Three ways of shooting a stick insect

The mediterranean stick insect (Bacillus rossius) is one of the longest insect in Europe, with a length up to 10 cm. Therefore, it happens to be a good subject for even a wide angle macro shot. I have found an adult female in Dalmatia, on our family holiday so immediately ran back to the apartment to bring my gear. Luckily, it was still hanging on the plant where I spot it. First I took the Sigma 15mm fisheye lens and installed the twin flash including the softboxes. The wide angle presents the closer and the farer environment too:

Hand-held exposure at 1/100 sec. ƒ/22 ISO 400, the subject was illuminated with diffused flashlight.

The next style is completely different: focal length is 100 mm, aperture wide open, making the background blurred, separating the insect from its ambience:

I took this photo with the Canon EF100/2.8 USM macro lens hand-held at 1/400 sec. ƒ/4.5 ISO 100, direct sunlight was reflected from the right.

At last, I got closer with the MP-E65 lens and took a 2:1 mixed light exposure, focusing on the unusual head. Here I used a single flash diffused with white plastic foam board, the background was lit by the sun.

Hand-held exposure at 1/80 sec. ƒ/10 ISO 400, field of view = 18×12 mm, uncropped.

8 thoughts on “Three ways of shooting a stick insect

  1. pbertner

    All great shots Nikola. Have you experimented with or have any interest in shooting with UV light? It would have to be at night, or in a controlled dark environment, but the fluorescence can certainly add an interesting element, and most stick insects do fluoresce.

    1. nikolarahme Post author

      Thank you Michael for the comment. I don’t own the Canon’s twin flash, just a hacked Minolta which does not work in TTL. I like to use the small Canon 270EX, and now got a Meike MK-300 which seems pretty usable!

      1. michaelmarlow

        Is TTL pretty reliable? I primarily use my flash in manual mode because of the loss of auto-functionality with my reverse lens set up. I use a Nikon SB600, mainly because the smaller SB400 does not function in manual mode with my camera model (D5000). That Meike looks intriguing though, small and inexpensive, right in my wheelhouse! I’m going to look into it further. Thanks!

  2. nikolarahme Post author

    You are right, Michael, TTL is not reliable. But forgot to mention also the flash’s power is not adjustable, so I only can play with ISO. I have no experiences with the Meike yet, but John Hallmén uses it with pleasure (I get mine from him as a gift).

    1. michaelmarlow

      Well “courtesy of John” is a pretty good recommendation, in and of itself. I’ll have to run through his flickr stream to see if any use the Meike; of course, I assume they’ll be as fantastic as his other shots. 🙂

  3. Paul Brock

    Terrific wide angle image, I have been admiring some other images on your Flickr site. This specimen looks more like Bacillus atticus to me – from the granulated thorax [not so extreme as in Italy and some other parts of it range] to short cerci, genitalia and colour. In comparison, Bacillus rossius are usually plain green or brown, with a smooth thorax and rather longer cerci. I need to see images higher resolution to confirm though. See my website for images of taxa e.g. go to SEARCH – TAXON and key rossius. Click on images to enlarge. Interestingly, Bacillus atticus usually feeds on Pistacia lentiscus, B. rossius on Rubus.


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