Wildlife photography often requires a day trip or even several days to find the image that you’ve been searching for. Animals can be unpredictable and skittish, disrupting a photo just before the shutter clicks. It’s also important to learn to capture motion in these situations, especially for flying wildlife. In this case, the millions of fluttering mayfly wings fill the night sky, interrupting the normally tranquil blue hour. The trick is to find a background that complements the wildlife, such as this one, in which the tree silhouettes attempt to frame the chaos ensuing above the camera:
Photographer Imre Potyo captured this stunning image of mayflies swarming around him on the banks of the River Rába in Hungary. To capture the motion and light, he used an in-camera double exposure and a flashlight to light up the wings of the hectic cloud of mayflies.
His camera is a Nikon D90 with a Sigma 17-70mm lens at 17mm. The settings for the double exposure were 1.3 seconds at f/14 for the first and 30 seconds at f/3.2 for the second one.
In order to set the scene for this photo, he had to wait for the specific time of the year when the adult mayflies emerge from the Danube tributary, where they’ve spent most of their lives underwater. They fly in a swarm to thwart predator efforts and rush to find a mate. Where he positioned himself, the mayflies swarmed all around him and his equipment. Prepared for the event, he captured these two exposures and his patience paid off.
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