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Compound Eye

Compound Eye

The many facets of science photography
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    Alex Wild Alex Wild is Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas at Austin, where he 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.
  • Then and Now: A Decade Later, A Decade Better


    Every once and a while I stumble across a dusty forgotten folder on my hard drive, full of photos so old I don’t even remember taking them. Like this 2002 shot of an Azteca adrepens ant from Paraguay: I was terrible at photography. I mean, I still make impressive numbers of truly bad photographs, but [...]

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    Build a World-Class Insect Imaging System for under $6,000


    Compound Eye has been quiet of late. My silence is for a good cause, though! The past few months have been hectic as I transitioned from freelance photography in Illinois to a new job: Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas in Austin. The move has meant a blogging hiatus. My new academic digs [...]

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    The Ethics of our Brave New Drone Photography World


    It’s a marvelous time to be a photographer. The blossoming tech industry has made us all kids in a candy shop, suddenly realizing the whole street is candy shops, on a street with peppermint cobblestones and licorice fountains. And if that weren’t enough, flying robots are now dropping candy from the sky. With the advent [...]

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    Window To A Wetter Past In Tucson


    When I lived in Tucson a few years back, I often wondered why a city even existed there. Modern Tucson is completely dry, save a few artificial ponds propped up for the golfing set. The few desert washes that pass through town are bare sand most of the time, filling only briefly during the heaviest [...]

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    Recipe For A Photograph #5: The Angry Ant

    Solenopsis invicta 1

    This 2007 photograph of a fire ant brandishing her stinger is among the most heavily circulated images from my collection. Since several people have asked how I managed to coax the animal into such a dramatic pose, I bring you the following recipe. But first, a digression into fire ant biology. Everyone knows fire ants [...]

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    Giving Birth To A Tropical Parasite [Video; Not For The Squeamish]


    “Why is it that an animal that is actively trying to kill us, such as a lion, gets more respect than one that is only trying to nibble on us a little, without causing much harm?” -Piotr Naskrecki Biologist Piotr Naskrecki, who traveled with me to Belize last year, returned home to find himself incubating [...]

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    Into the Public Domain

    In honor of January 1st being Public Domain Day, I am releasing a few of my older images from copyright: These images are now available for all uses, including commercial use, without the need for attribution or permission. Enjoy! Why am I doing this? Public Domain Gallery at Alex Wild Photography Wikimedia Commons  

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    My Personal Best Photographs of 2014

    Aedes aegypti

    2014 was a busy year, and an odd one in terms of subject matter. Usually my stream is full of ants. I am trained as an ant biologist, after all, and these charming social insects typically weigh heavily in my photographs (see 2013, 2012, 2011). I’ve been broadening my scope, though. Wandering out of my [...]

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    January 1 is Public Domain Day!


    [The following piece is a modified repost from 2013] Every year, on the first of January, copyrights on certain older creative works expire and the works pass into the public domain. In 2015, for example, a selection of pieces by mythologist Joseph Campbell and artist Edvard Munch will, in some countries, become open for anyone to [...]

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    These Spider Fangs Aren’t Going To Photograph Themselves

    Atrax robustus

    Here is a photograph of a Sydney funnel-web spider, Atrax robustus: I won’t explain the biology of this delightful animal here – you may read about it at Wikipedia in greater arachnological detail. Instead, I want to show the process by which I arrived at this composition. Most photographs involve some combination of creativity and constraint, and [...]

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