This Harlequin Ladybug found a far more enchanting environment in my studio than where it was found outside, resting on a blade of grass on the edge of the sidewalk. I’m shocked at how many photographic subjects I’ve found while out walking with my daughter! I placed this little lady in my hand carefully and set her up in a jar temporarily while I constructed this “set” for her to play around in.
The flower and ladybug were sprayed with water, but a few specific droplets were placed before-hand with a hypodermic needle. A gerbera daisy is placed in the background, a favourite flower of mine to use in water droplet refraction images. All that was left to do is get the ladybug to cooperate and stand still exactly where I need it to be. Easy, what could go wrong?
I learned a little bit about ladybug behavior during this experiment. When left to move about an object, they always seek the highest point. In this case it might have been so that she could have a better chance of spreading her wings and fly away (which happened twice), but my droplets were staged near the bottom of the flower… it was difficult getting this little creature to walk a path that brought her to the droplets.
From my perspective, even looking through the camera lens, the ladybug seemed to think the droplets were inconsequential to her progress. I was surprised to see some apparent interaction with the droplets when reviewing the images that happened so quickly I hadn’t initially noticed. There were a few moments like this as I re-set the scene three or four times with new droplets, and it was very hard to decide on which image I liked the most. The one posted above was my favourite in the end, even though the shell of the insect falls out of focus – and there is no focus stacking opportunities here. There was a close second shot, as a treat for those who read through my rambles: http://donkom.ca/bts/DKP_0771.jpg - I may print the two of them side by side at some point, it was a very tough decision to make.
For those curious how this image was set up, I’ll happily share a behind-the-scenes image: http://donkom.ca/bts/IMG_3197.JPG
My very fancy lighting modifiers include a piece of paper towel taped over the flash and a piece of scrap paper that was used to prevent some of the flash output from bouncing back to the camera directly and washing out the image. You’ll see I was testing out droplets on two different foreground flowers, and decided that pulling some petals out of the flower allowed for a cleaner view through to the important parts I was aiming to have in focus.
As summer comes to a close, I hope to get a few more of these concepts explored before things get too cold. Even while the temperature drops I still teach people how to make water droplet refraction images, with the next date being September 23rd in Sudbury, ON: http://www.donkom.ca/product/macro-water-droplet-workshop-sudbury-on-sept-23-2017/ - there are still five spots left! If you’re in the area I think you’d greatly enjoy attending this. :)