This weekend’s project: to shoot a beetle in flight. I chose ladybirds not because they are pretty, but because they are the slowiest, clumsiest beetles I could find in any number. An easy target.
I had a cast of several beetles from two species, the seven-spotted ladybird Coccinella septempunctata and the multi-colored ladybird Harmonia axyridis. I placed the beetles inside a whitebox with a backdrop of leaves, along with my Canon 550 speedlite flash, and tried to capture the beetles as they launched themselves into the air. The timing was tricky, as it only takes a beetle a fraction of a second to deploy its wings and push off, but with a little practice I learned to anticipate the unfurling of the wings. Most shots missed, of course, but here are some of the successes.