As an enthusiastic ant keeper, I’m always on the lookout for different ant species to catch! After hearing about this competition I was eagerly looking for interesting textures to photograph. While searching, one of my queen ants worth $300 unexpectedly died, however this would lead to an awesome discovery. As an owner of a macro lens, I constantly take a closer look at almost every insect I come across, and this queen was no exception.
After focus stacking (a process that stitches many images with a very shallow depth of field together, allowing the full subject to be in focus at its highest quality) a total of thirty-seven images together, I achieved this beautiful image of the Myrmecia pyriformis queen. I was completely amazed by the crazy texture on the surface of the ant’s head, from tiny craters on top, to minuscule hairs on her mandibles! I then started looking for more dead insects around my house and found two more – a cicada and a weevil! The cicada has thousands of tiny hairs on its body whereas the weevil has hundreds of small scales over its exoskeleton.
When taking these photos I had to consider a number of different elements, the first of which is lighting. The lighting was extremely important as I needed to highlight the texture on the insects. The set-up I had for this, was two diffused box lights on either side of the subject, I then moved one further away to create some contrast on the insect, this is very evident on the weevil, as a shadow was cast on the underside of the insect. The images were shot similar to a scientific photo, however the lighting creates a more dramatic shot, making it more appealing to a general audience.
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