Cheapskate Tuesday 15: headed for the water!


Inspired by this great post by C.L Goforth, a.k.a. the Dragonfly Woman, I decided to get my feet wet with aquatic insect photography. This is a field which I have almost completely ignored, probably because I thought it was too challenging. But really, despite a few technical challenges, it can’t be all that different from other types of shooting, and there is such a wealth of fascinating and beautiful subjects to photograph!

So far, I have just acquired a tank (a small, cheap betta tank, c. 20 bucks) and I have yet to add  the recommended spacer to restrict the movements of the subjects. I have situated the flashes as below, added some diffuser material (same stuff as in the Cheapskate Diffusers) and shot away at what was available, in this case the larvae of Culiseta incidens, a common early-season mosquito here on the West Coast (in fact they overwinter as mated adults).

I will keep this blog updated with further refinements and experiments as I delve into aquatic insect photography. To all my fellow insect photographers: why not join me as this insect season really begins?



So far the results look decent on tricky small subjects. I have not edited out any of the bubbles and other flaws, and I may have pushed the contrast up too much, but I am hopeful and optimistic! I especially like seeing details of the gut and musculature through the cuticle.


This frame shows one reason to get your lens axis exactly perpendicular to the glass of the aquarium: distortion!


I am fairly pleased with this frame, as it shows decent depth of field and good sharpness on the setae (hairs).


This larva was moving toward the camera with the feeding movements of its mouth brushes.

Here is what Culiseta incidens looks like as an adult.

8 thoughts on “Cheapskate Tuesday 15: headed for the water!

  1. Oh, this is something interesting… I am so curious to see where you go with this. Love the skeeter pics, if you need more specimen we are already developing a surplus here 😉

  2. Pingback: Found: Red-legged frog on Burnaby Mountain | Ibycter

  3. Time is a big factor for me too. I need time both to find and to setup the subjects, each of which is its own little studio challenge. I hope to do some more shooting soon!

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