Sun, 03/05/2015

During the second week of April, I was lucky to spend one day in the Sierra de Guadarrama, North of Madrid. After some intensive searching, I managed to find one of the most subtly designed Carabus species of Europe: Carabus ghiliani. The beetle is a rather rare and local indicator species of humid old growth forests in the Sierra de Guadarrama. According to the literature it is mainly found in humid Beech (Fagus) forests above 1200 meters. I found this specimen in a mixed forest stand along a small forest stream at an altitude of about 1600 meters. When taking a closer look at the specimen, I was struck by the sheer beauty of its design. With its subtle colour combination of bordeaux and purple, and the tiny yellowish dots on its shield, it is one of the nicest ground beetle species I came across so far.

Under here two images of this delicate creature. One can notice how the tiny depressions on its back turn from yellow into green when looking from aside.

The individual was incredibly cooperative as he even allowed me to do some field stackings.

The first image is a field stack composed of 12 consecutive images. The images were all made with a Sigma 180 mm F2.8 lens at F5.6 and the last image was made at F9 (ISO 200 with a Nikon D3s camera). For the portraits made from aside, I used a white umbrella to dim the light from above. With a reflector screen attached to a small tripod, I focussed the light on the beetles side and front parts.  This technique helps to avoid that the upper parts from the beetle are exposed too strong, when compared to the side parts. I often prefer to use this technique instead of the use of a flash, as the light often looks more natural this way. It were the superb macro-images from a Hungarian friend, Nikola Rahmé, who convinced me to work more often with natural light.

The next image was composed of 24 consecutive images. The pictures were all made with the same gear at F5.6, and the last image at F11.

The Last image, was composed of 32 consecutive images. Again, all the pictures were made at F5.6, and the last image at F11.

If you want to take a closer look at the images on a larger scale, please click here.