to the ground by the path. At first we thought something was wrong with it but soon we realized it was probably just cold – after a couple of minutes sitting on my sons finger it seemed to came to and eventually flew away.
Single exposure made with Sony NEX-7, Sony E 18-55 OSS + short extension tube. Natural light + diffused pop-up flash.
I'm adding another couple of shots from this encounter (made with the same gear) in the comment section on flickr: https://flic.kr/p/qHwRu4
♂♂ Machimus atricapillus (Tolmerus atricapillus)
Size: 14 mm
A male robberfly feeding on a defeated rival.
This is a handheld mixed light stack shot in August 2014.
16 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65, Canon 270EX + DIY beautydish diffuser | 1/100s, f/6.3, ISO100.
World's most photographed beetle?
Size: 8 mm
Certainly not the most exotic coleopteran out there, but I kind of like the mood in this one.
Early morning stack shot back in June. It was a rather windy morning but the light was nice – not too even, not too harsh.
21 frames stacked in Zerene Stacker. Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1/6s, f/6,3, ISO200
More info: https://flic.kr/p/qvw4Eb
Size: 35 mm
Early morning stack of this Ruby Whiteface, shot in June 2014.
Stacked from 19 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Apo-Componon 90/4,5.
Hornet Robberfly II
This is the large robberfly featured in the previous post from a different perspective and in a more active pose.
This stack was shot in the evening and is rendered from 31 natural light exposures combined in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1.0X, 1/5s, f/8.0, ISO400
More info: http://flic.kr/p/quJdn3
Ruby Whiteface II
Size: 35 mm
Wide angle close-up of the dragonfly from the last post.
Shot 05:33 a summer morning at my favorite spot, with a Sony NEX-7 and the cheap but well performing little kit-zoom (18-55 mm 3,5-5,6 OSS @ 19 mm, 1/30s, f/11, ISO400 )
Studio stack: Long-jawed orb weaver
Studio stack: Pachygnatha clercki ♂, Tetragnathidae
Size: 6 mm (inlcuding chelicerae)
Posting this studio stacked image taken in early 2012 to celebrate that my book "Bugs Up Close" is now available in English from Amazon and elsewhere: www.amazon.com/Bugs-Up-Close-Magnified-Incredible/dp/1629...
I haven't seen the English print version yet, but can only hope the print/production quality is on par with the Swedish, Finnish and Danish editions.
This little spider was found in the winter while searching for hibernating bugs (two years ago). I shot it in the field as documented in this video clip from the occasion: youtu.be/EpbCngGAIkA. I brought the specimen with me for ID. It was preserved in the freezer for a few months.
Stacked from 301 images in Zerene Stacker. Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, Mitutoyo M Plan Apo 10/0,28, morfanon tube lens.
More info: https://flic.kr/p/q7pyXP
Anthomyiidae (I think)
Size: 6 mm
Found this fly slowly treading over this frosty stalk just as the sun was coming over the tree line. Minutes later all the frost was gone. I'm guessing the fly had spent the night in a slighly more sheltered place and emerged at the first sight of sunlight.
19 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 2.4X, 1/5s, f/5.6, ISO200
Sign of spring?
Melting frost crystals on a dry grass leaf from last year.
As the sun rises above the tree line the frost crystals melt in a matter of minutes. The dry grass in the background takes on a distinctly golden tone.
Stacked from 37 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII + reversed Pentacon 50/1.8 on Olympus telescopic extension tube.
This image was shot as a part of a project where this 50mm lens is sent around the world to 50 different photographers.
Grass leaf covered in frost. Nights and early mornings are still cold here in Stockholm, Sweden (April 2014)!
37 natural light exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker
Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65
Queen of Spain Fritillary II
Issoria lathonia, Nymphalidae
Body length: 17 mm
Normally I wouldn't post two such similar images but in this case I thought it was interesting to note how the light changed in just 10 minutes. Here, the sun has come up more and it's now shining on the meadow in the background. In this time, while I was busy with another subject, the butterfly had moved to a slightly higher position but still remained on the same plant.
25 exposures stacked in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 1X, 1/80s, f/5.6
Gymnosoma from behind
Gymnosoma sp., Tachinidae
Size: 6 mm
This was shot in 2012 but I've disregarded it because of wing movements causing major artifacts in the stacking process. I revisited it now and applied the local stacking technique (described this an earlier post») which solved the problems I was having. So, think twice before throwing problematic stacking sequences away – who knows what we'll be able to fix in the future :)
73 natural light expoures stacked in Zerene Stacker. It moved both wings independently so I had to run two separate local stacks.
Canon 5DmkII, Nikon PB-6 bellows, reversed Apo-Componon 40/2,8.
Flat bug family
Aneurus avenius Aradidae, male + larvae
ID-cred: CC Coulianos
Size: 5 mm (adult specimen)
You typically find these peculiar, almost two-dimensional, bugs under bark. I'm somewhat puzzled by they "bullseye" pattern on the back of the larvae – any theories?
Single exposure, Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65 + Canon 270EX flash with yoghurt-bottle diffuser.
Queen of Spain Fritillary
Issoria lathonia, Nymphalidae
Body length: 17 mm
Early morning stack of this butterfly resting on dry filipendula. This migrating species fluctuates significantly in numbers from year to year here in Sweden. Generally it's rather scarce but some years they show up in larger numbers. This was shot in 2013 (August) which I think would qualify as a mediocre year for this species in Sweden.
Stacked from 26 natural light exposures in Zerene Stacker.
Canon 5DmkII + Canon MP-E65 @ 1X, 1/100s, f/5, ISO200
Earthworm in the studio!
Unknown earthworm species Lumbricidae
80 mm in length
Tomorrow (March 6th) marks the release of our children's book Minimonster i naturen (website ») here in Sweden!
This earthworm is one of the featured bugs in the book. Like most images in the book it was shot specifically for this, and here I wanted to capture the bristles called setae on the worm's body! They provide grip against the substrate and thus help the worm to move both forward and backward!
This is a studio stack of a prepared specimen. It's stacked from 45 exposures and in Zerene stacker.
Canon 5DmkII + Nikon PB-6 bellows + reversed Schneider-Kreuznach Apo-Componon 60/4
Small Soldier Fly
Stratiomyidae. Possibly Microchrysa sp.
Size: 5 mm
A single exposure of a little soldier fly taking a sip of dew from this dry grass spike.
The fly was quite active but I did get a couple of short stacks as well. In this case I preferred this "single" image. It's f/8 but manually patched with a few pixels from an otherwise identical f/5.6 exposure (for less diffraction in the focused parts).
Canon 5DmkII, Canon MP-E65 @ 4.3X, 1s, f/5.5 & f/8, ISO100