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Red Alert!!

Red Alert!!
Photo Information
Copyright: Japie Venter (japie) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1814 W: 100 N: 1904] (5187)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2004-12-27
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 300D, Tamron 28-300XR, Digital ISO 400, Skylight
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/8 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2004-12-28 11:42
Viewed: 4966
Favorites: 1 [view]
Points: 30
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
This was the scariest picture I have taken in a very long time and is of the Paperwasp Vespidae ropalidia. It was hot (+33C) and these ladies were bothered. I had to but my tripod up and get quite close to them to get a decent shot and wanted the shot to get right down into the cells of the nest (which I am quite happy that it did).

As I neared the nest I was immediately noticed and it was Red Alert in the nest. These wasps are known to very aggressively defend their nests! It was amazing to see them getting ready for the threat. All the wasps were attending to the young when I approached, but in less than two seconds I had six wasps “trained on me”, ready to strike. These six wasps were hanging from their rear feet and were facing me head on. They met and matched all my movements with this pose – scary! When they attack they simply drop off the nest straight to the target and I can tell from experience that they are very accurate and the stings are continuous and very painful. What I did find interesting in this high alert situation is that one wasp carried on tending to the young while the others were countering the threat.

I think I managed to achieve what I set out to do as the whole lifecycle of this is evident in this shot. The cells contained eggs, very small larvae, medium sized larvae, large larvae and immature wasps ready to hatch. The texture of the nest made with wood pulp and saliva is also clearly visible.

The wasp’s paper nests can be seen in many gardens. Paper Wasps make their nests by chewing decayed wood mixing with their saliva. A number of hexagonal shape cup cell grouped together to form a comb. An egg is laid in each cell. The larvae develops and pupate inside the cell, emerges and become an adult. Their nests are usually attached to a tree, rock surface or building. In this case, my barbeque area.

South African Paper Wasps are the Polistes, Ropalidia, Belogaster dubia and the Vespula germanica.

The camera settings:

Program Setting: Aperture Priority
Focal Length: 300mm
F Stop: F/13
Shutter Speed: 1/8 sec
ISO: 400
Tripod: Yes
Flash: Diffused Off Camera TTL.
Reflective Panel: No
Cable release: Yes
White Balance: AWB

ellis49, willie, Janice, mogens-j, Luc, mumek, red45, Esox, Callie, saintclaude, deud, DigiSpy, puffy has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Robbrown: Sexy outfit:)japie 3 12-28 23:14
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Critiques [Translate]

Great post Japie.
I can see the whole lifecycle in one picture it's amazing.
Very good note too.
Excellent work my friend.

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2004-12-28 14:03]

Great action shot Japie. X'lent result getting the complete life cycle all in this one shot. Great informative notes too. Well done...

I am sure it took a lot of courage to get this picture and I can see that you really got their attention 100%.

Fantastic shot Japie. Excellent dof and sharpness, beautiful colours, great pov - really a second to none. Thanks for taking the chance.

Brave man Jaapie, when I 1st did one I too got stung then I borrowed some bee keeping gear and a leather motorcycle suit (for a laugh see here) and they totally ignored me even with the flash in use.
this is a great capture the details are amazing and the view of their reactions is superb, on point to addd I think the slightly talller cell may be the next lot of queens.

  • Great 
  • mumek Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 104 W: 0 N: 180] (853)
  • [2004-12-28 18:53]

Excellent portrait of the paper's wasp family.
Very nice details and colors.You are very brave man Japie! Interesting note.Thanks for posting.

  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2004-12-29 6:38]

Real scary! Great story and even better picture! Quality is very good but first of all it is great action picture. To favs.

Very good portrayel of the complete "wasp" scene Japie. I agree , it must have been scary to get this shot especially at 33c
Good post

Composition: ****
Sharpness: ****
Color: ****
DOF: ****
POV: ****

A very good shot, I wouldn't dare this!

  • Great 
  • Esox Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 239 W: 20 N: 344] (972)
  • [2004-12-30 5:17]

Very instructive shot and note.
Good composition with sharp details.
You managed well with the flash.
Good job.

  • Great 
  • Callie Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1101 W: 95 N: 2610] (7555)
  • [2004-12-30 13:24]

Hiedie foto is so skerp, dit maak my oë entlik seer. En ek is seker dit was 'n pyn omi alles opmekaar gestapel te kry, and this at the risk of a painful encouter too!
But no pain, no gain, and here you scored all the way! very nice note too.

Very very very nice and dangerous shot! We can see all details, well done. Claude
PS: I prefer the bees!

Hi Japie, this is a great shot. I can tell you I would have been a hundred miles away from here. You must have nerves of steel my friend :) Don.

  • Great 
  • deud Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 438 W: 11 N: 534] (2540)
  • [2005-01-05 4:53]

great. excellent work you did here.

You've gone to the MAX. A very good note, I can read the excitement of wildlife photography. And the result, a very good photo. I love the way I can see the different forms in witch the cells ar eused and constructed.
Good story, good action and good shot, Richard

  • Great 
  • puffy Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 289 W: 0 N: 339] (1351)
  • [2005-01-15 16:03]

Great shot, Japie, I think you are brave to get close to one and take the photo. I never get near to any one of this yet, your note is very helpful. Cheers.

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