Spoke too soon, perhaps

In yesterday’s ‘Too cool’ installment, I lamented not being able to illustrate the topic with my own images, and suspected I’d have no opportunity to do so. This was an abject ploy to make you feel sorry for me.

However, I soon became wracked with guilt over such blatant manipulations. Not to mention that, while searching through my images last night to illustrate a couple of presentations, I came across this insect photographed not six meters from my door one summer. While the wings are not being held in the right position, compare their pattern with that illustrated by Alex Wild in his post. This isn’t sufficient to demonstrate how the illusion works, but it does mean that I might be able to do so later on, without traveling to the tropics.

This is how the mind of an insect photographer works. This goal will remain in the back of my mind (along with many others,) and every tiny fly is going to be examined from now on to see if it might be a target species. if spotted, I’ll be trying to achieve just the right angle to illustrate this trait, at the same time watching to see if I can ever catch the function in action with a jumping spider. I admit to spending a lot of time crawling around looking for this kind of thing, but think about it: how often have you yourself ever seen, for instance, a jumping spider catch any prey? This could be a long time coming…

I am reminded on one of my past frustrations, when two jumping spiders faced off against one another on a railing. I scrambled to get camera out, missing the action where they launched to attack, but capturing the two of them clutched tightly together and dangling from a dragline, spinning madly. After regaining their perch on the railing, I could see they were belly to belly; both faces peering at me, though the smaller one was upside down on its back under the larger one and, I suspect, dying.

Then, somehow, I lost that roll of film from my bag. I never found it, and have never seen such a thing since. It is, as they say, a first-world problem, but considering that most of my sense of accomplishment comes from nature photography, I’m going to reserve the right to be annoyed over it.

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