Crematogaster lineolata is polygynous. I wish a had a better photograph.

Over at CE I mentioned the trouble of useful natural history photographs that are technically mediocre:

…the blurry capture is my only photograph of [an] animal. Do I upload it to my professional galleries anyway? It won’t look great printed, and I’d feel embarrassed to sell it onwards for, say, a display at a natural history museum.

The question isn’t trivial, as it burrows right to the heart of why I photograph insects. Am I making pretty images? Or am I documenting real natural history?

I’ve rustled up another example. In Kansas last week I shot a colony of the common acrobat ant Crematogaster lineolata with several queens in the brood nest:

A pair of queens in a nest of Crematogaster lineolata. Konza Prairie, Manhattan, Kansas. 4/30/2013

The photographic documentation of polygyny is a small yet potentially useful tidbit about the biology of a population. Yet, the photo is aesthetically crowded, the lower queen is out of focus, and it is not the quality of image I want included in my professional portfolio. So it goes here instead.

I should probably upload these to Wikimedia.

6 thoughts on “Crematogaster lineolata is polygynous. I wish a had a better photograph.”

  1. I’d just make a new gallery, which specifies your dilemma and fill it with these types of photographs. I figure people would understand and it seems like a loss for everyone if the pictures become unavailable. For easy searching, you could mention the photographs in the correct albums.

  2. Sending your useful but less than professional quality photos to some sort of “public” space like Wikimedia could be a really cool way of serving the common good, without necessarily costing you that much.

    While I probably wouldn’t order that print to hang on my wall, I’m in total agreement with Piotr — I’d be more than happy if I’d taken that shot!

  3. I agree with user TheHymenopteran in the comments of your other blog: I consider it to be the documentation of natural history, with the bonus of the photo’s being aesthetically very pleasing.

  4. I’d say the science is more important that the image quality. If no other documentation exists, then I’d say this is an exceptional candidate for wikimedia.

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