2012’s Not-Quites, the Insects

So as I mentioned, I went ahead and put together my best images of this year – or, as it really should be, my favorites, since no one is voting on these but me. However, this year was notable in that most of my images, by a wide margin, were arthropods (which I still call ‘insects’ solely for convenience.) I didn’t like ‘discarding’ so many images that I felt were strong just to produce a Best and Second Best, so I created a post of ten more eager and excited finalists in ascending order. Feel free to do your own Casey Kasem impressions as we go.

10.
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“Is It Safe?”
An unidentified jumping spider checks to see if I’ve left yet.

9.
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“At The Trough”
This bumblebee was holding still as poorly as they ever do – sometimes you simply nail focus even when the conditions are against it.

8.
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“Almost… there…”
Optimism is good, though sometimes misplaced.

7.
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“So, now what?”
Newly hatched lacewing nymphs (family Chrysopidae,) measuring roughly 2mm in body length, congregate on their suspended empty egg cases before venturing off on their own. Later on they will camouflage themselves with debris.

6.
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“Point it away from your face”
Just a white-banded crab spider (Misumenoides formosipes) and her meal.

5.
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Raargh!
Combined backlighting and flash bringing out the best of a giant stag beetle (Lucanus elaphus.)

4.
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“Translucence”
I just like what the light does to both the leaf and the jumping spider.

3.
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“Food Chain”
A spiny assassin bug (Sinea spinipes,) maybe 12mm in length, preys on a lady beetle larva that was in turn preying on aphids. Click to see the facial detail.

2.
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“Steam Train”
How could I pass this up? Click for the higher-resolution version to see the detail on these unidentified leafhopper nymphs.

1.
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“Mellow?”
I have a hard time defining what it is about the quality of light that makes this work for me, but the soothing nature of it offsets the menace of the spider. Or maybe it’s just me.
I can’t say for sure, but I think this is genus Mecaphesa, possibly M. carletonica.

So those were the finalists that I couldn’t pass up in the Insect category. If you’ve read what I said about position and shooting angle, I can follow that with saying only three of these were taken from a ‘normal’ position, and the rest in various degrees of awkwardness, number 7 especially so. You might also note that none of them have the black background so typical of macro work; while I certainly have enough images like that, the ones without usually look much better, so it’s worth the effort to eradicate whenever possible, and I’ll talk more about this soon.

Next, the Runners-Up across the board.

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