Canon 300D Rebel, handheld
Sigma 28-105 reversed at 75mm, fixed f16
Sunpak FP38 flat-panel flash w/ softbox

1/200 second at ISO 200

Single file
red ants and eggs

So the biggest difficulty of macro work – once you obtain a lens which will provide the magnification that you want – is the extremely short depth of field that comes with high magnification. The higher the magnification, the shorter effective focus becomes, and it's very easy to have the head of an arthropod in focus and the thorax, sometimes even the forelegs, blurred. The easiest way to combat this is to shoot straight from the side of a subject, full profile, which can become pretty boring – more so with multiple subjects.

And then there's the idea that many arthropods don't exactly want to hold still for the photo, even if you beg, and can easily move out of focus range within a fraction of a second. Ants whose nest has been disturbed, which are rushing to protect the eggs and larvae, are especially difficult in this regard.

So I'm quite pleased with this shot, having wasted more than a few dozen frames trying to capture even one ant scurrying with their burden – let's call it a combination of quick positioning, timing, and especially luck. The ants don't appear to be flat to the camera, even though you can see the abdomen of the follower to be already out of sharp focus. The opalescent quality of the eggs adds a lot to the whole scene, in my opinion, but it would take a different technique, one that showed far less detail, to convey the desperate action.