Bug Shots

A closer look at insect photography

Archive for the ‘Diptera’ Category

Flies, Mosquitoes

Hover Fly at rest

Posted by Darren on December 20, 2010

The Common Hover Fly (Ischiodon scutellaris) would have to be one of my favorite insects to photograph as their behavior allows for some interesting shots.  Firstly, their ability to hover in one position almost flawlessly gives the photographer the chance to shoot them in flight which is almost impossible with other insects, particularly flies.  Even when startled, these Hover Flies will often return to the same spot you first found them, giving you a few more chances at get then photo you want.


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A Dipteran Duo

Posted by Darren on November 8, 2010

Here are two common species of Fly that I regularly see around the garden.  The first is the larger Grey-Striped Fly (Sarcophaga aurifrons), also known as a flesh fly.  I am unaware of the species of the second fly which was approximately 5-6 mm in length and seems to be a favorite target of the numerous jumping spiders that hunt on my window screens.  Both have amazingly complex and alien architecture when viewed up close.

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Flies: two tiny examples.

Posted by Darren on May 23, 2010

I wanted to capture a few examples of some of the smaller species of fly that I commonly see.  These two examples were approximately 4-5 mm in length and quite difficult to shoot due to their small size.  The first photo appears to be some type of Vinegar fly (? Drosophila sp.) which I find roosting on leaves.  You really have to search hard for these little flies as they are exceptionally hard to spot on foliage due to their size.  Another difficulty I find with photographing these smaller flies is they seem to really react to the camera flash, much more than the larger species.  They are so fast that sometimes they manage to make an escape between the flash and the shutter leaving me with a beautiful picture of a leaf.  I’m unsure of the second species of fly, but I generally find them feeding on small flowers.  I have tired to identify a few of these smaller flies with identification keys on the internet, but it is far to difficult to achieve from photos alone.

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Grey Striped Fly (Sarcophaga aurifrons)

Posted by Darren on May 11, 2010

Here’s an example of the Grey Striped Fly (Sarcophaga aurifrons), a common fly seen in the Australia garden. The Grey Striped Fly also goes by the common name of “Flesh Fly” thanks to the tendency of a few species to lay eggs into open wounds.   These flies are quite large and are easily photographed in the late afternoon when they are settling down on leaves and twigs for the night.  At this time of day you can get right up close without them spooking to get some great close ups of their ugly, yet highly detailed head!

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Flight of the Hover Fly

Posted by Darren on May 2, 2010

A rather windy an unproductive photo session today, though I did see quite a few examples of the Common Hover Fly (Ischiodon scutellaris). A fascinating insect to watch in flight and a difficult one to photograph.  I’ve had mixed luck with photographing hover-flies in the past and find that later in the afternoon is a far more productive time to catch them.  During the middle of the day they are certainly more active, and their flight patterns are far more erratic.  This is not a great time to try and photograph unless you can frame and focus in a second before they shift position in the air.  In the later afternoon I often find them settling down to roost on twigs and leaves, and they are reluctant to give up this spot easily. If disturbed they will take off and hover around the vicinity of the roost, often to return to the very same leaf.  This is the best time to shoot as they are quite persistent in reclaiming their position and will not hover far from this spot.   Watching these insects in flight is truly fascinating and the control they exhibit, even in windy conditions is amazing.  From a photography perspective, the sunlight in these shots is a bit harsh, but I was happy to hit the focus reasonably well in flight.  I’m still hoping for better shots of these beautiful insects in flight, and enjoy the challenge of improving my technique here.

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