Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Another tiny fly

with 24 comments

Click for greater size and clarity.

I have to tell you—or maybe in light of other posts* I don’t have to tell you—that there are many kinds of tiny flies out there in nature. The one in this picture was about a quarter or a third of an inch long, and although it didn’t fly away or seem in the least bothered by the close presence of the front end of my macro lens, it kept in almost constant motion on its floral platform. It reminded me of the pump of an oil well as it cranked its body forward and back, up and down, extracting nectar from the disk flowers of this prairie fleabane daisy (Erigeron modestus) rather than petroleum from beneath the ground. The date was March 27, and the location was Pedernales Falls State Park, which is about an hour west of Austin.

For those of you interested in photography, I’ll add that because of the fly’s movements I set the camera at a shutter speed of 1/500 sec. and took dozens of pictures in the hope that some of them would come out with the motion stopped and important parts of the fly in sharp focus. This was among the photographs that met both conditions. Points 1 and 18 in About My Techniques also apply to this picture.


* Previous posts showing tiny flies have been:

Two syrphid flies

Agarita gets a visitor

Frostweed gets a visitor

Hemipenthes scylla

A pretty fly

Climber on the climbing Clematis

Adieu to camphorweed

© 2012 Steven Schwartzman


Written by Steve Schwartzman

April 11, 2012 at 5:24 AM

24 Responses

Subscribe to comments with RSS.

  1. beautiful shot, all the way ’round!


    April 11, 2012 at 5:40 AM

  2. Love this and the rest of the buggy pix you linked to! What a patient person you are! I imagine you do a lot of controlled breathing as you attempt numerous captures!


    April 11, 2012 at 6:30 AM

    • Patient I can be, have to be, with insects. Whether I control my breathing I don’t know; I’ve been too busy to notice, but I’ll try to pay attention and find out.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2012 at 6:39 AM

  3. Nice shot! 🙂


    April 11, 2012 at 7:25 AM

    • Thanks. As someone who photographs birds, you can appreciate the difficulties of taking pictures of animals.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2012 at 7:37 AM

  4. I’m not a fan of “bugs”.. but your photo really captures the pearly rainbow iridescence of its wings.. very pretty actually!

    Just A Smidgen

    April 11, 2012 at 9:28 AM

    • Yes, there are lots of appealing details when you get close enough to “bugs.” I’ve noticed iridescence in quite a few insects.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2012 at 3:54 PM

  5. Love the colour of the fly’s wings and the shallow depth of field. Very nice!

    Mufidah Kassalias

    April 11, 2012 at 12:11 PM

    • I’ll agree that the shallow depth of field, which was a consequence of being so close to the fly, worked well here. I didn’t care about anything else but the fly being in focus.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2012 at 3:59 PM

  6. I am completely drawn into this image with its yin/ yang of colors. The flower exudes light and lilt, and the fly by contrast (in nature’s world too) is deeply cast. It’s a delicious blend that gives each a stage, yet works in union, Sally


    April 11, 2012 at 12:21 PM

    • I appreciate your thoughtful analysis, Sally. I hadn’t thought of this picture as yin/yang, but I can see it now that you’ve proposed it.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2012 at 4:54 PM

  7. This is terrific Steve! I also have to comment on your “About My Techniques” They are well written and illustrated and a great thing to add to your posts!


    April 11, 2012 at 1:38 PM

    • The “Aboout My Techniques” feature seems to me a natural consequence of having been a teacher for decades, even though I never taught photography.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2012 at 4:56 PM

  8. Wow, great macro shot. I also love the flower itself. Very nice composition.


    April 11, 2012 at 5:59 PM

    • This is a type of flower I’ve been fond of photographing in its own right, but here all my attention went to the tiny fly.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 11, 2012 at 6:30 PM

  9. Really love this. The flower alone is an amazing shot, the bug makes it even better!


    April 12, 2012 at 8:50 PM

    • I probably wouldn’t have photographed the daisy at this angle but the fly’s position dictated my camera’s position. It all worked out for the best.

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 12, 2012 at 9:09 PM

  10. The wings remind me of stained glass as well as cloaks used in movies to designate magic – dark and light. Or are those cloaks in my imagination? I’m not sure.

    • I can see the little sections of the wings as stained glass panels, but my imagination fails to pierce the veil into the realm of cloaks. But etymology rings true and reminds us that the word cloak arose from a variant of the Old French cloche that means ‘bell.’

      Steve Schwartzman

      April 13, 2012 at 5:12 AM

  11. Belle photo! À ce que j’ai pu comprendre c’était une mouche et elle était si préoccupé par son travail que malgré ta proximité, elle continuait à butiner comme si tu n’étais pas là. 😉

    Anne Jutras

    April 18, 2012 at 5:17 AM

  12. […] you’d like to look at a closeup of the main species of Erigeron that grows in central Texas you can; you’ll get to see a tiny native visitor as a bonus and in the process boost your IQ […]

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: