MacroSpheres Musings:

Sheild Bug - Nymphs to Adults?

When I first started shooting macro, I stumbled across a batch of true bug nymphs. At the time I had no idea what they were. I thought for sure it was a beetle as I had never seen one before. Researching the insect I discovered it was in fact a true bug nymph, not a beetle. No one seemed to know what true bug it was. I was told the way to find out for sure was to raise the bug to adulthood. Well I can barely take care of myself let alone a brood of bugs so the my question remained unanswered. I ran across a nymph again this past Saturday. It had been a few years since I last saw one. As I looked in the viewfinder I noticed the pits in the exoskeleton, a detail I had forgotten. The shape of the head looked familiar too. The more I observed the bug and subsequently this photo, the more I'm convinced this is a shield bug nymph. 

Image specs: Sony A7 w Fotodiox Pro Fusion Adapter, 60mm EF-S w/72mm tubes @ ~3:1, f/11, SS 1/160, ISO 200, Nissin i40 with DIY Diffuser. 

A plant or two away from the nymph above was another. I think this is also a shield bug instar just further along in the development chain. This one is taking on more familiar characteristics. Head shape and eye placement, and the pitting of the exoskeleton. I actually find this nymph more attractive than adult shield bugs which are handsome as well. 

Image specs: Sony A7 w Fotodiox Pro Fusion Adapter, 60mm EF-S w/72mm tubes @ ~3:1, f/11, SS 1/160, ISO 200, Nissin i40 with DIY Diffuser. 

I believe the adult in this image is of the same ilk as the nymphs, but who knows? The longer I observe them in the field the more I learn. For the longest time I thought shield bugs were herbivorous as I had only seen them feeding off plants. Turns out the brown ones like caterpillar juice too. I found this feeding adult in close proximity to the two nymphs. 

Image specs: Sony A7 w Fotodiox Pro Fusion Adapter, 60mm EF-S w/72mm tubes @ ~3:1, f/11, SS 1/200, ISO 320, Nissin i40 with DIY Diffuser. 

My Friend the Dragon

No bayou adventure tales for this photograph. My friend the dragon took up perch on a stack of twigs and branch trimmings in my backyard. Over the course of an hour or so I watched it and slowly moved closer to the perch to get a shot. It would fly off if I moved too quickly only to return a short time later. I finally got close enough to get a few shots. Surprisingly my friend the dragon was quite comfortable with the camera's proximity (from time to time I stumble across one that doesn't seem bothered) that I was afforded several ~2:1 side profile shots. I'm still working with the Canon M3 but decided to try out an old Metz 40MZ 3i flash with an DIY diffuser. I like the flash as it's squatty and long which equates to the flash head almost reaching the end of the Canon EF-S 60mm lens with 20mm of extension tube. Another neat feature of the flash is the head can tilt down about 10 degrees. It's an old analog flash and when coupled with the SCA 3101 M2 module allows for TTL. I don't use the TTL capability for exposure but it is important when using the Canon M3 as the camera recognizes there is a flash is attached and exposure simulation illuminates live view so one can see the subject/scene. If you try to use an old manual flash without TTL, exposure simulation (can't be turned off on the M3) treats the live view feed on the rear LCD as if there is no flash attached resulting in a black frame and literally no way to focus minus adding some sort of focusing lamp/torch. 

Image specs: Canon M3, Canon EF-S 60mm Macro with 20mm tube @ ~2:1, f/11, SS 1/60, ISO 100, Metz 40MZ with SCA 3101 M2 module, DIY diffuser @ 1/8 power.