If you're into macro photography of insects, you'll want to check out the amazing photos that won awards, or were accepted into the international Insect Salon competition, affiliated with the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Peoria Camera Club, Illinois.
University of Illinois entomologist and ESA Insect Salon chair James Appleby announced at the ESA's 59th annual meeting, held Nov. 13-16 in Reno, that the Insect Salon drew 200 submissions from 27 countries.
It's good to see so many photographers focusing on insects! Go, bugs! To see some of their spectacular work, check out the exhibition results.
Judges look at such criteria as composition, visual impact of the image (or what I call the "wow!" factor), lighting, subject matter, sharpness, depth of field, and difficulty of image acquisition (how difficult was it to make this image?).
Drum roll...The medal for best of show went to Josef Sauter of Germany for his excellent image of butterflies. The medal for most unusual went to Roy Rimmer of England for his "Great Diving Beetle Larva with Prey." Other top winners: medal for best story telling, Tsai Mengshin of Taiwan for his incubation image; medal for best image by an ESA member, Stephen Doggett of Australia for "Friends for Lunch" (hapless bee nailed by a spider); medal for best image by a Peoria Camera Club member, Mark Doublin of Illinois, for his assassin bug; and medal for the best image by an non-ESA member, Marc Anagnostidis of France for his image of butterflies.
Just to be accepted into the show is quite an honor. However, it's not about winning or losing. It's about sharing. It's not about the camera equipment being used. It's mostly about the incredible insects, and a photographer's skill, patience and keen eye.
Interestingly enough, when folks admire the work of photographers, the first question they often ask is: "What kind of camera do you have?" Sometimes the question is asked as if the camera itself is totally responsible for the image. It's like asking a gourmet cook "What kind of pots and pans do you use?" Or asking an Olympic athlete "What kind of shoes do you wear?" Or asking an nationally renowned artist "What kind of brushes do you use?"
Bottom line: scores of factors are involved in capturing images of insects.
And yes, the Insect Salon competition is open to all. Enter your best shots next year!
Author - Communications specialist
This flame skimmer was one of the entries accepted into the 2011 Insect Salon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)
This image, of a Western tiger swallowtail, scored 14 of 15 points to be accepted into the Insect Salon. (Photo by Kathy Keatley Garvey)