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. 

An Alternative Angle

The trouble with wildlife photography / photography in general is that it’s very hard to find a new angle on things. A lot has already been done and explored – so you are constantly challenged to look at things differently, to find a different angle, an alternative perspective on subjects.

Most of the time I take photos that I enjoy taking – not being a professional photographer I have the luxury of time and being selfish, photographing what I want and when I want. However, every now and then I force myself to try new things, to think outside the box and try a fresh take on something.

Whilst on a macro photography trip to the grounds of York University I lost patience with an especially lazy but camera shy bee who evaded every opportunity I had to take a close up of him. He was so stunningly beautiful – clear, glossy eyes, a fuzz free yellow and black ‘coat’ and a slow amble which would have been ideal for macro photography. But every time I got close he’d turn and show me his bottom. I tried everything, feigning no interest, hiding behind trees, lying on the floor to try and photograph him from below – but he saw through everything 🙁  After a frustrating hour, inspiration struck and  I realised how I can turn this to my advantage – why not capture the character of the bee as a shy character, as one reluctant to be photographed. That’s when I caught this shot below.

Whilst it is not what I originally set out to capture, I do like it. I think the glimpse of the bee through the thistle provides a rare view of this insect – one I have not seen before. The contrast of the sharpness of the bee’s eyes and fur against the bokeh of the thistle and background serves to possibly provide more of an insightful focus on the subject than if they’d been full frame. I swear you can almost see a smile on the bee’s face too.

A bee hides behind a thistle

Let me know what you think… I welcome feedback on the new approaches I try.

Further macro photography is available in the TarajiBlue photo gallery.

And Here’s Some I Made Earlier…

I have been catching up post processing a backlog of my macro photography shots recently – and here’s a pick of the bunch. I hope you like them…

This image (below) was taken in the garden of a rental cottage in Wales over the summer…well, I say summer, but it rained like mad all weekend. Still – this delighted me somewhat, because it provided a rare opportunity for me to spend time in the garden photographing water droplets on plants like this one.

Looking into the centre of a delicate flower

These  images, below, were taken on summer weekend at The University of York’s Heslington East campus.

The first is a beautiful blue wildflower – this really caught my eye. I loved the vibrancy of the blue colour against a sea of green grasses and flowers.

A Blue Wildflower

It was not only me who really appreciated the beauty and vibrancy of this flower, it was visited by many a bee, wasp and hover fly whilst I was there. Whilst the insects in this shot are not as sharp as I’d like, I have chosen to share this image because I love the contrast of the movement and soft lines of the insects against the striking sharpness and vibrancy of the flower stamen.

Insects visit a blue wildflower

This summer’s meadow really caught my eyes. It was a striking array of wildflowers in every colour imaginable. You can immediately see why the place was literally crawling with insects – it must be a paradise for them.

And finally, we lurked around a small pond for a few hours until it started to pour it down.  We were lucky enough to find these two canoodling damselflies.

Two damselflies mating

More macro photography photos are available in the TarajiBlue macro gallery.


The Jury Is Out On These…

I am really not sure if I like these photos or not…which begs the question as to why I have spent the afternoon sharing them across the worldwide web. But sometimes, you just need feedback 🙂

This first image is VERY different from my usual macro photography style – that’s because I am also trialling a theme of movement. I have called it “Chaos In Wind”. It’s a shot looking down into a selection of grasses and flowers whilst the wind was blowing. I have tried to capture the beauty of the colours and textures, but also the movement… please do let me know what you think. As I say, this is really very different to my usual style.

Looking into a selection of grasses on a windy day

Further images from my movement theme are available on the TarajiBlue website.

This second image was taken in York’s Museum Garden in the UK. I have titled it “A Warm And Fuzzy Feeling” in honor of the textures captured within the image.
It’s a close up of a lovely purple flowerbud. I love its positioning in the feathery texture of the surrounding foliage. It caught my eye whilst I was skulking amoung the flowerbeds on lazy saturday afternoon whilst enjoying  a picnic with Ali and friends.

A close up of a flower bud surrounded by purple feathery foliage

Other images from my macro photography gallery are available on the TarajiBlue website. 

The Little Things In Life



Regular followers of Taraji Blue will know that I have an obsession with macro photography – especially insects. That’s why, on our recent trip to the Kalahari desert, I took time out from spotting big cats and focussed on the little beasties that we were temporarily sharing our living quarters with.

A grasshopper

This wee fella (above) is a grasshopper (I think). He was immobile for three days (apart from a wee twitch when I got too close). He is a real beauty and seemed quite content for me to spend some time photographing him.

I will be honest and say that I have no idea what this wee guy below is. I saw two of them during our stay, one was really rather large – like a fat grasshopper or large dung beetle, and the other identical one was more small beetle sized. He is darn cute and had the most enchanting googly eyes. I suspect he might be some sort of thorn bug?!

An unknown critter from the kalahari desert


A warm welcome home from the local wildlife in the Kalahari Desert

And finally, we were surrounded by these wee guys who lived in the fence outside our cabin. They were very timid, but stunningly beautiful. The longer you spent with them, the more acquainted they became to you, but they repeatedly resisted any close ups.

A wee lizard creeps out of the fence panels to say hello