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Black Beetle Test Stacks (3) | by Johan J.Ingles-Le Nobel
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Black Beetle Test Stacks (3)

This may be a Ground Beetle although there is not enough in the shot to make an accurate ID.

This photo is one of a series of tests I ran specifically trying to tackle shooting a highly reflective black surfaced beetle and making a vaguely interesting image of it. Black is hard: black and shiny is even harder. The lessons I personally learned from it that my relaxing and pinning skills are woefully inadequate compared to my photography skills so there's a lot of practicing to do in both those areas.

 

Ground Beetle live in every garden in the UK and are considered gardener's friends because they eat slugs. Some, commonly known as bombardier beetles, even emit secretions, mixes of volatile compounds ejected by a small combustion, producing a loud popping sound and a cloud of hot and acrid gas which can injure small mammals like shrews, and is liable to kill invertebrate predators outright. Humans don't like it much either - as Charles Darwin once wrote:

 

"A Cychrus rostratus once squirted into my eye & gave me extreme pain; & I must tell you what happened to me on the banks of the Cam in my early entomological days; under a piece of bark I found two carabi (I forget which) & caught one in each hand, when lo & behold I saw a sacred Panagaus crux major; I could not bear to give up either of my Carabi, & to lose Panagaus was out of the question, so that in despair I gently seized one of the carabi between my teeth, when to my unspeakable disgust & pain the little inconsiderate beast squirted his acid down my throat & I lost both Carabi & Panagaus!"

 

APPEAL: I AM ABSOLUTELY BLOODY DYING FOR SOME INTERESTING BEETLES.

 

IT'S WINTER IN THE UK. ALL I CAN FIND ARE DEAD BLOODY FLIES. AS FASCINATING AS FLIES ARE, IT WOULDN'T UPSET ME TOO MUCH TO BE ABLE TO SHOOT SOME OTHER STUFF. PEOPLE FROM ALL OVER THE WORLD READ THIS, IF YOU HAPPEN TO BE FEELING ALTRUISTIC AND WANT TO HELP A FELLA OUT THEN DO FEEL FREE TO SEND ME SOME BUGS FROM YOUR PART OF THE WORLD - 5-10 5MM-1CM BUGS IN SOME PAPER IN AN ENVELOPE WOULD BE HUGELY APPRECIATED. MAIL ME FOR MY POSTAL ADDRESS... MANY THANKS!!

 

Technical details: Taken with a noname Plan 4x objective, shot on smallest possible pixel count on my cam to keep processing time sane. 100 stacked images with zerene stacker, 2 flashes, pingpong ball diffuser surrounding beetle.

 

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Taken on January 28, 2012