Teaching, and learning, insect photography in Colombia

A bug's-eye view of the "Fotografía de Insectos" course in Ibagué, Colombia, July 14-16 2012

Several months ago I received a brief note from eucharitid wasp specialist Aymer Andres Vasquez asking if I might want to lead a photography workshop for Colombian entomologists.


Of course! Biologically, Colombia is arguably the world’s richest country. And- shame on me!- I had never visited. So Aymer and I assembled a 3 day event for last weekend to cover the basics of exposure, lighting, composition, and specialized techniques like time-lapse and focus-stacking. As my Spanish is más o menos (y más menos que más), I was worried about how we’d go. I shouldn’t have been. The enthusiasm and warmth of the 20-some participants carried me and my unsteady Spanish through the weekend.

This female eucharitid wasp was cooperative enough to lay an egg in front of us while we used her as a demonstration of Canon's MP-E macro lens.

What a lovely, kind, and diverse group of people! We had a tremendous time, and the participants managed to take some remarkable photographs. As is typical of these courses I ended up learning at least as much as I presented. Video tips from a videographer, parasitoid biology from the hymenopterists, color composition from the more experienced photographers among us, and (of course) tips on the tastiest national beers.

our happy group

With any luck we’ll arrange another Colombian workshop soon. As this one went so well, I’m keen for more like it. If you are interested in a photo workshop in your country or town, drop me a line.

An Umbonia treehopper is the perfect insect for photography practice: it has both charisma and the habit of sitting entirely motionless through several iterations of lighting and backdrop.

9 thoughts on “Teaching, and learning, insect photography in Colombia”

  1. Looks like an amazing experience! I can’t take my eyes off the treehopper, just incredible and what a wonderful shot. So when are you coming to New Zealand Alex?

  2. Henry (Rob) Robison

    What a wonderful experience for them……..and you! Great idea Alex! Hope you get to give these workshops all over the world!

  3. Pingback: The Colombia Photographs – MYRMECOS - Insect Photography - Insect Pictures

  4. I’m from Colombia, and love to capture the incredible life of insects through pictures, or at least I try. I wasn’t able to go to the course. It will be great if you could come again, it looks like a great experience.
    Alex you are Welcome any time 🙂

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