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Eyes of a Holcocephala fusca Robber Fly | by Thomas Shahan
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Eyes of a Holcocephala fusca Robber Fly

Man, was this one difficult! These little robbers are incredibly skittish - an absolute pain (literally!) to shoot. They will hold onto their perch (usually the outer tip of leaves) no matter how hard the wind may blow - but as soon as you get anywhere near them, touch the leaf they are on (no matter how gently) they will fly right away. So I have found that the only way to photograph them is to just stand there and shoot away without any means of stability.


Somehow I found one little guy that would let me get close enough to focus, and 66 shots later, over a period of about 10 minutes of standing bent over with sweat pooling in my eyes, the leaf blowing in the wind, and my hands shaking from fatigue – I just gave up and checked to see if I got anything at all. Out of all those shots – about 30 missed the fly entirely, 33 were completely out of focus, and 3 were good enough to focus stack. I was ecstatic! 3 good photos taken completely handheld in windy conditions at 5:1 magnification at f/8 is no small feat! And even better – the background wasn’t black!


I realize I’ve posted this same species several times now, but that doesn’t matter – these little Holcocephala robbers are just too amazing not to post.


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Taken on July 26, 2009