Meet the Beetle

That’s what I was invited to do today. I arrived at LNEC almost 90 minutes before its official opening time but the car park barrier was open so I went in. No sooner did I do so than the heavens opened and I had to take cover. That set the tone for the morning. Photos, run, shelter, photos, run, shelter.

On one of the breaks I was sitting under cover when two park employees joined me. I was checking some images and the man showed interest, leaning over to look. We chatted for a while, such as we could with my limited Cantonese and then the rain stopped. We all went out again and immediately the man called me over. He showed me this little gem:

Sagra femorata

Sagra femorata

And what a beauty Sagra femorata is. According to Insecta Hongkongica it is rare. However many of the rarities in IH are definitely not. I suspect they fall into the category under-recorded. This is a male, evidenced by the 2 hooks on the leg, just visible. Note that he has some nice yellow trimmings to his claws at the end of his tarsus.  One antenna is damaged.  The colour is genuine – no need for Photoshop or Grecian 2000 here. Stunning purple elytra.

I contemplated moving the leaves in the foreground, partially masking the rear right section. I decided not to do so for two reasons. One, I try to keep my images as ‘pure’ as possible and two, he might have flown. I suppose with this shot in the bag I could have tried but why disturb him? He was hidden below another leaf so I am not sure how the AFCD man found him. I struggled to get this angle but I was satisfied. There is always another day.


21 thoughts on “Meet the Beetle

  1. What an amazing shot. I would not have thought a beetle to be so beautiful. You make HK appear like a tropical jungle. Hoe about that little pearl of moisture below his right leg?

    • Thanks Gerard. Well we are technically sub-tropical but we do have some wild places left despite the government’s efforts. The little details are what makes a photo and yes, the droplet is a bonus.

  2. when I see the beauty and detail of such small insects, makes you wonder at the designer. for surely ’tis not just accidental. (not getting into a deep discussion here just pondering to myself !! 😉 ) Great catch Andrew, and I was so glad to meet your beetle. Have a good day xPenx

  3. magnificent beetle and magnificent image. I had no idea the beetles were so colourful. What kind of lens are you using, Andrew, to get these amazing shots? Rod

    • Thanks Rod. My standard set up is my 5D3 with a 180mm F3.5 lens. If needed I add a 1.4x TC. I have a twin flash attached for use if some shadow needs fill flash. Invariably I use a tripod. The lens allows me decent working distance. I have the old non-IS 100mm F2.8 but its hard to get close with this one as many insects are skittish. The biggest challenge is depth of field. Often I need anything down to F22 and rarely less than F8 unless I am stacking shots. Then you need slow shutter speeds and the tripod is critical. If the insect is moving, either itself or through breeze, I will use manual flash but I don’t like it. I prefer mainly natural light.

  4. I thought for a moment that, in my half awake state, that I was going to read about the VW bug. Oh my gosh, I thought, WAKE UP and join the world!

    Moving right along, this little insect is quite pretty, Try as we might, the colors of the beetle would be difficult at best to replicate or maybe that should ber duplicate?

    Great shot, Andrew. I’m so glad that you can provide your followers/ viewers/ readers with your wonderful captures of creatures that we otherwise would never have known.

    Hong Kong is indeed a virtual paradise for photographing a variety of birds and insects.

  5. The variety and beauty of the insect world is truly remarkable and, unfortunately, little appreciated by the people populations in the most part. This is one particularly lovely specimen and your new acquaintance has treated you to something spectacular.

    • Thanks Steve. I always worry that ‘nice-looking’ bugs might also be pest species but I have not heard that this one is. The AFCD chap left it on his veggie patch and didn’t seem to mind it at all.

  6. A fabulous shot, and what amazing colours on the beetle.
    Yoru reply to Just Rod’s question answered my query too. Thank you 🙂

  7. Wow Andrew, these insect photographs (including previous post) are outstanding! You truly are the versatile photographer. The colours of this beetle are absolutely incredible, just proves how far behind we humans are in our attempts to imitate nature. I’m looking forward to scrolling back through your previous posts that I have missed 🙂

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