Monday, April 7, 2008

Comfort Zone

Three Seconds
Originally uploaded by Dalantech.
From time to time I learn new things about the critters that I photograph and I’ll blog about them. Recently I’ve come to realize that insects have a comfort zone.

Many of you just said “Duh!”… :)

But I’m not talking about the comfort zone that you have in your head, where insects tolerate you up to a certain point and then fly off (usually happens at less than a meter). What I’m referring to is an area that’s even closer –very close. Tickle the subject on the chin kinda close. I don’t know if they reach a point where they just don’t care, or if I’m so large in their field of view that they can’t resolve me as anything other than a part of the background. But there is this zone, and it’s different from species to species, where I can get really close and the critter doesn’t seem to notice. As long as I don’t make any sudden moves, or back up to make any adjustments on the camera, I can sit and take images for as long as I want (or until it finishes feeding on a flower and decides to move on).

The hard part is getting into that comfort zone.

The key to a feeding insect, like the solitary bee I’ve included in this shot, is to wait until it starts feeding and then move in. If you approach it too soon then it will just take off, but don’t wait too long or it will finish feeding and move on anyway. Timing, and practice, but it can be done.

Also keep in mind that some insects, when they notice you, will freeze. I think it may be that some predators key off of movement, so they are hard wired to sit still. Again don’t make any sudden moves, and if you back off even the slightest to adjust the camera the insect will be gone.

So be patient, and look for those comfort zones…
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