How does one take a photograph like this?
Having a cooperative subject helps. I was able to borrow a few ants from a laboratory colony by gently dipping a piece of wood into the nest box, picking up a few guards, and placing the wood on a little pedestal. The pedestal was important, as I could approach from a low ants-eye perspective rather than shooting down at the subjects.
My actions were slow enough to avoid alarming the ants. They stayed calm, moving about slowly and deliberately, so that I could focus and compose equally deliberately.
The lighting was engineered by placing two white mylar diffusion sheets half an inch above the ant- just out of view- and firing two strobes through them, one farther away so that the light shone back through the translucent parts of the subject. That’s why the legs appear to glow a little.
The final element is patience. I took about 20 minute’s worth of photos to net a few usable ones.
Canon EOS 7d camera
Canon MP-E 65mm 1-5x macro lens
ISO 100 f/13 1/250 sec