Giant Water Bug

Belostoma sp. water bug, Illinois

I’m so used to taking photos of fast-moving ants and beetles that a sedentary insect comes as something of a relief.  Instead, the challenge with this Belostoma giant water bug was lighting the shot.

Aquariums are prone to reflections and dust on the glass.  I arranged a diffused flash above the tank, positioned behind the glass so as not to leave a reflection by illuminating the camera.

Photo details: Canon 100mm f2.8 macro lens on a Canon EOS 50D

ISO 100, f/8.0, 1/200 sec, diffused overhead flash


  1. #1 Jack Jumper
    November 25, 2009

    IT not Friday Alex you got your day mixed up :)))))

  2. #2 Adrian Thysse
    November 25, 2009

    True bug, not a beetle, so we still have something to look forward to.

    Great shots!

  3. #3 Kai
    November 25, 2009

    Very nice shots! I’d like to see what you could do with a Lethocerus.


  4. #4 Warren
    November 25, 2009

    Fantastic, as usual. I know you know, but it’s still
    nice to hear it. We are never so harsh as when we judge ourselves.

  5. #5 myrmecos
    November 25, 2009

    I dunno for how long, though. I’m running dangerously low on both beetle photos and the time to go out and photograph new ones. At this rate I might have to resort to linking to Ted MacRae every Friday instead…

  6. #6 myrmecos
    November 25, 2009

    Oddly enough, the larger the insect the harder it is for me to photograph it well. The sets start becoming simply enormous- perhaps a whole foot or more across(!)- and that’s a lot of extra prep work compared to the miniature sets needed for tiny subjects. So Belostoma is easier than Lethocerus.

    I do have this shot of a Lethocerus out of water. It’s not doing anything terribly exciting, though. Someday I’ll get one of those dramatic predation shots where it’s eating a toddler. Or something.

  7. #7 myrmecos
    November 25, 2009

    It’s kind of like Friday here, though. We have the long Thanksgiving weekend starting tomorrow.

  8. #8 jason
    November 25, 2009

    Attractive critter. These are very good shots!

  9. #9 Ted C. MacRae
    November 26, 2009


    Did you hand hold the flash heads above the water? Also, you’ve mentioned your tissue diffuser setup doesn’t work with the 100mm, so how did you diffuse the flash?

    I just think these are really awesome shots!

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