With leaf darkened a bit -
On my way back from sitting on the dock, I stopped to look at some Indian pipe coming up on the side of the yard. That’s when I noticed this beetle having breakfast. It’s only the 3rd time I’ve photographed one, and the only time I’ve caught one eating. They have the most amazing blue metallic coloring.
Meloe americanus is a type of blister beetle and while they can fly, they don’t do it often. Mostly they walk and feed on the ground - this one is in my backyard and is about 2 cm long - the smallest one I’ve seen so far. It was happily eating what I think is a raspberry leaf. Seems like it’s a favorite. The tiny speck of orange on its shoulder is the oil they are known for producing (cantharidin is the chemical name). When threatened or handled roughly they make much more and it can burn and make blisters. But they’re quite gentle and peaceable. Females hitch rides on bees back to their nests where they will lay their eggs and feed on the nectar the bees make for their own larvae. Little freeloaders!
Flash too obvious? Not enough DOF?
I had the lens stopped down for some shots, but the background was too much so I opened up and turned the flash down to 1/16th power. It is off camera to the right on the ground. Without the flash it was much too dim to use a high enough shutter speed to freeze the action since it kept eating the whole time!
Camera on beanbag on the ground
Lr for initial processing and a bit of a crop. Upped the shadows and whites, lowered the blacks and highlights. Added some texture and clarity and used masking to darken the background and to up the shadows on the beetle itself. Basically created a subject mask and inverted it. Topaz Sharpen AI to bring up some detail. Photoshop to use color and luminosity masking to tame the greens and the background a little more.