Failed Photography: the Worst of Myrmecos

I have thousands of absolutely awful photographs on my hard drive. I normally delete the screw-ups on camera as soon as they happen, but enough seep through that even after the initial cut they outnumber the good photos by at least 3 to 1. Here are a few of my favorite worst shots.


Thinking that nothing would be cooler than an action shot of a fruit fly in mid-air, I spent an entire evening trying to photograph flies hovering over a rotting banana. This shot is the closest I came to getting anything in focus.


That's a nice finger in the background. It's mine, you know.


Imagine how much fun it is to shoot Australia's most painfully stinging ants, only to discover that one of your arm hairs was in the way for most of the key shots.


I love photos of ants. Most of you love photos of ants. But this shot of a small brown ant on brown dirt doing nothing is hands-down the most boring photograph I've ever taken. The fruit-fly at least had potential as abstract art. This, not so much.


The contorted front legs of this tiger beetle are the giveaway that I've just pulled it half-frozen from the fridge in an effort to slow it down. Yet, I still didn't get the head in focus, so it looks both dead and blurry.


Speaking of that fresh-out-of-the-freezer look....


Dramatic shots of gliding Cephalotes ants only work when you get the ant in the frame. I've got hundreds of these- this one at least has most of the ant in it.


Hmmm... Ants? I think.


I'm not sure which is more pathetic: the fact that I wanted to photograph a dead velvet ant, or the fact that I thought putting it on some sand would make it look alive.

More like this

Thanks, this post is so reassuring!

Thanks for this post. Knowing that we all have these problems is encouraging. The chilled-but-looking-dead effect is so frustrating, especially when the insect flies away at the instant of returning to normalcy.

I actually really like several of these shots. The hair in number three gives the photo a very tactile feel (along with the mandibles and stinger). I also like the mortraits.