Today, I shot the 50,000th image on the old Canon 300D/Digital Rebel. That is, since I’ve had it, anyway – I got it secondhand, so from its own personal standpoint, well, I got nothing, since it’s a piece of electronic equipment and doesn’t have a personal standpoint.
Mind you, this is not the 50,000th image I’ve taken, because I passed that long ago, nor the 50,000th image in my stock. It’s way under the 50,000th insect image in my stock; I have a ways to go on that end (I am somewhere in the realm of 11,000 images there.) The best I can say is, there’s a certain amount of luck involved in this being not just a keeper, but one I can feature in a post. I’ve spoken at length about the trials of macro photography, and chief among these is that I miss a lot of shots (I suspect most photographers do in the same circumstances, but I can speak on authority only for me.) The image immediately before this is getting tossed out, along with a lot of macro stuff – the zone of sharp focus is very short, as can be seen from the larger version you’ll get if you click on the image, which means that anyone wielding the camera who is not perfectly steady can twitch out of the focus range at the crucial moment. Ahem.
This is a thread-legged bug, or thread-legged assassin, or perhaps several other common names as well, so the dependable moniker is Stenolemus lanipes. Body length, proboscis to wingtip, is roughly 13mm. Obviously, spotting something that looks like a bit of lint involves a bit of luck itself, unless for some odd reason you find it on the kitchen table as I did this one (it’s summer in the south – it happens.)
Anyway, you may virtually join me in this non-celebration of our species’ peculiar obsession over evenly-divisible numbers from a base-10 system, even though the image I’m showing to the left doesn’t count (“count,” a ha ha, you missed it didn’t you?) but I still like the perspective better than the above. What the two shots illustrates, though, is how with such a short range of sharp focus, trying to get as much of your subject within that range means some selective shooting angles (such as the full profile approach at top) or deciding on exactly which anatomical feature should get the attention – unless you have a very good reason otherwise, it should be the eyes, just to provide a hint. The sneaky bit that can come into play is finding a way to have both the eyes and some select other feature in the same plane, such as the forelegs here (I admit this time it was more chance than design, since insects are abysmally bad at taking pose advice. But never admit that. The blind luck in getting decent images, I mean – you can admit to the intransigence of arthropods to your heart’s content. It’s a lot of fun.)
As a final note, this is the kind of post I won’t use for a podcast, partially because it has illustrations, but mostly because there’s no way I will inflict having to say “thousandth” multiple times on myself. Seriously, what total moron came up with that consonant combination?