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Tiny Arthropods

My current camera equipment can't handle it but a number of other contributors have equipment capable of capturing considerable detail in bugs 2-3 mm or less (and fantastic detail in larger bugs). It would be nice to see more photos of the tiny animals such as springtails, thrips, mites, Proturans, etc. Individuals in these groups are common or even abundant, so the challenge is not so much in finding them but in getting good close-up shots.

Live photos of tiny arthropods are hard to come by on the web and elsewhere, so there's ample opportunity for BugGuide to break new ground in this area. We could invite experts to ID and/or comment on the images posted.

As the popularity of digital cameras continues to increase, more members of the general public will be shooting "anything & everything" and testing the limits of their camera on the really small stuff. So I think there is (or will be) a need to fill the current void of images/info on tiny arthropods, and I think BugGuide is in the perfect position to lead the way.

Photographers of small bugs might find the technique in the URL posted under Photo#14573 useful. I have tried it once, and it looks promising for small stuff and high mag. where DOF is a problem.
Anthony W. Thomas

Tiny Bugs
Since this past winter I have been learning ways to photograph tiny insects such as thrips and gnats, but have found it very difficult to produce decent images while out in the field. Though normally I refrain from capturing bugs for photography, I may have to make an exception for these really small subjects as Troy has suggested. Trying to find and focus on a tiny bug at the extreme closeup range through the camera's viewfinder is hard enough without having to worry about wind and other distractions, especially since I don't use a tripod (something I really should learn to do). And as you can imagine, extreme closeups require a different set of equipment (e.g. extension tube, teleconverter, stacked lens), which makes handling the camera a bit more cumbersome.

Nevertheless, I totally agree that there is a deficiency when it comes to images of live tiny arthropods, and we should aim to photograph more of them. In addition to the examples you listed, I would also like to suggest photographing more chalcid wasps and other minute hymenopteran, as these form one of the largest insect groups yet are sorely underrepresented in the guide. Likewise there are several families of tiny flies that have yet to be widely photographed.

Small stuff
If you're capturing insects to photograph indoors anyways, a useful technique might be to sweep some vegetation using a net, dump the contents into a large glass jar and chill the jar, allowing you to find interesting specimens to photograph. This would make it easier to locate those small flies, wasps, etc. that are otherwise difficult to spot in dense vegetation. I haven't used this technique for photography myself, but I have found that sweeping is one of the easiest ways to collect large numbers of tiny insects, aside from trapping which doesn't leave you living insects to photograph.

On it!
I've been endeavoring to do more of that. It's also something that can be done (easier even) simply by bringing stuff inside without having to be in the field. Even in cold months, you could probably find some stuff by sampling in the right places.

I've also been working to get more detail shots. I recently took some extreme closeups of damselfly and dragonfly mouthparts. Aquatic insects are another challenging group that can be difficult to find photos of.

I've noticed Richard Leung doing the same thing.

It's not easy, that's for sure. I sometimes spend hours for just a few good shots.

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