In preparation for one of our training courses on bugs, Linda De Santiz, a keen project volunteer and Conigre Mead warden, has written about photographing these interesting insects. February 2022.

My love of bug photography started in the first Covid-19 lockdown.  I was working from home, but able to start and finish early. I had often walked through the nature reserve taking photographs, but it was a glorious spring day in May when I took my first dragonfly photograph, and I was hooked. I went every day to the reserve after that and was over the moon to identify & photograph many different species of dragonfly and damselfly.

One day I bumped into Gill Cardy, a warden at Conigre Mead, and she asked if I had seen all the dock bugs near the river – I hadn’t and had no idea what they were. Gill took me to the area, and I was surprised I had never seen these, but realised I hadn’t actually been looking!

I took photographs myself and then spent time researching the dock bugs and others in the order Hemiptera. My walks now are less energetic as I now look, and my eyes have got attuned to spotting the much smaller creatures. That year I had bought myself a new camera – Sony RX10 III, although brilliant for a lot of photographs, I found I was using the macro facility on my phone to take the bugs. That year I was very happy to have found so many different true bugs, beetles, butterflies, moths, hoverflies etc.

But it was 2021 that I really got into my stride. After deliberation about camera or lens for taking the smaller creatures, I settled on an Olympus Tough TG6, perfect with the microscopic lens setting.

In May last year, I spotted my first Eurydema oleracea (Crucifer Shieldbug) and these tiny bugs running around on the garlic mustard & nettle leaves fascinated me. They are part of the Pentatomidae family and also known as cabbage bugs or brassica bugs. They are challenging to photograph as they never stay still even whilst mating.

Photo of shield bugs matingPhoto of a shield bug

I am now on the Conigre Mead Nature Reserve Committee as a Wildlife Recorder (record via iRecord) and also a joint Warden.

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