Myrmecia Pyriformis

PHOTOGRAPHER

Eli Baber

FINALIST IN

Upper Secondary Category

WRITTEN STATEMENT

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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