Lake Erie Mayfly Hatch: Hexagenia limbata

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


Early Sunday morning, I decided to head down to Magee Marsh without taking any of my bird lenses. Instead, I fitted the 200mm f4 Micro onto the Z9 plus some macro flashes and headed out the door by 6am. I was hoping to photograph Hexagenia limbata, the mythical Hex mayfly which emerges in early June from the shoreline areas of Lake Erie. They thrive with abundant numbers when water quality is excellent and clean water standards have helped this species recover. And the birds don’t mind either as many mayflies have kept warblers and kingbirds well fed.

Specific Feedback

I cropped some from the bottom and removed the OOF caudal filaments as I felt they were not contributing much to the image. What do you think?

Technical Details

Z9 200mm f4.0 Micro (1/160 sec, f20, ISO 400, 3 flashes for fill) Levels, Shadow & Highlights, Curve adjustment for contrast, Crop for comp…Jim

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I think you succeeded in this very well, Jim. You managed to get almost the entire insect in the focal zone and the pose is wonderful. The wings and face particularly draw my attention and the forelegs extending upward are really cool, like it’s lifting it’s arms to the heavens. I do see a small dark dot below the wing that looks like a dust bunny or something similar.

Jim: Nice catch and a fine capture. Are these the same Mayfly that drive trout crazy on western rivers? Seems like they keep a lot of critters well fed. :+1: :+1:>=))>

Hi, Jim! I remember the mayflies well, from growing up on Lake Erie. Nice pose here, good plane of focus, nice colors and BG - and a fond memory!

Great sharpness through the main body. I really like the eye color! My only small preference would be for more space below (removing the filaments if you wish if there is a further view of them as they seem to be partially hidden by that stem anyway). To my eye a mayfly should appear really long, because of those filaments, and we can imagine that if the stem is longer at the bottom.

Thank you @Mike_Friel , @SandyR-B , @Bill_Fach ,and @Dennis_Plank. The wind was so strong that the tip of the filaments were quite fuzzy so decided to stick with sharpness throughout the image. I do have other shots that contain the entire set of caudal filaments. @Bill_Fach Hex hatches occur on some of the trout rivers out West too…Jim