Chrysididae sp

Not quite as good as my first photo of a cuckoo wasp, but I kind of like it. Mostly because I got her side on, not because the focus or the stack is anything like perfect. Still, these little beauties are irresistible.

While sitting on the deck I noticed this one kept returning to the same corner of the house, but every time I approached she flew off. Then she didn’t, but she did keep vibrating or trembling slightly so there was some movement between each of the 3 images I used in the stack. She waved her antennae especially vigorously. Not sure if she was trying to locate a nest to lay her eggs in (which is what they do - cannibalize other insect nests, mostly bees) or what.

The colors are absolutely real. They look bejeweled and like a secret-spy robot from the future. Ones that blend in with surroundings and go unnoticed. She is about 2cm long and so the lens was practically touching her when I shot.

Specific Feedback Requested

Ok, so the stack isn’t perfect. Does it still work? Hold interest? Did I push the white hi-key look too far or not far enough?

Technical Details

Handheld with hand resting on the side of the house.


Lr for 90 degree rotation, but no crop. She was sitting vertically on the corner of the house. Exposure increase by a bit and the usual S-curve for contrast. Some texture, clarity & sharpening then into Zerene for a stack of 3. Tricky retouching to get the body to look like one pose from 3 images with movement. Crazy.

Boosted whites quite a bit when the TIF came back to Lightroom (masking out the wasp). Lifted luminosity in blue and green channels. Added some judicious clarity on the parts of the body that needed it.


Wow, gotta love those colors, Kris. Awesome.

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Kris, it sure works for me. The colors are what makes this shot so special. Nice details where needed as well. I too like that you got a side view of her. Very well done. The high key surroundings and BG make her really stand out.

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Wow, Kris! Sure does hold my interest! Hard to understand how you managed to be so close and still get 3 shots off. For me, the colors and high key affect work very well together. The detail in her body is outstanding. Really a great image all around.

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Thanks @David_Bostock, @Shirley_Freeman & @linda_mellor - glad it’s not just a big pile of fail. I think they’re gone for the season, but there’s always next year for another try. They are super skittish though so maybe this is the best I’ll get.

I got a few more than three shots, actually, but only 3 were sharp enough in different places that would align well. She put up with me and with the joystick I got different areas crisp by also using focus peaking to see where I had things sharp. Of course my highlight is blue so it was a little tough to tell with this girl, lol.


What an awesome creature! The stack is bloody well good enough considering that it’s obvious you hadn’t plopped her into a jar of formaldehyde. I love the high key setting!

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Thanks @Diane_Miller - they are so pretty aren’t they? No idea what the males look like. Usually it’s them who get the sparkle.

Hi Kris,

Awesome photo. Colors and details are spot on. Insect closeups look fantastic with high key photography. No nits from me…Jim

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HI. Not much to add really, but this is one amazingly colored bug lady and the high key really makes the blue/green take the center stage. Good shot!

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Thanks @Jim_Zablotny & @Ingemar_Holmkvist - they are tiny, but really noticeable if they’re anywhere near you. That color knocks me out. Luckily she was patient!

Amazing colours and details Kristen. I have a hard time getting my focus stack images with dead leaves. Great job with your rambunctious client.

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I quiet like the bold colors on the stark white background. Really makes them pop! I have no personal experience with macro but I feel the focus looks spot on to me. The beauty of these tiny creatures amaze me!

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Thanks @AndreDonawa & @Jeff_Littleton - she was a fluttery thing for sure, but thankfully she settled a bit. Maybe I’ll get another chance next year. Macro makes up a large part of my photography. The hidden worlds can be surprising.

Oh and hey @Shirley_Freeman - thanks for the EP. :blush:

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