Cicada

It was Friday night, around 11pm. I had just returned from the airport after a business trip. It had been a long day. It started around 5:30am that morning, and I was relieved to finally be home as I shambled, zombie-like, up the sidewalk towards my front door. I had taken one step up onto the front stoop, however, when my brain registered something that my eyes had seen just a second ago. That familiar ping! of curiosity had forced its way through the fog of thought that was focused nearly exclusively on "go to bed!".

I took a step back and looked more closely. Attached to the wood of the stoop, just a few inches from the ground, was a cicada, newly emerged from the shell that it wore as a nymph. As if I had gotten a jolt of adrenaline, my mind almost immediately switched from "go to bed!" to "take a picture!".

I excitedly went inside, dumped my travel and work baggage, and began to collect the various pieces of photographic gear that I thought I would need. Do I have a charged camera battery? Which lenses should I use? Tripod? Oh yeah...it is dark outside! How will I get light on my subject? Where is that remote shutter release?

This was a challenging photographic exercise for me. While the cicada patiently sat, letting itself dry on my front stoop, I fumbled through a multitude of attempts at photographing this bug. I tried hand holding the camera at close range, and I tried it on a tripod a couple feet away. I tried it using light from only the ground level accent lights that run along the front of my house, and I tried using a flashlight, propped up on a nearby chunk of mulch (hmmm...maybe I need to invest in an external flash). I thought the flashlight was going to give me my best chance, but then its batteries started fading, and my light slowly dwindled to a pale yellowish glow. For over an hour, I sat...still in my work clothes...in the mulch of my front yard, reveling in the challenge of photographing this bug in the dark of near midnight.

Ultimately, I got something that I liked. I used a 100-400mm lens, on a tripod a few feet back from the bug. Since my flashlight was fading, I used a timed exposure. I feel like I got lucky on the focus...it was dark and the camera had very little light to use for its auto-focus feature. I manually focused the shot, but had to try multiple times...tweaking the focus just a bit after each shot until I felt like I had gotten something satisfactory.

Here is my model, perched on its old skin.

Cicada

2 comments:

HANNIBAL said...

The entire photograph looks perfect to me...Well worth your effort! The green wing really makes the photo pop! Your photography is as always...GREAT!

McFlappyPooper said...

Ceiling Cicada is watching...
http://www.scoop.it/t/bananas-by-reese-fowler