Bug-a-day #4 – Gnat

According to Wikipedia:

“[Insects] are among the most diverse groups of animals on the planet, including more than a million described species, and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The number of extant (that means “currently living” – I had to look that up, too) species is estimated at between six and ten million, and they potentially represent over 90% of the differing metazoan life forms on Earth.”

Soooo … a simple challenge like “Bug-a-day” should be an easy task, right?  …


Plenty of bugs around in the woodland, even during this early part of the year. But could I find one that would stay still long enough for me to photograph it this afternoon? Could I heck!

So you’ll have to make do with a Gnat.

Not my favourite bug, no real point to them in my opinion. They’re about 2-3mm long (that’s 1/10th of an inch to those working with old systems), and they like to tickle your arms and fly into your nostrils. They seem to enjoy hanging out in swarms – particularly near water (where I was) when the sun is setting (which it was).

Having said that, considering the luck I was having pinning down bumblebees, butterflies, and grasshoppers, at least this Gnat sat still on a closing Celandine long enough for me to take a few shots.

So, for what it’s worth (at least until tomorrow), Gnats are my new best friends …

In fact, I love this one so much, I’m posting two pictures of him/her/it:

And yes, I have an admission to make – in case you hadn’t guessed. The photos weren’t as sharp as I would have liked, so I used a Photoshop Tool! (scream…). Something called a “smart sharpen” apparently combines “gaussian blur” with the sharpening tool. I pumped it up to about 200% and came up with the above.  I have no idea what any of what I just said means – but I’m quite pleased with the result.

Looks almost painterly 🙂

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

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13 thoughts on “Bug-a-day #4 – Gnat

  1. Hey, gnats are gnice! 😉

  2. They were today 🙂

  3. In my humble opinion, you are not only a fantastic photographer, you are extremely courageous. I do not like bugs and basically do whatever I can to avoid said creatures. LOL! These really are great photos.

    • Oh stop it! You must stop flattering me like this, it really does go to my head 🙂
      As you see by my notes, I’m not keen on bugs either, but they are proving to be a good challenge for me and my macro lens … and I do love a good challenge!

  4. amazingly detailed! Fantastic job 🙂

  5. I know this must be a silly question, but how do you get the bugs to stay still? Do you chase them around endlessly till they land, sneak up on them, or wait for a bug to enter in front of your lens? I love macro photography, so I really appreciate all the fine details of bugs. Well done and keep it up.

    • Not a silly question. But in answer to the choices you gave me: yes, yes, and no.
      No, I don’t wait for one to cross the lens, because all my pictures are taken without a tripod, and my arm would get bored of waiting.
      Yes, I chase around after them, especially if it’s unusual or unlikely I’ll see another if I lose it.
      And yes, when I do catch up with one that’s settled on something, I sneak up on it.

      In order to get a decent close up of something so small with this lens, the camera has to be about two inches away from the creature. Bugs don’t stick around long if something that big gets that close, so I have be sneaky …. and there’s a whole long of luck involved!
      In reality, for every one I manage to photograph, there are a hundred that disappear before the shutter clicks … that’s why it’s a pretty good challenge.
      You should give it a go!

      • I have recently bought a lens tube adapter and tried getting shot of insects briefly. My best attempts yet are of a lady bug. I really doubt I could do a bug-a-day project lol. I don’t have the patience. Not to discourage you, I love checking your bugs out each day. Thanks again.

      • You won’t discourage me.

        And I bet there aren’t too many scenarios when you could say “I love checking your bugs out every day” and get away with it! 🙂

  6. Brett Erickson


    Nice stuff here. Two things you’d really like for your macro work: 1) a ring flash (super helpful in lighting macro work for great drama), and 2) NIK Software’s Sharpener Pro. Both are tools used by pros all over the place to make the “little things” a little easier.

    Keep up the great work!

    • Thanks for the encouragement.
      I’m afraid I’m no professional – and it’s a bit of a standing joke that I’m rather a renegade where photography is concerned.
      I take most most of my pictures using the “one-handed, close your eyes, and hope for the best approach.” I don’t possess a tripod, I hate flashes, and I use Photoshop Elements 2.0 for “post-production.”
      I think I’ve a long way to go before ring flashes and NIK software, but I will hold onto that thought! 🙂

      • Brett Erickson


        You’re doing exactly what you should be: having fun.

        BUT, if this is what you’re getting with closed eyes and one hand, you’ve got the goods to push further. I spend my days evaluating students (who are working to become professionals), so I feel like I’m reasonably practiced at spotting ability.

        You’ve got it.

        If you’re interested in really pushing this to the next level, an acquaintance of mine, Adam Jones, teaches some really, really good (and generally affordable) workshops in pro macro work in Kentucky. His website is adamjonesphoto.com.

        Again, well done.

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