Invertebrates; they're actually quite lovely.

As I've mentioned in previous blog posts, I spend a lot of time trying to film/photograph invertebrates. Often at the expense of my skin, dignity and, given the rise in antibiotic resistant lyme disease, possibly my health. Getting good images or footage of insects and spiders can take days. But it's worth it. To me the sense of achievement is mind blowing and I can't wait to show other people! Surely they too will marvel at the beautiful intricacies of the natural world and these amazing complex creatures all around them! I will be lavished with praise until the end of time, and all my sweat and effort will have paid off!

Spittlebug (Froghopper nymph on rosemary)

Not so much. I get shudders. Lots and lots of shudders. Or simply outright declining to watch the film I spent months making because it's about spiders. And they "just can't". Because spiders are "just too scary". Even when they are on a screen. Oh, sorry, did you have a bad experience with them? Were you locked in a coffin filled with spiders when you were a kid? No? THEN STOP COVERING YOUR EYES!!!

Nightmare creature

"Maybe you should take pictures of cute cuddly animals James?" My response to this comment, which I frequently get, cannot be recreated in the blog post. I want this to be appropriate for young people after all. Although, maybe they are on to something. When I first set up my facebook photography page I included an album of birds and mammals and reptiles. This album got twice as many views, despite frankly mediocre photography.

Mediocre heron

But none the less I press on. Invertebrates have always held a special fascination with me and I will continue to photograph them. They are amazing and beautiful. Just look at this critically endangered Poecilotheria metallica* it is a stunning creature. Look at it! Look at its awesome colours!

Super beautiful spider

We have no reason to fear them and even less to be disgusted by them. Do you have any idea how clean they are? They spend their whole lives washing themselves. In fact, here's a tip: if you want to get a nice shot of an insect grooming itself, just handle it for a few seconds. It will be so disgusted by the oil and sweat on your hands that the first thing it does when you put it down is have a thorough wash.

First instar orchid mantis cleaning off all the filthy human goo

My all time favourite animals to photograph are ants. This is because they can generally be relied upon to do something interesting. Like tear something apart and eat it. They also can't fly. Or at least the workers can't. Which is handy. They also tend to live in nests, making them easy to find.

Red and Myrmica ruginodis tearing apart an earthworm.

Ants are amazing. In the tropics they have become so successful that they completely dominate terrestrial ecosystems. It's thought that the only animals that exert any real selective pressure on ants are other ants. It's long been a dream of mine to head off into the Amazon with my camera and some batteries and spend a few weeks just photographing the little girls. I'm confident that I could get some amazing images. And if anyone reading this needs some good footage of tropical ants drop me a line. Please. Seriously. It would be awesome. I could get you so much great content.

Sadly this weeks post doesn't really have much in the way of a conclusion. I just wanted to get that off my chest.

Follow me on twitter @jamesadunbar or @teamcandiru

Whats new with Team Candiru

This week we have mostly been looking for funding and putting the finishing touches on the visual component of our showreel. You can see it on our websites home page.We are also looking to get some French subtitles put on The Solitary Bees so that it can be used in classrooms in France.

Technical specs

All images were taken with a nikon d300s.

The ant, the spittlebug, the jumping spider and the mantis where shot with a 24mm MF f2.8 prime reverse mounted with a home made reversing ring and lit with a SB-800 flash and home-made diffuser.

The Spider was shot with a nikon 105 macro and again lit with an SB-800 and home made diffuser.

The heron was shot with a Sigma 150-500mm and lit using natural light.

*Warning. Poecilotheria metallica spiders are actually very dangerous and should never be handled. That having been said it would be pretty hard to handle one as they are afraid of humans.


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