Photographing a microcosmos

“Microcosmos” was a stunningly beautiful documentary about insects and other small arthropods (animals having an exoskeleton) living in a French field, made by Claude Nuridsany and Marie Perennou in 1996. The documentary was filmed in Aveyron, in the southeastern part of France. This nearly wordless movie changed my life! Before I saw it, I was the typical “oh yuck, an insect” type of person. After I saw it (twice), I realized that insects were beautiful and wonderful and that I could actually love insects. One of the most moving scenes actually featured snails in the act of mating. In the background, a mezzo-soprano is singing a very romantic solo. The combination of the snails and the singer make this a very sensual scene.

The insects’ lives were fascinating and complex.

I do love insects, except for flies and ants in the house and emerald ash borers, which are threatening to destroy all of our beautiful ash trees. Pest insects, however, are the minority in the world of insects. Without insects, we couldn’t live. We need insects to pollinate many of our fruits and vegetables, such as pears and apples. We need insects to act as decomposers, to break down all of that organic matter in the ground so that we can have good compost in which to grow our food. Our lives are made better by honey and silk and shellac, all produced by insects.

Over the past few months, I have been photographing insects and a few other arthropods. Here are a few of the pictures.

Slow-moving insect. Long legs, single set of wings.

This one is very large and had been tasting the apples that had fallen to the ground.

This spider is considered an arachnid and is not an insect (class insecta). It is a garden spider, which is a type of orb weaver. 

Busy bee, buzzing around the flowers.

Bee in Buckhorn Island State Park, Grand Island, New York.

3 thoughts on “Photographing a microcosmos”

  1. I am very familiar with macro-photography. My husband and I have taken tons of underwater photos of small sea slugs, tiny shrimp, and small plants. I have not heard of microcosmos but your description makes me want to see it!! A movie that could make me like insects? I'm in!!! Thank you so much for sharing.

  2. You're welcome. What kind of camera would you use to take an underwater photo of all of those small critters? I'd love to do that, too!

  3. My husband has a Nikon 35 mm dlr. We have an underwater housing for it. Once I get home (I'm traveling for business) I'll see if I can scan in a photo or two to share with you.

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