No matter the specialty or the genre, nature photographers are observers. We look and we see. Really see. Curiosity drives me and I’m afraid it makes me a rather indiscriminate one. Whether it’s exploring a whole new state, or my own yard, I can always find something interesting to put in front of my lens. Well, interesting to me anyway. Take this for example –
I call it the Wee Crud Monster. And it is. It is.
Well only if you’re an aphid or something.
It was on my deck railing and is ¼ inch long or maybe a bit less. I was trying to photograph some energetic jumping spiders when I noticed it moving deliberately; not being blown by the breeze. Because it just looks like a ball of crud I didn’t pay too much attention, but it moved again and it had me.
My 45mm macro is a true macro lens for m43 and so I could get right up on it and darn did I get a few good images. Basically this tiny thing picks up bits of debris and somehow glues them to itself to form a disguise. Further research proved it is a lacewing larva. Wingless and thus camouflaged until it finally morphs, it spends its days hunting and devouring anything smaller than it. With those pincers I don’t doubt it’s a pretty scary beast if you’re an aphid or a springtail. The larvae are sold in the garden industry as an organic approach to pest control. The adults are pollinators.
Between bouts of activity it stood quite still and so I could get these images. All handheld while resting the camera and lens hood directly on the deck railing. The only other insects I know of that do this are caddis fly larvae – I see them in the shallow water by the dock just ambling along with all this stuff stuck to them.
Nature amazes me almost every day and I learn so much; almost every time I pick up the camera. So yeah, I’m a naturalist.