animals, insect, nature, photography, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: a thirsty wasp

common wasp (Vespula vulgaris) / Gemeine Wespe

At this time (up to mid July)  of the year, wasps are not so disturbing as at the end of the summer. Currently, they are still busy with taking care for the next generation. Some are collecting pollens and some are getting water and the others are building the nest or defending it while the queen produces more and more eggs.

Like hornets or bees, most of the insects in a wasp-state are infertile females. They have a lot of work with collecting pollens for feeding the breed and hunting other insects as food for themselves. They are expanding, repairing and defending the nest. The only purpose of the males is copulating with a female to-become-queen and state-founder at a certain date in the later summer (in my region it’s often at the end of August or early September). After that event the state breaks into pieces: the males leave the nest and die, the fertilized young females also living the nest get inseminated and searching for a safe place to survive winter, even the old queen, the mother of the whole state, usually dies because of exhaustion from laying all the eggs (several thousand up to 50,000 during one summer). And the infertile females? They are now unemployed, because all of their duty was to prepare this one day when all the males and the fertile females are leaving the nest and starting to their wedding flight.

Without their necessities for caring for the state they are bored and have a lot of time to enjoy the rest of their lives. And, … for their entertainment, they are about to annoy the humans by disturbing the barbecues, taste cakes (i.e. plum or apple cake), soft-drinks and many, many more things.

Although, adult wasps eat other insects, they are still interested in everything sweet and in meat.

Take care!

animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: A hover-fly and an Ad

APS-C, f16, 1/1000, ISO 2,800, 105mm (~157mm FX)

Today I have not only an image for you, but also a special offer. Skylum is offering their software Luminar 2018 with a special discount. The offer is starting today and valid until Sunday.

The above macro image shows a hover-fly on an Echinacea blossom. It’s taken by using a 105mm macro lens attached to a camera with an APS-C sized sensor in the early evening hours. Afterwards it’s developed from raw by using Luminar 2018.

Insects are very quickly moving animals. Additionally, their movements are nearly unpredictable. Even when sitting on blossoms for having a meal, they are constantly moving around. So, you have to use very short shutter-speeds when taking photographs beside a quick auto-focus. When using a macro lens for taking photos from small or tiny things like insects, you have to use a small aperture (= high number) to get images that are sharp for more than a tiny area. You know, the size of the field of depth depends on the focal length and the f-stop as well as the distance between your lens and the subject: the smaller the aperture, the bigger the field of depth and the longer the focal length the smaller the field of depth.

Both of these have an impact on the resulting image: a short shutter-speed only lets the light reach the sensor for a very short moment, while the small aperture limits the amount of light. So, what can we do to get properly exposed images? Right, we must increase the ISO, the sensitivity of the sensor. But, increasing the sensitivity also has a con: the digital noise in the image also increases and the fine structures might vanish. You might ask, why do I tell you all this technical stuff.

The reason is, nobody wants to look at noisy images with no structures. So, you have to use a software for developing your images, which is capable of eliminating the noise but preserves the structures.

In this image I still have all the structures: the fine hairs, the structures of the facet-eyes and the pollens. I also got rid of the noise from the background. So, Luminar did a great job again.

You can download a free demo (fully functional for 14 days) and test it on your own computer with you own images.

Take care!

(this post contains affiliate links)

animals, art, flowers, insect, macro, nature, photography, plants, seasons, world

Throwback Thursday: A special guest

hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum) / Taubenschwänzchen

When I was out for photographing butterflies, I suddenly recognized a fast-moving subject in the flowers beside me and when I watched it with my eye, I knew at once, that I was seeing a big butterfly. I’ve never seen such a butterfly before. I encountered a for me unknown species. Fortunately, it stayed long enough to fetch my camera and even got a few frames. One of them was pretty good.

During the next two days I saw it again. Always very fast-moving and only for a few moments stopping on some of the blossoms just like the other butterflies. But, instead of sitting down on the blossoms it was ‘standing’ above the blossoms in the air, just like a hummingbird, and putting the trunk inside the blossom to suck some nectar.

My researches resulted in the fact, I was faced by a hummingbird hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum). The hummingbird hawk-moth is one of the few day-active moths. They are strong flier and wander a lot. So, they come up from the Mediterranean area north to middle Europe and even Scandinavia and Russia during summer. You can find them from Portugal in the West to Japan in the East and also in North-Africa and India. Up to now, it’s not known, that they are able to overwinter in Middle-Europe, Scandinavia or Russia.

Their wingspan is 40–45 millimetres (1.6–1.8 inch) while the moth is 36-50 millimeters (1,4-2 inch) long. Their flying speed is up to 80km/h (50 miles/hour) with 70-90 wing flaps per second. They are know for conquering distances of up to 3,000km (1,875 miles) in less than 14 days.

And the only food they use, is nectar! Fascinating!! How much energy they are able to get from that food.

Take care!