PetaPixel

How to Shoot a Hover Fly in Flight

The main thing with in flight hover fly photos is not to try, by that I mean if you go out to take one you will end up normally chasing a hoverfly all over the place with little chance of success. I only take them when an opportunity arises.

In this case the males of this species of hoverfly patrol the flowering bush looking for females . When they spot one they go into a stationary hover for about 10seconds whilst they decide if the female is what they think it is and if it’s a suitable mate.

I was just using a bean pole for support (hold bean pole in left hand along with a bit of camera – normally the lens), Spotted a male hoverfly following a female hoverfly and waited for the female to land. The male went into the expected stationary hover about 5cms above the female, I then just moved in with fixed focus until the the hover came into focus and took about 6 shots in quick succession of which 2 had the focus where I wanted.

The above shot is a crop of this one:

Shot with a Canon 5D Mark II and Canon MP-E 65 Macro lens at around 1:1 with bracket mounted diffused flash FEC set at -0.3.

Camera settings: Camera in manual 1/200th, F10, ISO200, flash in ETTL.

The main point is knowing the habits of the subject.

About the author: Brian Valentine is a UK-based photographer that focuses on macro shots in his garden. You can find him on Flickr as Lord V.


 
  • Studio

    10 seconds to determine if a female is suitable? Sounds like Mr. Hoverfly needs to raise his standards a bit.

  • http://twitter.com/chungdha Chung Dha Lam

    You should try to capture a ladybug spreading it wing before flight. I had a great opportunity once to do that I flew in my house and landed on the table I put out all the lights and shined a bicycle light at it and it was before I had a dslr but I used my Minolta Z5 superzoom to capture it. It would actually spread it wings for 1-2 seconds before it would fly off. So I was able to take the shot, also before it flew of I shut off the light so it would not fly to the light and stay in place. I was able to take allot of shots of the same ladybug. http://www.chungdha.com/2008/10/ladybug-photography.html

  • Casey Myers Photography

    Brian is one of the Best Macro Photographers out there. I have been following him on Flickr for a few years now and have learned many things from him. Here is my Macro Set on Flickr and owe Brian a lot of credit for all the help he has provided to me and the other macro photographers out there. http://www.flickr.com/photos/eternalphotography/sets/72157615686156962/
    Another good friend of mine Peter Kinowski has some amazing work as well.
    His photostream: http://www.flickr.com/photos/33814780@N07/

  • http://twitter.com/SketchMyWorld SketchMyWorld

    Thanks for advise! Love the pictures!

  • http://www.apertoso.be/ Jos De Graeve

    Ever seen the setup “fotoopa” uses to photograph insects in-flight ? see: http://www.flickr.com/photos/fotoopa_hs/