A nature photographer captured this remarkable macro shot of four hoverflies in perfect mid-air alignment.
The photo looks almost like something out of an entomology textbook, as each of the four flies is facing a different direction, giving the viewer a nearly 360-degree look at the body of the species.
A one-in-a million macro photo
Photographer Jamie Thorpe took the photograph in Bungay (Suffolk, UK) after noticing the hover flies. They were engaged in a lek mating ritual in which males of an animal species gather to perform courtship displays at the same time and females survey the prospective partners to choose which one they wish to mate with.
After Thorpe had overexposed his photos, he paused to change the settings of his camera. Two other males joined Thorpe to create a dance column. Thorpe managed to get a shot of the two men standing vertically above the flowers as they danced.
“It really is a one in a million shot and I am really chuffed,” the photographer says. “I was photographing other insects and noticed them out of the corner of my eye.”
The Role of Luck in Nature Photography
For the 46-year-old Thorpe, a hobbyist photographer who works full-time as a painter and plasterer, this shot is a perfect example of how luck can play a big role in nature and wildlife photography — so much of what goes on in front of a camera is outside a photographer’s control.
” This isn’t the kind of photo you can plan but they managed enough to remain still for me to take the picture.” he said. Macro photography is my favorite because you can see the details and colors in macros that are hard to see.
Although it may appear like some digital manipulation, this photo was taken at just the right moment and place. Many people mistakenly believe that the photo was one I created, when in fact it was just a single shot.
There are over 280 hover fly species in the United Kingdom, and they are often confused for bees or wasps due to the similarities in their yellow and black patterns. They are typically found between March and November each year, living out their lifespan that averages just twelve days.
Image credits: Photograph by Jamie Thorpe / Animal News Agency