Shooting Challenge: 30 Icky Insects

Love 'em or hate 'em, insects make for fascinating photography subjects. We received a huge number of entries for this week's shooting challenge, with many of you braving the rain and fear of spiders to snap an awesome shot. Take a closer look at the entries after the jump. Don't forget to click on each image to see the full-size version.

James Munro

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First time entering the challenge. I found a giant spider's web in my front garden, which is right under a huge holly tree. I went peeking with my Canon 1000D and 60mm macro lens and found one of the leaves stuck in the web had an ant nest. It was pretty dark so I had to crank the ISO up to 1600 with 1/320 to avoid any handshaking. I imported the photos onto my iPad then applied the basic Vintage filter through Snapseed which I think really gives it a nice textured feel. This leaf was suspended by a few stands of orb spider web. My timing was perfect as when I came back to reshoot 20 minutes later the leaf had completely fallen.

Ben Vawdrey

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Canon 550d w/55-250mm f/4-5.6 IS II @ 97mm, f/5, ISO 800, 1/200th

First dry weekend we've had for a few weeks up here in Brisbane. Decided to head down to the local historic cemetary to look for a spider's web and get a really creepy shot with all the dilapidated tombs. After wandering around for a couple of hours (getting some awesome photos along the way), we found a total of one insect which was quickly snapped up by a hungry Willy Wagtail. We figured this was the reason why the cemetery was fairly devoid of insect life.

Walking home we saw this awesome Golden Orb Weaver glistening in the setting sun, a two-minute walk from my house. Seemed almost like fate that our timing should sync up perfectly with the sun setting and the Orb Weaver happy to shuffle around so we could get multiple shots from different angles.

David Bird

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This little guy just happened to be on the banister of the stairs when I got home on Sunday night, as it turned out he/she was a bit of a poser and lined itself up for what I think was a bit of a lucky but good shot.

Photo was taken on a Canon 1000D with a Canon EF 75-300mm f4-5.6 zoom lens and the built-in flash was used. settings: ISO 1600, Lens at 300mm, F/14, 1/200

Michael Hyde

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Cannon SX40 HS, ISO100, f/4

This is a natural bug killer in my herb garden. My kids love watching me pick something, as I have been known to dance around like a Nancy when the web gets on me.

I'm not a big spider lover either Alex!

Brad Gorman

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I took to my front yard early on Sunday morning with my Canon EOS 550D, 100mm f/2.8 Macro and twin light flash, hoping to catch the native blue bees I've spotted before. Waiting, I availed myself of various houseflies, grasshoppers, spiders and weird white things. I got some decent shots of a tiny little camoflauged grasshopper, but the photo isn't terribly striking (http://www.flickr.com/photos/bradgorman/6821646553). As I give up hope of a stellar pic, a wild dragonfly appears! He hovers and taunts me, flitting away before I can aim. I swap over to autofocus, 1/250 sec and no flash, hoping for a quick shot. No luck fluking a shot of him hovering, but he did alight long enough for me to snap this. I went inside happy.

Shameless plug: you can see the other pics I snapped here: http://flickr.com/bradgorman/

Kevin Cheng

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Camera: EOS 7D with 24-105mm IS USM, CPL Settings: f/4, 1/400 sec, ISO 100

I actually didn't realise I had a shot for this week's challenge until after the event. Taking five minutes of early morning sun to do another photo, I noticed this white cabbage moth fluttering around. So technically it is a butterfly, but butterflies are classified as day flying insects. Not too long a bow to draw.

Josie Eldred

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Taken with: Canon 60D Lens used: 2.8 100mm Shutter speed: 1/500 F number: 3.5 ISO: 320

I was sitting on the path in my garden taking some droplet shots when I noticed this fly chilling on a blade of grass. Couldn't resist taking a photo.

Darren Pelchen

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Stick insect. Found this one on a trip to get the kids out of the house on a Sunday morning taken with a sony A55, shutter speed 1/200 sec, f/5.6, 55mm focal length effects and cropping on adobe photoshop elements.

Hope you enjoy.

Keiron Throssell

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Canon 400D, 18-55mm lens, at 55mm. Whilst supervising a camp to Canberra, we hit up the CSIRO discovery centre, and the praying mantises were unleashed onto the students. I'm not a pro photographer or anything, and had only just got the camera a week before and was stuck with the lens from the twin lens kit, but I was impressed with how this pic came out, considering I had the insect on one arm and the camera in the other! I no where Hollywood alien designers get their inspiration from now.

Nic Roumeliotis

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I dove into the garden today in an attempt to find some bugs, and after trying to shoot ants for a half hour, I noticed this guy sitting on my tripod leg. The photo is quite 'empty' but I think that's what I like about it.

Specs: Canon EOS 550D Pentax-M 50mm f/1.7 (w/ macro extension tubes) 1/1000s, f/6.7, ISO3200 Shot RAW and edited in Lightroom.

Bruce Loxton

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I was wandering around my backyard complaining about the lack of insects to photograph for this challenge when I spotted this. I was completely unprepared though -- my DSLR was inside -- so I grabbed my iPhone out of my pocket and snapped this: a Common Crow Butterfly recently emerged from its chrysalis.

No editing has been done, other than dropping the saturation back to 0 in iPhoto. Settings that the iPhone chose: ISO 64, f/2.4, 1/190th, auto white balance.

First time I've seen a butterfly just after emerging. It only hung around its chrysalis for a few seconds, preferring instead to climb to higher ground to prepare for flight. After about 15 minutes of wing stretching it disappeared.

Nick Smith

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The fates were against me when I took this. I was soaking wet, as was my camera. We had just been comprehensively soaked having been caught in the rain during an exercise walk. You can see some smudges which are caused by water on the lens. I was almost back to my unit when I noticed the stick insect on the neighbour's door. Since the camera was to hand, I took a couple of quick snaps, without really thinking about composition or lighting or much at all. Uppermost in my mind was a warm shower and change of clothes. In the back of my mind there was the thought that I didn't know what the challenge for Giz was this week. Imagine my surprise when I checked later and found it was insects. That was when the recriminations set in, why didn't I go back with a macro lens, why didn't I compose the shot better, why didn't I save to a larger format. Why why why? So what do we have? Taken on my Nikon Coolpix S6100 at 3Mb mode (2048 x 1536 pixels). Auto mode f/4, 1/60th sec, ISO-400, no flash. No post production editing, I believe in what you see is what you get. The Bludger

Pete Aitchison

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I had a bit of an internal debate as to whether ants were actually an insect... then thought "PFFFFT".

This photo is part of phase two of nature destroying my garden. First, the cockatoos come in and eat my corn, tomatoes and these butternut pumpkin. Then in moves the bugs... or insects, such as these meat ants... eating not meat.

Using 180mm macro on auto light settings with manual focus and much luck.

Chris Brown

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This is the spider that I nearly walked face first into when going to hang the washing out. It had made its web directly over the stairs leading to the clothesline. Luckily it was in the centre of the web which was at eye level, otherwise I would have had a face full of web. Canon 550D F5.6 1/20 sec ISO 3200

James Jardine

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Equipment: Canon 500D, Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 Lens Settings: f/4, 1/500sec, ISO-100, focal length 50mm

Decided to head to Melbourne's Royal Botanic Gardens to see if I could capture some insecty goodness. The herb garden didn't disappoint! I had plenty to choose from: moths, spiders, bees and even a full-blown natural beehive. But in the end this beauty of a butterfly came up trumps. I've given her a slight tweak in Photoshop to crop and bump up the contrast (couldn't help myself) but apart from that, it is pretty much wysiwyg!

Rudi Khoury

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I shot this photo today by accident. I was preparing for a shoot tomorrow (Sunday) and was just making sure everything was in order.

Location: Cabarita water front (Near Concord NSW) Gear: Canon 7d with 70-200 f2.8 IS II USM Stats: Manual mode, 200mm, ISO 200, F/5, shutter speed 1/800 s

Wish I had the aperture lower to make the bee a little sharper, but in the moment no time!

Filip Wozniak

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My kids saw this big blowfly on our driveway enjoying the morning sun. I rushed inside to get my camera and managed to get a few extreme close-ups before it flew away.

Camera = Pentax Optio WG-1 GPS Settings = Digital Microscope Mode

Jason Miller

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This photograph was taken with a Panasonic DMC-GH2 with a 45mm f/2.8 Leica Macro lens at ISO 400.

Story: Biggest praying mantis (15cm roughly) I have ever seen, and it was guarding our front door. He tried to pry himself into the house after I took an interest in him, so the title of this pic would be "Caught in the act". Perhaps he heard how good my wife's cooking is.

Wishing you a calm and tranquil day buddy

Cody Jarrett

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Went to go hang out my washing when I saw this little guy was waiting for me on a peg. I grabbed my Motorola Razr, as my DSLR was flat, and took a couple shots in night portrait mode for some extra light.

Tony Burt

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I live in Grafton. On a hot steamy day I love nothing more than to drink an icy cold Corona with lime. Whilst holidaying in Canberra over Christmas I purchased a patio lime tree. On returning home I carefully repotted my lime tree with the best potting mix money could buy, and how the tree has flourished.

Well, on Friday the 13th, terror struck, I found a giant grasshopper gorging on my beloved tree. Now normally I love nature, but at this instant I did what any lime tree-loving male would do –- I tried to flick him, but the cunning creature dodged me like a kung fu master. He just glared back at me with those cold eyes. I went to flick him again and he leapt to the lawn some 4m away. Now we were at a faceoff. My next not so carefully thought out plan was to kick him over the fence. I lined him up as if I were Luke Burt, steadied, then ran up for the big kick... I missed. I drove my right foot straight into the ground like a sand wedge into the bunker. X-rays later revealed that although my pride was broken my toe was not. Grasshopper score 1, me a goose egg. Well I did not see the grasshopper again until this week when I was able to stage this photo. Believe it or not I did not kill him; he drowned in the swimming pool. I learnt an important lesson; I can’t kick like Luke Burt but more sadly the grasshopper learnt that he can’t swim like Geoff Huegill.

Stuart Addelsee

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Shooting Challenge: Insects Camera: EOS 7D with 100mm F2.8 Settings: f/9, 1/8 sec, ISO 100

I often attempt some macro stuff, so it was a nice challenge to try and find some bugs around the place. Thankfully The recent rain and sun made for a backyard awash with bug friendly foliage. Ladybugs being bright are easier to spot and I think are a bit more photogenic than some other insects, it also doesn't hurt that they often don't move fast! Of my many shots this is one of the better ones which is both in focus has a reasonable DoF.

Stuart - http://www.flickr.com/photos/stuart_addelsee/

Dave Steel

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I didn't plan on entering, but I saw this big guy (about 10cm long) on my window at home and quickly got a snap. He must of seen me because he jumped off as soon as I took it! Wish he would have stayed longer, I'm sure I would have got some better shots. Sony A350, 18-70mm, Auto settings.

Eric Gitonga

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I was taking a shower before bed when I noticed this jumping spider just walking around on the wall. As soon as I was done I took a jar and coerced it inside, then went and placed it on a paper napkin to photograph it. I figured since it intruded on my privacy, I might as well have it pay up by modelling for me!

I took it using a 50mm lens reversed on 62mm of extension tubes at f/11 1/125 100iso. Lighting was a speedlight set at 1/16th power through a DIY home rigged soft box.

Tim Sleath

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I found this guy enjoying the final arrival of summer in my backyard and got close enough not to scare him. Canon EOS 450D with 55mm lens, shutter 1/100, aperture f5.6, ISO 800.

Brent Gray

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This is a bumble bee that I took at the lavender farm in Tassie, and I thought I did a good job.

Charles Sammut

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Always fascinated by all kinds of bugs and we spend way too much time trying to keep them artificially under control when they do such a good job on their own. In my backyard I have a tadpole pond, a goldfish pond and two small dogs. The dogs catch the lizards that catch the ground bugs and in this example a St Andrews Cross spider that has managed to catch it's own dinner. The frogs keep other flying bugs down and all the checks and balances means fewer bugs make it in the house.

Been keeping my eye on this particular web all day and keen to test how well the Gingerbread update on my Huawei Ideos Xs (U8800) improved the stock camera. All I've done is a slight adjustment on the contrast and a quick crop. While the camera is capable of 5MP the resolution is quite low at 72dpi.

I had to get in close for this one. I was literally less than 2cm away and the camera had difficulty with the auto focus but I thought this one was the best out of about 12 shots I took. While not spectacular there is enough impressive details to submit a picture. Taken on Sunday 5th late in the afternoon.

James Fleming

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Picture was taken in my backyard (cos I'm lazy), using a Canon 7D and the Canon 100mm macro. ISO 400, f7.1, shutter speed 1/400.

Bees are awesome little buggers! This is (of course), the yellow-brown commercial honey bee. Well, I'm pretty sure it is anyway. Couldnt find it at first when I googled Australian bees, because its not a native bee.

Wayne Isles

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Taken on Saturday 4th Feb at Ewan Maddock Dam Sunshine Coast on a Fujifilm HS10. Shutter 1/340sec, f stop 1/5.6, ISO 100, 126mm zoom. Never really bothered to photograph these things when bushwalking as they move too fast. This one must have been tired! It was still a snap shot and I was surprised when I checked what I had got. Love the delicate lace wings.

Jason Ruth

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Sunday morning, after a week of rain, a very pleasant and sunny Saturday I got my hopes up that there would be the chance of some fog landscape photography up the road from home, namely Brooklyn and the Hawkesbury River. Well I wasn't disappointed. After doing that I travelled further north along the Old Road and near the Calga interchange with the F3 I couldn't help but notice the huge number of spiders webs glinting in the early morning light, damp from the fog. Equipment: Nikon D300, 16-85mm f/3.5-5.6 VR lens and Hoya +4 67mm close-up filter. Settings: 1/60sec - f/6.3 - ISO200 - spot metering - -1ev

Krystle Corfield

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Basil Bee

Shot with a Canon 550D with the standard18-55mm lens.

I have a giant basil bush by my front door, always buzzing with bees, except in the rain. I waited almost the whole week for the sun to reappear and the bees to return, finally snapping this on Monday evening.