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Compound Eye

The many facets of science photography
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    Alex Wild Alex Wild is an Illinois-based entomologist who studies the evolutionary history of ants. In 2003 he founded a photography business as an aesthetic complement to his scientific work, and his natural history photographs appear in numerous museums, books, and media outlets. Follow on Twitter @myrmecos.
  • Wasps Are Our Friends: Part IV


    When most people think of wasps, they imagine a stereotypically striped stinging insect. Such wasps are part of the family Vespidae, but they are, in fact, a minority of species and unrepresentative of their order. Taken by sheer number of species, the average wasp is quite a different animal: timid, stingless, and very, very small. [...]

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    How To Manipulate a Firefly Photograph The Old-Fashioned Way, Through Focus


    In the previous post, I listed a couple ways in which photographers digitally alter firefly photographs. How nefarious of them! I admit, however,  the post was a wee bit facetious. Photoshop can be used to alter the appearance of an image, of course, but cameras themselves have enough variables that a photographer can exercise tremendous [...]

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    How To Pick A Photoshopped Firefly

    Photinus pyralis

    Now that firefly season is sparking up our eastern and midwestern summer evenings, I am starting to see not just the insects themselves but the attendant media buzz. That nature gets some public attention is a good thing, of course. But nature untouched isn’t apparently enough for everyone. A surprising number of common stock firefly [...]

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    Selling the Public Domain

    For only $3.50, you can buy 20 images already in the public domain.

    Teachers Pay Teachers is a freewheeling online market where entrepreneurial educators sell lesson plans, powerpoints, and other didactic materials to each other. The site is a massive resource, with a blend of both free and paid content. It is big business, too. By their own account, the company has paid out nearly $80 million to [...]

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    Wasps Are Our Friends: Part III

    Megischus bicolor

    You might think an insect with an extra pointy derriere would pack a fearsome sting, but you’d be wrong. The extended rear appendage of the crown-of-thorns wasp is not a stinger but an egg-laying organ, the ovipositor, used to reach beetle grubs chewing through the wood below. Young wasps develop as ectoparasites of beetles in [...]

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    Wasps Are Our Friends: Part II


    The second in our series promoting the breadth and value of wasps features the gorgeous Orasema, a tiny metallic wasp that lives in ant nests. Young wasps feed on developing ant brood. When they mature, the winged adults leave the nest to fly and mate. After mating, Orasema biology gets weird. Instead of sensibly returning to [...]

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    Wasps Are Our Friends: Part I


    I’ve had about enough of people unfairly picking on wasps, so I’m fighting back with a series of photographs showing the bright side of these fascinating insects. Comperia merceti is only a couple millimeters long, but it has an outsized effect on cockroaches. Young wasps of this species develop inside cockroaches’ hardened egg cases, consuming the [...]

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    Professional Photography Approaches Gender Balance


    In 1970, fewer than one in five professional photographers were female. Times have changed: (Source: Institute for Women’s Policy Research, with data from the U.S. Deptartment of Labor)

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    A Short Safari In A Small Oak Tree


    Imagine a safari in your neighborhood. Instead of a few days hauling luggage through international airports, though, picture a leisurely five minute stroll from the front door. Local nature holds fantastic mini wildlife. For those willing to trade global for local, and large for small, there is plenty to see. I am speaking of ant lions [...]

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    Recipe For A Photograph #4: The Emerging Mosquito

    Aedes aegypti

    Here is a powerful method to photograph the world’s most dangerous animal in an unusual moment of vulnerability. But first, a digression into mosquito biology. Mosquitoes lead a starkly different existence between their early days and their adult lives, spending their youth in the water and their adulthood in the air. The transition occurs when [...]

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