Spring Insects

This weather this week was a bit more settled, and although there were still many showers about the temperature was warmer. I was doing some photography contract work on a national nature reserve but left my bed in the early hours to spend a little time searching out insects. Things are still well behind, many of the damselflies and dragonflies have yet to make an appearance. Large Red Damselflies were still very fresh, and it took some diligent searching to find a few worth photographing. Butterflies were also scarce, but I did manage to find a couple of Orange-tips and a few Green–veined Whites. These were relatively easy to approach, as they were still pretty cold from the night before.  Here are a some images from my early morning sortie during the week.

Green-veined White Pieris napi

I shot this image from a very low viewpoint to keep the background as diffused as possible. Nikon D800, 200mm micro Nikkor, tripod.


Orange-tip Anthocharis cardamines female

This female Orange-tip had obviously  settled overnight among the bogbean in a small pool. I could not get close enough to it because of the depth of the water. I used a longer lens and shot back towards the bank to keep the background clutter-free.
Nikon D800, 300mm 2.8, extension tube, tripod.

While photographing the Green-veined White, I heard the call of a Cock Pheasant. A couple of moments later it emerged from nearby vegetation. I quickly changed lenses to a 300mm 2.8 and it started to walk towards me. I did not even have time to mount the camera back on the tripod but supported it on my photographic bag. The whole event was over in a couple minutes.

Common Pheasant Phasianus colchicus

This chap emerged from the vegetation about 20 yards above me . He was unaware of my presence as I was on the ground among the vegetation. The sound of the shutter attracted his attention and he began to walk in my direction. I did a very fast lens switch and used my camera as a beanbag.
Nikon D800, 300mm 2.8.

I was still testing the D800, which Nikon had kindly let me have for a while and was keen to use it in as many different situations as possible. Although not quite as big as the D3X, it took a little time initially to get used to the slightly smaller camera; also some of the functions have been changed. I’m looking for an additional body now since my only remaining D3 is now non-operational and not worth repairing. I need an additional body before I head off the France next month. Since there is no announcement about a D4X, I will happily settle for the D800. This is a truly amazing camera. I was immediately impressed with how clean the files were even at high ISO settings. I will get a change to put the autofocus through its paces this coming weekend on the Saltee Islands workshop.

A few other images from the early morning shoot.

Large Red Damselfly Pyrrhosoma nymphula freshly emerged female.

I can never resist photographing emerging dragonflies and damselflies. I found several of these insects in a small sheltered pool. This newly emerged insect was in the position photographically to keep the background well out of focus.
Nikon D800, 200mm micro nikkor, tripod. 


Hoverfly Helophilus hybridus

I came across this hoverfly among the horsetails while photographing the damselflies. The early morning dew from overnight was beginning to evaporate off its wings as the temperature was beginning to rise. 
Nikon D800, 200mm micro Nikkor, tripod.

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