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Sunflower Seed Bug

Sunflower Seed Bug
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5551 W: 721 N: 4164] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-02-26
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 200, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/200 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, A study in Entomology (insects) 1 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-02-26 9:26
Viewed: 10835
Points: 38
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Sunflower seed bug - Agonoscelis versicoloratus

Photographed at the Thulasihleka Pan Bird Sanctuary outside of Richards Bay. This is my first real attempt at critter macro photography. I am by far no competition for Chi Liu (chiliu), Gert Ellstrom (ellis49) or similar ilk photographers, but I am satisfied with this primary attempt. I actually went to shoot some bird photos and since I had my new macro lens with me I thought I'll just take a couple of photos of some insects while I'm at the bird pan. The camera was handheld and I quickly realised that at my age, and given my physical condition, my hands are not so steady anymore. The next shoot will definitively be with a tripod. I really just wanted to get a feel for the lens and see how it performs, and it was worth the while as there was some valuable learning's gained.

Four other important things I learned were:
1. You have to have a steady foot. Stealth is of utmost importance as the insects are rather suspicious or cat foot especially when photographer's excitement gets a hold of you.
2. You have to have a sharp/keen eye. These little critters do not sit there with a large red flag saying, "Here I am, come and get me if you can".
3. You got to have PATIENCE! Well, I think this one speaks for itself.
4. A SLR camera is not the greatest solution when it comes to insect macros. Running around with your eye stuck to a view finder has all sorts of inherent dangers and problems associated with it.

There is still a long way ahead, but I am very exited and anxious for the next "great" expedition. You people will have to bear with me while I go through this learning curve as I am still going to bore you with a number of not so perfect attempts, and hopefully receive some valuable feedback through your critiques and advice.

Mid morning on another overcast day. Lately it seems like every time I pick up my camera the clouds immediately gather and by the time I get to my destination the light is just gone.


Small (body length 10-12mm), with a black-striped head, yellow tip of scutellum, and exposed margins of abdomen striped in yellow. Thorax and hemelytra pocked heavily in maroon spots.

Feeds on developing seeds of sunflowers and may become a minor pest.

Subtropical bushveld and forest margins.

Source: "Field Guide to Insects of South Africa" by Mike Picker, Charles Griffiths & Alan Weaving, Struik Publishers.

Camera settings
ISO setting 200
Aperture f/5.6
Shutter speed 1/200
Focal length 300mm

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0

DevendraBhardwa, phlr, Nicolas, peter_stoeckl, wuta, blue-velvet29, manyee, marhowie, hummingbird24, Luc, anavazao, Dyker, Miss_Piggy, Rehanna, betsie has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To zeca: Pajama bugloot 1 05-30 23:56
To marhowie: Macro learningsloot 2 02-27 09:16
To ellis49: DOFloot 1 02-27 08:04
To manyee: Colorful critterloot 1 02-26 16:03
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • phlr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 130 N: 882] (2821)
  • [2006-02-26 10:13]

Very good photo of a bug!
Excellent on details!
Very good DOF and BG!

Thank Loot for this verry nice capture. Very nice color and BG.

This picture is wonderfull. Your note was very interesting. I have myself pretty much given up on pictures without a tripod, although I do not find it practical tro always have it with me... And then we also have to contend with the wind... These little beasts can move a lot with the wind! Continue the good work!

Hi Loot,
from Hyaenas, Lions and Zebras you are switching to Bugs!
Great shot. Phantastic colours. Beautiful, very simple, powerful and dynamic composition.
Thanks! Peter

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2006-02-26 12:04]
  • [2]

Hallo Loot ,Good macro photo ,very aparte bug ,beauty colours details pov and dof ,very nice ,thanks ,greeting Teunie .

Amazing detail and color Loot! Great close-up shot of this beautiful insect. The designs and vibrant colors are amazing. Really nice capture!

Hi Loot!
Great composition, DOF and POV. Beautiful colors. Well done!
TFS ;-)

  • Betty Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 11 W: 0 N: 10] (186)
  • [2006-02-26 13:46]

Amazing creature! very nice colours. TFS

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3090 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-02-26 15:57]
  • [2] [+]

What a colorful little critter, Loot. A great macro, especially for a first time. Congratulations. Very sharp details and intense colors. Very informative note as well. Your enthusiasm is catching. TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • chiliu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1457 W: 0 N: 1176] (6526)
  • [2006-02-26 20:30]

Hi Loot,
Very nice macro shot!
Excellent composition, great colours,
very POV and DOF.
Thanks for sharing!

Hi Loot,
a very nice close-up.
Good exposure, very good POV and composition.
The blurred BG is also nice.
I'm agree with Howard in his comment. You need a real tripod for this close-up. Not only for the camera-shakings,
you work with shallow DOF, even at f16-f22 the the DOF is only a couple of mm. It you move your camera just a wee bit towards/forwards when you release, the subject will be very soft.
Well done.

Hello Loot,
You have composed this well and there is good exposure..The green BG contrasts well with the subjects colors. I think you have over-saturated the colors a bit, IMHO. Try to get greater DOF next attempt. Use a small tripod for very small insects. I use mirror lock (in your custom functions) and wired remote, with tripod for stationary, small insects such as this. You can try to shoot small insects handheld, but unless you have plenty of light, and faster shutter speeds, you will have little success. Besides, with DOF at a premium, you will have no choice but to shoot at slower s-speeds, to gain the F stop i.e. DOF needed for a good macro shot...
Good luck.

A great macro shot of this amazing insect, Loot!

I often marvel at the strange markings that some creatures are endowed with, this is another great example.

It appears as though he is wearing a shield of armor on his back, and the design is quite elaborated isn't it.

Wonderful details, colors, POV, exposure, BG and pose.

Thank you once again for a great job!

Great macro, love the colors!!!

  • Great 
  • Luc Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1836 W: 303 N: 4300] (14767)
  • [2006-03-02 21:07]

Very good. You would have a better DoF at at least Aperture: f/8. You can also use the flash to increase the shutter speed.
Thank you, Loot.
Sorry, I have no time today to write complete comments.
Very well done. Well deserved icon.

"Nature never repeats herself, and the possibilities of one human soul will never be found in another." ~ Elizabeth Cady Stanton ~

great macro with nice beautiful details!
Good POV, DOF, colours and composition!
Thanks Ana:)

  • Great 
  • zeca Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 373 W: 14 N: 539] (2887)
  • [2006-05-30 23:44]
  • [+]

Hey, you found my insect wearing pijamas!!!
Just kidding. But it looks like from the same family of my post "kale's bug". Nice colours, POV and sharpness! GREAT capture, Loot!

Hi Loot!
outstanding macro with great DOF and sharpness ( handheld and no fash!).
the colours are fantastic...nature always surprise me!


Hi Loot
Hierdie lyk net so unreal! Ongelooflike kleure. Jy het net die kuns om die beste in alles uit te bring. (kyk maar hoe mooi het jy my plooie gemaak :-)

Hello Loot

Ek lees jou storie aangaande jou vrore gespartel met die makro fotografie en die goggas wat nie wil saamwerk nie. Ek het nogal lekker hier gesit en giggel terwyl ek myself indink hoe dit moes lyk. Daar is egter 'n duidelike vordering wat jy gemaak het vanaf hierdie eerste tree wat jy op die gebied gegee het.

Hierdie foto is ten spyte van al die groei pyne tog steeds nie te onooglik nie. Indien die diepte van veld so klein bietjie wyer was en ek vormoed ook dat as jou photoshop ondervinding so klein bietjie meer gevorderd was dan sou hierdie foto waarskynlik so 'n rapsie anders gelyk het. Dit is egter steeds 'n goeie foto van hierdie ou stink gogga.


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