An Odd Fascination

Ever since my husband bought me my first macro lens I have had a strange and curious fascination with photographing flies. I think they are a subject often overlooked, but one that can be so fascinating.

They are so commonplace that they are easy subject to spend time with – the trick is to get them in the right setting to give them a beauty that people otherwise don’t see. I love the iridescence of their wings, their holographic eyes and the fine hairs on their face.

This first shot, below, is by far my favourite and it was the one that sparked my fascination with this subject. I found a dead fly on our window one hot summer day and, opposed to discard it, I thought it’d be a great opportunity to get to grips with my new macro lens on an inanimate object. I took the opportunity to grab a blue glass brick and some petals falling from my nearby vase and set about creating a set where I could test different lights, angles and settings for the fly. I had to carefully use a pair of tweezers to move the fly, and I used a combination of LED torchlight and natural daylight to front and back light the shot.  This is how I captured the shot below.

A housefly on a petal

Over time, and as I have become more confident with my macro lens and newly acquired macro extension tubes, I have moved onto photographing flies in their natural habitat. But I still take care to ensure that I capture them on a variety of backgrounds to display them in different styles and highlight different elements of their beauty.

This photo below was taken in our local museum gardens. I saw the fly purposefully striding across the leaf and realized how ridiculous this looked for an insect so mobile and able to fly. I took the opportunity to capture the moment on film. I love how determined his stride is… as if he has made a conscious decision to abandon flying for a nice Sunday afternoon stroll in the park.

A fly walks across a leaf

As this particular fly was being so accommodating I took the opportunity to capture an image of him from an alternate angle – from above. I love the detail this new angle gave me…you can see how large the fly is, and see the finer detail in his eyes, on his back and on his beautiful wings.  You certainly don’t see this level of detail when swatting them away from your beer on a warm summer’s afternoon in the garden!

A close up of a fly from above

Another angle on a similar fly provided the opportunity to capture the colours of the insect captured against the texture of the leaf whilst it fed…

A fly on a leaf - close up

The next image (below) was taken more recently in the grounds of The University of York. The sharpness of the fly’s wings against the soft dandelion really caught my eye so I swooped in with my Canon EF100mm lens to capture this image. I like the softness of the background against the ugly beauty of the fly. I would hesitate to say that he is a stunner… but there is something about him that I find strangely attractive. Do I need help?!

A close up of a fly on a dandelion

More macro photography is available in the TarajiBlue photo gallery. 

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