Whether you find insects creepy or fascinating, seeing close-up photographs of insects taken with modern camera equipment reveals that they can be quite beautiful.
Lili Loofbourow, a PhD candidate in English, has been learning to take close-ups of insects using a macro lens. She's working with a Canon 6d and a 100mm IS macro lens, but she struggles to get good shots of moving subjects without specialized lighting. "It's much easier to get good macro with dead bugs," she said. If you want to learn macro photography, Loofbourow recommends this YouTube video by Sam Droege of the United States Geological Survey.
We collected 11 of the most stunning insect close-ups we could find. Enjoy!
1. Moth on a flower
Flickr user GuyStreatfeild; used with permission
This moth looks almost cuddly.
2. Fly eyes
This shot shows the multi-faceted eyes of this housefly.
3. The predator
Although spiders are not technically insects, this spider is having an insect for lunch.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user _sjg_; used with permission.
This looks like a woven rug, but it's actually an extreme close-up of a monarch butterfly's wing.
5. June beetle
Photo courtesy of Flickr user NatureGirl78, cc
6. The colorful tiger beetle
Photo courtesy the USGS Flickr page
Don't make this guy mad.
7. Bee pollen
Is this bee the pollinator or the pollinated?
8. The hungry caterpillar
It looks kind of delicious, actually.
9. Black beetle
This guy reminds us of Darth Vader.
10. Praying Mantis
They're beautiful, but we've heard their relationships don't usually end well.
Photo courtesy of Flickr user Nokapixel; used with permission
These ladybugs are having a double date. Or something.