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Thread: Mason Wasp from last summer.

  1. #1
    Ollokot's Avatar
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    Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Caught this wasp last june putting the finishing touches to her nest.

    Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Best Wishes,Pat

  2. #2
    rob marshall

    Re: Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollokot View Post
    Caught this wasp last june putting the finishing touches to her nest.

    Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Best Wishes,Pat
    Good shot with nice depth of field. Do you have a flash-gun? I think you might get even better results with a flash unit with a cheap diffuser fitted. Your shutter speed was 1/30s which is a bit too slow for this sort of thing. Flash would push that up quite a bit.

  3. #3
    Ollokot's Avatar
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    Re: Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Hi Rob,
    I just recently got a 580EX II and am trying to learn how to use it. The shot was taken with an 18-55mm kit lens,and now I am the proud owner of a 100mm 2.8 L Macro however I'm finding it difficult to use properly back to tutorials and practice,
    Thanking you for your comments,
    Best Wishes, Pat

  4. #4
    rob marshall

    Re: Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Quote Originally Posted by Ollokot View Post
    Hi Rob,
    I just recently got a 580EX II and am trying to learn how to use it. The shot was taken with an 18-55mm kit lens,and now I am the proud owner of a 100mm 2.8 L Macro however I'm finding it difficult to use properly back to tutorials and practice,
    Thanking you for your comments,
    Best Wishes, Pat
    Good flash! Have a look at Brian Valentine's tutorials on Flickr. He gets amazing macro results from a home-made diffuser. Or, you can buy fairly cheap ones on-line. http://www.flickr.com/groups/macrovi...7594312315664/

    Most of his shots are done with a simple flash-gun and diffuser. I'm always in awe of his work http://www.flickr.com/photos/lordv/

  5. #5

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    Re: Mason Wasp from last summer.

    A good photo of a wasp in an interesting situation. Pat.

    I'm not totally sure of the identification from that angle and a lot of these Digger/Mason/Potter wasps are very similar unless you get a clear view of the wings. My first thoughts were species which don't occur in Ireland, but if that specimen is in the process of creating a distinctive 'chimney' around the burrow entrance I would be rather tempted to suggest Odynerus spinipes.

    I have previously managed a few photos of them building the 'chimneys' but even with my 180 mm macro lens I struggled to get many close ups.

    With regard to using flash. I started 'flashing' a lot of insects last year; with that same flash unit. I found the best strategy was to ensure a suitable shutter speed (say 1/180-250 sec with an aperture around F14 then adjust the ISO to suit. Often, I could get the ISO as low as 100 or 200 which gave a much 'cleaner' background.

    The trick of these shots, I found, was to adjust the flash output compensation to suit the conditions. Usually -1 or a little less worked well but a few experimental shots are required beforehand, and be prepared to keep adjusting the compensation as circumstances change.

    A fully manual flash setting can work if you encounter problems but it does take quite a few test shots to get it correct. I have even managed to successfully shoot with the camera pop up flash, using the Tv setting, but with the 180 lens I had to remove the lens hood.

    ps. That diffuser bodge up may work fine for shooting in a studio or careful garden use but I don't think it would stand up to the sort of conditions where I do most of my insect work; in dense woodland/hedgerows/cliff tops with plenty of brambles, gorse, etc. And using negative flash compensation more or less achieves the same result.

    Another alternative would be a proper macro flash unit. Personally though, I didn't think that piece of kit would be strong enough for me either; and I want to look inconspicuous, the last thing I want to do is to stick a large pair of 'eyes' on the end of my lens when approaching a nervous insect.
    Last edited by Geoff F; 9th March 2011 at 07:40 PM.

  6. #6
    Ollokot's Avatar
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    Re: Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Hi Geoff,
    I must thank you for your very informative and tip filled reply.
    I believe the species of wasp is Ancistrocerus antilope, here is a shot of her putting a caterpillar in the nest and also one of the nest before she closed it,I don't think this wasp uses the "chimney"design.
    Best Wishes,Pat

    Mason Wasp from last summer.

    Mason Wasp from last summer.

  7. #7

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    Re: Mason Wasp from last summer.

    That is certainly a good shot of her with the caterpillar, Pat.

    I'm not sure about Ireland but Ancistrocerus antilope is considered rare in the UK. I do have the ID Keys but they don't really work with a photo. All I can offer is that 'the sides of the propodeum should be smooth and shiny' but I don't think that really helps very much.

    But the lack of any yellow on the scuttellum and the first yellow abdomen band being intact and without any black notches does narrow down the possibilities.

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