Sign up for the Daily Buzz newsletter
You have been successfully added to our newsletter.
You will be up to date with all our Daily Buzz updates, including special offers
Let our news meet your inbox
Incredible insect photos
Photographer Thomas Shahan specializes in spectacular portraits of insects and arachnids, taken very up close and personal.
Female Tabanus Horse Fly I haven't been going out looking for bugs as much as I would like to as it has been quite hot around here lately (over 100 degrees). But I did manage to take a short drive out to Lake Bixhoma this afternoon with the usual hopes of finding new jumping spiders. Although I only found one common salticid, I had a great afternoon. After just an hour or so, my eyes were filling with sweat so fast, looking through the viewfinder was nearly impossible. I decided to call it a day at that point, as I ruined a few buttons on my last camera from sweating. What happens is that when I look through the viewfinder, the tip of my nose rests right on the playback button, and effectively acts like a funnel channeling all my sweat right into the button. This female horsefly was circling and buzzing around me for a good half an hour before I came across an overgrown concrete picnic area. She immediately flew underneath a broken concrete table and rested on the underside. I caught her in a toothpick container and headed home as I didn't feel like attempting to photograph her there. Once home, I smeared a bit of honey on a stone outside and let her loose. She went right for the honey, I took a few photos, and then she flew away (all within about 30 seconds). The photo was taken with the 50mm reversed on a few extension tubes.—
Female jumping spider
Female Jumping Spider - (Platycryptus undatus) Full frame, no cropping on this photo, this guy was at least three fourths an inch long. I thought it was the largest jumping spider I had ever seen until I saw one at least an inch long with enormous arms on a nearby wall. Unfortunately, that one jumped and dissappeared.—
Striped horse fly
Male Striped Horse Fly (Tabanus lineola) I had seen one of these flies last summer and wished I had a chance to photograph it, and I haven't seen another one until today. Take a look at the larger size, it's really a beautiful fly. Through the viewfinder I watched him make several bizarre movements with his front legs, totally different than any other fly I have seen. Taken using just the 28mm reversed and the flash to the top left. He was on a white painted railing which bounced the flash back up and provided some nice lighting. Full frame, no cropping.—
Tiger Crane Fly Head (Nephrotoma ferruginea) I had never really bothered to photograph crane flies up until this photo, they were just too flighty and would never let me get close enough to photograph them. For some reason, this one didn't mind me getting close at all, so I took this photo (which is nearly full-frame as I only cropped the sides) with the 28mm reversed on the bellows. Manually focus stacked from two photos.—
Female jumping spider
Anterior Median and Lateral Eyes of a Female Jumping Spider - (Maevia inclemens) You may have noticed by now that the eyes of jumping spiders can be several colors, but I have noticed that the eyes of female Maevia iclemens are often exceptionally vivid. With their beautiful deep blue anterior median eyes displaying the occasional moving wash of red due to the internal movement of the spider's retina, they are truly remarkable. I found this little (~5mm) female Maevia inclemens in a light fixture on my back porch, and upon noticing that she was going to be quite a cooperative subject, I ran back inside and grabbed my macro bellows. I have no way of judging exactly what magnification the photo above was taken at, but I am confident it was taken past 5:1 with th 28mm reversed to the bellows. I spent a little bit watching her through the viewfinder as I could actually see that red haze move about behind those lenses! It's absolutely amazing to see these movements - I'll have to try to get a video of it sometime soon. The photo above is a focus stack from 4 photos taken at f/8 and cropped pretty significantly. I only got 9 photos of this spider before my good luck turned - she hopped away and I lost her. I thought I was getting better at finding escapees, but her flee was successful - I never found her.—