The Best of Myrmecos 2011

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With the imminent demise of 2011, I’ve been reviewing my photographic efforts from the year. Excluding photos from our recent Australian adventures- I’m still crunching those- I created 609 saleable images processed from over 15000 exposures. Of those, here are ones I see as the best:

Just a wheel bug (Arilus cristatus) on a stick, but I didn't expect the light and the colors to emerge with quite this much ZING.
Eciton burchellii army ants march through a cloud forest in Ecuador. This photo might not look like much at 550 pixel-width, but viewed large it's an action-packed panorama that well exceeded my expectations.
This capture of Hyalophora cecropia silk moths is among the first of my photographs I'd actually consider as art rather than simply natural history documentation.
Fed by a sister, a young drone honey bee drinks honey to acquire the energy to emerge from his natal cell. This capture is not the most aesthetically pleasing, but I find it unusually intimate for an insect picture.
Some images work for no other reason than an eye-catching subject. This friendly insect is an Ecuadorian grasshopper in the tropical family Proscopiidae.
I never thought I'd include a shot from my little Panasonic digicam in with my top photos, but I can't resist this portrait of a young mantis in her habitat. The subject and background lined up to produce an image better than either alone.
I shouldn't have to explain why I picked this one.
Where does the predator end and the prey begin? This shot of an Ecuadorian spider mimicking its ant prey is both aesthetically sound and biologically informative. I hope to do more of this sort of thing.
I can't photograph ants all the time. Sometimes, to mix it up, I shoot researchers who work with ants- like Benoit Guenard (left) and Eli Sarnat.
Hello Phidippus!

43 thoughts on “The Best of Myrmecos 2011”

  1. Thank you for sharing! Your pictures keeps my own intrest in photography alive 🙂

    609 pictures of 15000 captures is still ~ 4%, thats one in every 25 exposures, which is a lot.

  2. Beautiful, as always – the last one, of the Phidippus spider, is the desktop background on my work computer, and in addition to being a great picture it has the added bonus of making people who don’t like spiders jump the first time they catch sight of my computer screen.

  3. I love all your best of 2011 shots, but the grasshopper is likely to be my all time favorite! I laugh every time I see it.

    I’m sure I’ll continue to enjoy seeing your photos well into the future because they’re just so darned good. Best wishes for 2012!

  4. Awesome! I too would have had a hard time choosing, but especially love the grasshopper and the ant mimic. Also have to love the comment from the entomophobic photographer above; reminds me of a student evaluation that said the person didn’t like biology as a subject but had enjoyed my course. I have never been sure what to make of that . . .

      1. Well, maybe. The alternative is that the student didn’t realize that I was, in fact, teaching biology, which would be less encouraging. 😉

        1. I once wrote a datasheet for a new piece of software and the business development manager told me it was so good she ‘almost enjoyed it.’ She was one of the nicest people I ever met but I admit that comment threw me.

  5. Henry (Rob) Robison

    Wonderful photos for 2011 Alex! Your best are indeed “The Best”! You are a marvelously talented photographer and I wish you and Jo the best for 2012! Can’t wait to see you guys again at Bugshot 2012!

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  7. Alex, your spider/ant mimic reminds me of all the spider/ant mimics I see here in Cambodia–and makes me wish I had more than a point-and-shoot digital camera with which to take macro shots… Keep up the good work!

  8. Thanks for all the work you put into this site this year. I’ve learned a lot about photography both from your posts about technique and from reverse engineering your great shots. I really like the framing of the ‘researchers’ shot – for me people are more difficult to photograph than insects are.

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  10. Alex

    You could never take that many photo using film and digital cameras makes things a lot easier. !500 how many SD you use ???????????

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  12. Fantastic photos as usual!

    I’d be curious to know how you’d differentiate between photos that are natural history documentation, vs. photos that are also ‘art’. What is the role of your own intention to produce art as part of the criteria for something being art? I’ve had some interesting discussions on this with local artists that were enlightening to me.

    By the way, saw a bunch of your photos at the ant colony at the Cleveland Zoo today. Unfortunately their ants were all off-exhibit, but at least there were good photos!

  13. Alex as always your top images are mind blowingly awesome. The Ecuadorian Grasshoper photo is my favorite as it looks so alien like a character in a movie. Happy New Year and have a great 2012!

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