A wasp air-conditioning her nest

This wasp (I assume it’s Polistes dominula) was building her beautiful nest in the fields in Sardegna. I tried to watch the progress of the construction work every morning and she obviously didn’t mind me taking pictures. The background was a mess, but of course “cleaning it up” a little bit was no option, would have been an unacceptable disturbance. Therefore, to minimize the background I used the 180mm macro with 1.4 converter and cropped the final picture to 75% of the original size.
The movement of the wings is a kind of air-conditoning, used to warm up or cool down the temperatur inside.

What artistic feedback would you like if any?

Still, I’m not happy with the upper left part of the background. On the other hand, it tells about the environment so cloning it out doesn’t seem right to me???

Pertinent technical details or techniques:

Canon 5D, 180mm macro + 1.4 conv., f8, ISO 400, 1/350, tripod

Michaela, this is a nice look at the wasp and her nest. I do love the wing movement, and appreciate you sharing the reason for it. I didn’t realize they did that to warm or cool the nest. I’m not terribly bothered by the upper left corner, but I’m wondering if a little vignette would calm down the distraction some, and keep our eyes on the subject. Just a thought. You really got some nice details in the wasp, and the shutter speed was just right for the wing movement. Very impressive image.

Micaela: Terrific capture of the wasp and your SS renders the wing movement perfectly. I played around with the ULC with a slight crop, some CA work and a vignette. Back to you. >=))>

Very nicely done. Learned something about wasps. I like the hint of wings beating. Also the repost keeps the attention on the wasp.

How interesting! I love the blurred wings!

Thank you Bill. I like the vignette and the work you did on the ULC. The colour of wasp nests is something typical for the species. Gray goes with wasps like the Polistes dominula, using living wood, yellow-reddish nests are made by species using old, dead wood (e.g. hornets, …). So I’d like to stay with a touch of grey in this case :slight_smile:

Michaela, great job getting the wasp nicely sharp along with the motion of the wings. Since you’re showing a behavior, the clutter in the background seems natural. To me, “fixing” it is a personal choice. Another possible fix is to duplicate the background, do a significant blur and then use a mask to paint in only the blurred area in the upper left, with careful mask painting you may be able to blur that stem without disturbing the wing motion feature.

Michaela: I much prefer the color in your version. For some reason I got some profiling mix ups when working the image but I didn’t put in the effort to fix the problem since I only noticed it after posting. I think your rendering is much more natural.