Readers’ wildlife photos

I importune, implore, and beseech you to send in your good wildlife photos, as my tank is inexorably running dry.

But today we have some gorgeous photos of wasps taken by Alan Clark from Liverpool. His caption (there’s just the introduction) is indented.

Here are some photos of German Wasps, Vespula germanica. They were photographed from a hide which was constructed by an acquaintance,  using two slave flat units, and attracted by a honey solution. The camera is a Canon 7Dii with a Canon 180mm macro lens. All the images were cropped, sometimes considerably. For the flight shots I took about 1300 images in around 90 minutes, of which most were useless, either out of focus or not fully in the frame.


  1. Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:47 am | Permalink

    Very nice photos! Look like what we (in the USA) would call yellowjackets.

  2. natalielaberlinoise
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 7:58 am | Permalink

    Unbelievable, stunning pictures. Thank you so very much for sharing these!

  3. Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:03 am | Permalink

    Oh, these are gorgeous! I am fairly stunned at this quality. I was going to say I liked the 2nd picture, and then I saw the 3rd, the 4th… it just kept on going 👍

  4. Mark Jones
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:19 am | Permalink

    Really amazing shots, Alan, well done! From what you say you didn’t focus stack, so could you share the settings you used to get these?

    • Alan Clark
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:52 am | Permalink

      They were taken at f16, ISO 400, 1/180sec. I use focus stacking whenever possible, but with moving subjects like these it is impossible.

      • Mark Jones
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

        Thanks! F16, wow, beautifully lit, to get that DOF.

        • Alan Clark
          Posted September 19, 2020 at 4:32 am | Permalink

          The DOF is due to the relatively low magnification. The images are considerably cropped.

  5. Janet
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:27 am | Permalink

    Thank you for these, Alan, they are uniqe and mesmerizing. The abstract shapes, high contrast, lovely colors – like paintings.

  6. Terry Sheldon
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    Fascinating! Thank you for taking the time and effort to share!

  7. Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:40 am | Permalink

    I love the trio, and later the quintet, all huddled close together to drink, and how the surface tension causes such smooth curving of the surface of the water up to their mouths. Beautiful.

    “He floats like a butterfly and stings like a bee; he’s got a black belt…no he’s got seven black belts…okay, he’s a wasp.” -Milton Jones

    [Aside to PCC(E): Have you tried exhorting people to send in photos? I find that’s often useful.]

  8. ThyroidPlanet
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 8:55 am | Permalink

    Beautifully terrifying!

    Technically amazing!

  9. DTaylor
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 9:01 am | Permalink

    So beautiful–especially the pictures with reflections! Nice to have a different kind of encounter with a wasp!

  10. Posted September 18, 2020 at 11:06 am | Permalink

    Lovely insects. It pains me to zap them around my picnic table.

  11. Keith
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 11:27 am | Permalink

    Such beautiful photos! Thank you for sharing.

  12. horrabin
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 11:31 am | Permalink

    It’s refreshing to see beautiful pictures of wasps and the comments aren’t full of the usual tiresome exclamations of “kill it with fire” or “nuke it from orbit”.

    • Don Mackay
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 5:07 pm | Permalink

      Alas, in beech forests of New Zealand this wasp (not endemic to NZ) has discovered a source of food that enables huge populations to grow within a season. The food is ‘honey dew’, a fluid secreted through the bodies of an insect feeding from the phloem of the Black Beech. Excess of this fluid accumulates in droplets on the ‘tail’ of this insect where the wasp eats it. In high summer the trees are covered in foraging wasps. The honey dew is also the food for many of the native animals of the beech forests, including birds, small reptiles and other insects. A wasp killing (poison) program has enabled some forests protection from the wasps but it has to be an annual event. Without this drastic control measure the ancient forest communities would be destroyed.

  13. cruzrad
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 11:37 am | Permalink

    Very cool!

  14. Posted September 18, 2020 at 1:13 pm | Permalink

    These are aesthetcially and technically stunning!

    If you are cropping the flight shots a lot and are missing focus on many of them, you might try a Panasonic G9 or similar camera with 180 frames per second video. With all frames available for export, you are bound to get some in focus shots every time a wasp crosses the plane of focus. I used ths technique for hummingbirds here:

    • Posted September 18, 2020 at 1:15 pm | Permalink

      Alan, are you on the forum? If not, you would find it interesting, and members of the forum would find your work interesting too.

      • Alan Clark
        Posted September 18, 2020 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

        I presume you mean I am not a member but it looks interesting, I will take a closer look.

    • Alan Clark
      Posted September 18, 2020 at 1:45 pm | Permalink

      The photos were taken by flash, which is impossible at 180fps! And with available light the exposure would be too long to freeze the wings, so i don’t think your method would give equally good results.

  15. Mark R.
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 1:17 pm | Permalink

    I’m buzzing with delight. Thanks for these perfect pics.

  16. Charles A Sawicki
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 3:28 pm | Permalink

    Beautiful shots!

  17. rickflick
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 4:04 pm | Permalink

    Great shots. The yellow and black banding is well entrenched in my mind as something to avoid. The sight of them with some buzzing sounds around my head is enough to make me move faster than my physical condition should permit.

  18. Diana MacPherson
    Posted September 18, 2020 at 4:41 pm | Permalink

    Gorgeous. They actually have cute faces even though I’m sure they want to look mean given their “stay away’ colours.

  19. Posted September 18, 2020 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

    Your work is amazing, Alan, and I hope you send more.

  20. Posted September 19, 2020 at 1:52 am | Permalink

    So three wasps fly into a bar, right? …..
    The insect ones are always my favorites.
    D.A., NYC

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