Best time to shoot insects?

Started Jun 8, 2013 | Discussions thread
SteB Veteran Member • Posts: 4,523
Re: Best time to shoot insects?

DannH wrote:

Thanks for the detailed response, I'm also in the UK so a lot of that sounds familiar. Interesting read on your link as well, of course all subjects are different but would you say the approach and stop process relates to most insects or just dragonflies? I've always tried to approach slowly but normally just as 1 movement.

As for what I like to shoot... Mainly different types of flies (hoverfly, robberfly, snipe flies etc), bee's (wasn't expecting these to be out yet) but pretty much any subject really. True about the cold spring, I knew there would be less in the morning but was just a bit surprised to see how little. Could be that the mornings are still very cold in the UK. Like you said in an earlier statement about the false impression, I was expecting to find at least a few subjects sleeping on grass stems... I wonder if this impression comes from photographers shooting in hotter countries? or is it just that the weather has been really bad so far this year.

Yes, the stop start rapid habituation technique works with most insects and invertebrates. It even works with Common Lizards. I've got a trick where I can rest my finger beside a basking but fully active Lizard. Sometimes they will even climb on my finger. Yet there their reactions are so quick, that if you have your hands either side of them, they can move faster than you can close your hands.

For some reason it doesn't fool Bees who always see you as another creature. If Bees let you get close, it's because they know you are there but are ignoring you, or they are too cold to move. Whereas most other invertebrates and some vertebrates just forget about you and see you as part of the surroundings. Habituation is the key trick and I learned about it when studying ethology, animal behaviour, as an undergrad. Basically it is when animals get used to something they would normally regard as a danger, and after they just accept you. Most Wildlife movie camera-people use this trick. Sometimes it can take few years to habituate a wild animal before it starts to ignore them. The spectacular footage we see on TV can take years of preparation to get.

The cold Spring has certainly meant things are unusual. It's funny seeing Bluebells out in near mid-June, with trees leaves out and the canopy closing. I was out in the evening yesterday seeing what was around, as it was a still warm evening and things like to bask. There was much less about than you would normally expect at this time of the year. I'm primarily a naturalist and nature observer than just a photographer, so I take notice of what is going on, rather than just concentrating on getting photos.

I don't travel much so I can't say much about other countries. However, my impression is that it is down to the range and amount of insects present, as to what you find earlier mornings. So other warmer countries have a much greater range of species than we have in the UK, and bigger species can occur in larger numbers. I think early morning you will only find a tiny fraction of the insects present, as if we can find them, so can birds. In other words the ones stuck in the open are an accident, as they prefer to be out of the way at first light so they don't become bird food. Having said that I do regularly find all the groups of species you mention at first light. Just a lot less than you see after it has warmed up and they become more active.

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