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geoffs Jul 9, 2004 4:18 PM

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I'm posting this photo, not because of its technicals (what technicals?), but because it illustrates a mechanical motion of this beetle that I hadn't ever been aware of before. I had always thought that a winged insect could just start beating its wings and be airborne. But this photo shows that perhaps its a bit more complex than that. I was just trying to snap the shot of a beetle sitting on the rose petal but as I snapped the shot it decided to takeoff and it looks like the takeoff is a combination of both wing beating + a helpful spring upwards with its hind legs. What do you think?

Normcar Jul 9, 2004 11:42 PM

Wow, geoff, this thing was "so close" to being great. As for what came first, the legs or the wings, I'd guess like some birds I've read about, it's a combo. One thing I technically notice about this is that "everything" seems slightly out of focus so that means that if your shutter was increased in speed slightly everything would probably come fully into focus. Thevery slight blur was probably from yourreaction physically, and that happens to me daily, the jump. This was so close.

Anyway, great photo, who needs birds from long distances in order to create a challenge of flight and movement. I personally would be just as impressed with a bee or bug taking off from a flower as a bird taking off from a tree.

But, that's me.

Thanks for sharing

I apologize for adding some technical stuff since I noticed that you asked for that sort of thing to be left out, which I fully agree with when requested. Sorry about that input.

geoffs Jul 9, 2004 11:50 PM

I don't mind a bit of critical analysis. This would have been a tough shot even if the beetle was not flying off because there was a slight breeze and it was very difficult to catch the flower when it wasn't slightly waving in the wind. Since I was going for DOF (aperture was f/8.0 - my camera's max)rather than stop-action, my shutter speed wasn't as high as it could have been - I was relying on being able to get a static moment of motion and I didn't get it.

It may well be a combo mechanism, using both legs and wings to takeoff. The only reason I'm questioning the use of the legs is because I know that there are insects that trail their legs behind them when flying (wasps for instance) and so that was perhaps all I was seeing here.

geoffs Jul 10, 2004 4:38 PM

Norm, I went back and checked the exif info for this photograph. I didn't remember, but the shutter speed for this image was 1/500! So, it should have stopped the motion completely, wouldn't you think?

The motion blur and softness is completely my fault I think. I was not using the IR remote for the camera. The camera was mounted on the tripod but I had to press the shutter release button which probably caused a shake and the result is as we see it. Gotta make sure to use the IR remote in all cases for macro!

Normcar Jul 11, 2004 8:33 PM

I think that not using remote could have caused a slight problem and that's why I use one myself when possible. As for the 1/500th stopping that wing motion completely, I would debate that just from experience with birds. In order to stop the wings of small birds I've found that I need to be in the 1/1000th plus area. I'm not sure why and agree with you that 1/500th should seemingly arrest motion, especially on something like a hummingbird whose fastest wing beats I believe are around 80 per second. I'm not much of a mathemetician but perhaps it has something to do with the fact that we are dealing here with more than one movement.

It would be interesting to hear comments on this, since it relates a whole pile to what my future goals in photography will be (completely arrested motion).

photosbyvito Jul 11, 2004 8:52 PM aren't just dealing witht he 80 times a freeze the motion you have to take into consideration the actual speed the wings are do that, you'd have to measure how far they are moving, and then, mathematically, figure out the distance per second (multiply it by 80? 160...cuz a "beat" is up and down..) then convert the distance to miles, and then you got the shutter speed you have to have (or faster) to stop the motion....

now, i might be able to figure it out....if you could tell me approximately how far the wings are beating....


geoffs Jul 11, 2004 9:02 PM

Leave it to Vito - smarty pants! :-) You are a young bright fellow and I'm glad you're around to "sock it" to us older guys...

For this particular beetle I'd estimate that a wing beat, consisting of a full up/down arc, is probably on the order of about 1/2". Now, I'll sit back and wait for you to figure things out and report back to us.

Norm: It sounds like you have quite an aggressive goal for yourself. Getting completely frozen frame images of animal motion (bug, bird, ???) is definitely specialized stuff. Now, there is an extremely good website that I was perusing a couple of weeks ago in which a gentleman had taken unbelievable stop action photos of birds with minimal equipment - if I can figure out which site I was at I'll go ahead and send you the link.

photosbyvito Jul 11, 2004 9:17 PM


stephen dalton is an AMAZING photography....definetely worth the google search... get complete freeze frame, you NEED flash....

btw...thanks geoffs....just a little math...and i'll have the beatles speed (well....if his wing beating isn't faster than the hummingbirds....) figured out...


Normcar Jul 11, 2004 9:26 PM

Thanks geoff

by the way, after seeing a recent post here by andre christian of a bee (using the new Canon Pro 1 10X optical with image stabalization I believe, as well as an onboard "L" series glass) might be a serious consideration for you. Check it out...the camera, before making any decisions.

Understand that I'm not recommending this camera as I've never tried it, and it may have hidden glitches that I know nothing of.

geoffs Jul 11, 2004 9:27 PM

Yeah, I just saw your reply on that thread and I was busy scurrying off to look at the specs on that camera. I wonder what options are available for telextenders for it...


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