Observation of the Week, 12/8/15

This Mosquito pupa seen by grahame in Christchurch, New Zealand, is our Observation of the Week.

Personally I’m often too busy waving away mosquitos to really take a good look at them, which is what makes this beautiful close-up of a mosquito pupa so compelling. Look at the crystalline beauty of the compound eye and the delicate structure of its breathing tube (also known as a “trumpet”) - so cool. Even an oft-reviled animal like the mosquito (check out an adult mosquito below) can be stunning.

Grahame, the man who took these pictures, describes himself as “a photographer with an interest in fauna, rather than a natural historian with an interest in photography,” and it took his artist’s eye and innate curiosity (not to mention some hard work) to to come up with such a great image. Grahame’s been working with cameras for over fifty years now, and says “very rarely do you find me without a camera and close up gear in my bag.” He has over 1500 observations on NatureWatchNZ, iNaturalist’s sister site in New Zealand, and says NatureWatch “has been great for getting IDs of critters I don't know and just for the fun of flicking through others’ observations to see what they've found and try and learn a few more species.”

To get the image of the mosquito pupa, Grahame took three images (handheld) and focus stacked them to give the image greater depth of field.  That, however, was an easy shoot - other focus stacks can be “50+ images in the studio.” He’s also a passionate bird photographer, which obviously requires a totally different mindset and method. “Hopefully I haven't run out of new techniques and toys to play with,” he says.

Here’s to always learning new things and appreciating all forms of life!

- by Tony Iwane


- Grahame’s Photo Website.

- Cool video showing the mosquito lifecycle.

Posted by tiwane tiwane, December 10, 2015 00:09

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