Friday, May 16, 2014

One Small Square

Continuing my mini-series about insect photography this week, I've decided to talk a little bit about biodiversity. Last week, I wrote about the importance of developing a theme or a purpose for your work. Well, one of my personal themes is to showcase the local biodiversity available within easy reach - right in your backyard, if you will.
Wheel Bug Nymph (as far as I can tell - correct me if you have a better idea!)
This is part of the beauty of insects - they are weird and wonderful, and a lot easier to access than classic "great" subjects of animal photography (eg, lions, elephants, etc). If you haven't spent some time looking at our six-legged neighbors, well, you're missing out. Insects are the most successful group of animals in existence. In fact, there are more species of beetle alone than of any other animal.
Ironically, I don't have any beetles in this post. Whoops.

Why are Insects Important?

Insects are an important group of animals for many reasons. Firstly, they form the base of the food pyramid, supporting small mammals, birds, and reptiles. These smaller vertebrates (insects, as you may recall, are invertebrates) can then support larger predator animals, which, eventually, support us.
Additionally, insects directly support the human population by pollinating most of the fruits and vegetables we enjoy. This is why colony collapse disorder, in honey bees, is such an important issue. If the honey bee disappears completely, the negative impact on our food supply would be catastrophic.

Ok, so I screwed up here also, and didn't manage to include any honey bee images. How about a carpenter bee?

What does this have to do with photography?

As photographers, we have the choice to use our skills to bring awareness to different issues, whether they be social, political, or environmental. Don't be defeatist and think that no one wants to hear your opinion - with photography and other visual arts, you can show people your opinion, and force them to think about current issues. I believe that this is the best use of nature photography, to inspire people toward greater environmental stewardship and engagement.

So what's with the title?

Well, now it's time for you to try a little experiment for yourself (did you try the challenge in last week's post?). You will need a notebook, a macro lens if you have one, your smart phone, or some other device capable of recording what you see. Pick an area of ground - it can be a flower patch, a tree, a stream - and sit. I hope it's a nice day outside where you are! Watch what comes by - fish, mammals, insects - and record them. When's the last time you did something like this? How many species did you find? This is a measure of your local biodiversity, and a reminder that, without your help, it may vanish, forever.

Great Purple Hairstreak
So, what's your passion? Whatever it is, remember that there are many ways you can help forward progressive causes in today's "information age." Don't be silent.

Interested in insects? See my insect photography tips.

Want to see more tips? Check back every Friday for a new post. Click here to follow me on Tumblr and here to follow me on Bloglovin! Don't forget you can also use the nifty sidebar to subscribe via email or RSS feed

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