Photographing The Insect World
"When I finally stand up and take the camera away from my eye,
and fade back into my giant, human status, only then do I realize
how small the world is that I just entered, and at the same time,
how much larger it now feels to know so much life exists in that realm."
~ by Betsy Seeton
Green lacewings are delicate insects with compound eyes and typmpanal organs. Wikipedia explains, "A tympanal organ is a hearing organ in insects, consisting of a membrane stretched across a frame backed by an air sac and associated sensory neurons. Sounds vibrate the membrane, and the vibrations are sensed by this organ." I've never been much of a bug person, so this was very interesting. (If I could ever remember 'tympanal', I could use it in scrabble.)
Adults lacewings have typmpanal organs at the forewings' base, enabling them to hear well. Some Chrysopa show evasive behavior when they hear a bat's ultrasound calls: when in flight, they close their wings (making their echolocational signature smaller) and drop down to the ground. source: wikipedia
This green lacewing was incredibly camouflaged against the green leaf. The wings were translucent with a slight iridescence and green wing veins. The only distinguishing feature it had, making it stand out a tiny bit from the leaf, yet only the size of the head of a pin, were the black and gold colored eyes. It would be so easy to never see this bug unless, like me, you were searching for insects to photograph. It was no bigger than one half inch.
I followed this damselfly around from blades of grass to dandelions that had gone to seed, and then to dried up weeds and back to grass. It's a skill that can actually be sharpened. On each photoshoot, I train my eyes to be uncommonly observant. It takes complete focus; 100% attention. It's a great way to get away from life's stress. It gives me no time to mull over my own personal issues. All my thoughts must stay "in the field" and not wander away or drift off.
To get a decent shot, I'm often crawling on my stomach or crouched so low in a squat position with my elbows on the ground. I have to move slowly, and quietly, and yet get comfortable enough, and close enough, to hold the camera steady.
I'm no video game player whatsoever, but lately I wondered if photoshoots like this might feel like being inside a video game, where the shooting is not done with guns, but using a camera, and I'm not out to kill, only to get a killer photo. It has a competitive feel to it, but only against myself. I'm out to capture the world we rarely notice, but one that is all around us. I'm now taking notice of life that has largely been oblivious to me. It makes the world vastly more interesting.
It's a little bit like being a character in the Disney movie, Honey I Shrunk The Kids. When I'm working on this macro level, these critters seem much larger and much more imposing than they are. When I finally stand up and take the camera away from my eye, and fade back into my giant, human status, only then do I realize how small the world is that I just entered, and at the same time, how much larger it now feels to know so much life exists in that realm.
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One square mile of land contains more insects than the total number of human beings on earth!
The Earth has a surface area of 196,939,900 square miles.
It's estimated that there are more than 200 million insects for each human on the planet!
A recent New York Times article claimed that the world holds 300 pounds of insects for every pound of humans.
There are some 900 thousand different kinds of living insects known in the world. The true number of insect species can only be estimated from present and past studies. Anywhere from 1 million to 10 million insects may still be unidentified as yet, according to scientists.
About insects ...
"These small, six-legged creatures include bees, ants, flies, mosquitoes, grasshoppers, crickets, butterflies, cockroaches, termites, fleas, and beetles. Although some insects annoy us by spreading disease, damaging crops and household items, and biting people and pets, these represent only about 17% of all the 800,000 species.
The rest of the insects serve a very valuable purpose in nature. These serve as food for birds, frogs, fish, and other animals; pollinate crops; destroy other harmful insects; give us honey, bees wax, shellac, and silk; and keep the land clean by feeding on dead animals and plants."
Source of the above: http://www.bigsiteofamazingfacts.com