If you enjoy taking images of insects and spiders, enter the 65th international Insect Salon competition. The deadline is Oct. 28.
The contest, open to photographers throughout the world, is sponsored by the Peoria Camera Club, Illinois, in conjunction with the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Photographic Society of America.
Coordinator Joe Virbickis of the Peoria Camera Club said the images are restricted to insects, spiders, and related arthropods (such as barnacles, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, centipedes, and millipedes.)
You don't have to be an ESA or a PCC member to enter. You can enter four images for a total cost of $10. Entries are restricted to insects, spiders, and related arthropods (such as barnacles, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, centipedes, and millipedes)
Best of Show (PSA Gold Medal)
Peoria Camera Club (PCC) Medals: Most Unusual Image; Best Story Telling Image; Best Image by an ESA Member; Best Image by a Non-ESA Member; Best Image by Peoria Camera Club Member.
2022 Best of Show. The Best of Show medal went to Kenneth Gillies of West Lothian, Scotland, United Kingdom, for his “Peppermint Shrimps Inside a Sponge.”
Gillies was joined by the five other top winners:
- Medal for Most Unusual Image: Weihua Ma of Guangzhou City, Guangdong Province, China, for “Pretending to be a Branch.”
- Medal for Best Storytelling Image: Dre Van Mensel of Tielen, Antwerpen, Belgium, for “It's Mine.”
- Medal for Best Image by a ESA member: Kathy Keatley Garvey (yours truly) of UC Davis/Vacaville, Calif., for “Checking You Out.” of a golden dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria.
- Medal for Best Image by a non-ESA member, Tim Sanders of Bideford, Devon, England, for “At Work.”
- Medal for Best Peoria Camera Club member: Ladean Spring of Creve Coeur, lll., for “Hummingbird Moth.”
See the 2022 winning entries at https://insectsalon.peoriacameraclub.com/results/2022/Html/sect_1.htm
The theme for Entomology 2023 is “Insects and Influence: Advancing Entomology's Impact on People and Policy.” The 7000-member ESA, founded in 1889 and located in Annapolis, Md., is the world's largest entomological organization. It is affiliated with educational institutions, health agencies, private industry and government. Members are researchers, teachers, extension service personnel, administrators, marketing representatives, research technicians, consultants, students, pest management professionals, and hobbyists.
This is the story of how two native bees from Vacaville, Calif., traveled 1872 miles to Oklahoma City.
But a photo I took in Vacaville of two Melissodes agilis bees zipping over a Mexican sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola, happened to win a top prize at the 63rd North Central Insect Photographic Salon, co-sponsored by the North Central Branch of the Entomological Society of America (ESA) and the Photographic Society of America.
Judges scored it "Best Image by an ESA Member." All 7000 ESA members are invited to contribute, as are non-members. I wasn't planning to enter--this was my first time--but Insect Salon coordinator/ESA member Tom Myers posted a note on Facebook seeking images to be showcased at the 2023 Joint North Central and Southwestern Branch meeting in Oklahoma City. The theme: "Branch Cross-Pollination: Seeking Hybrid Vigor in Science through Communication, Collaboration, and Societal Impact."
The North Central Branch covers Colorado, Illinois, Indiana, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Michigan, Minnesota, Missouri, Nebraska, North Dakota, Ohio, South Dakota, Wisconsin, plus parts of Canada (Manitoba, Nunavut, Ontario) while the Southwestern Branch encompasses New Mexico, Oklahoma and Texas, and all of Mexico, except Baja California, Baja California Sur, Sinaloa and Sonora.
To be accepted for display, a photo must score 85 points or more. The image of the male and female bees, which I titled "Catch Me If You Can," scored 94 points, and two other Garvey images, one of a golden dung fly (Scathophaga stercoraria), "Checking You Out," and the other titled "I Do," of two Gulf Fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae), tallied 92 and 89 points, respectively. "Checking You Out" earlier won "Best Image by an ESA Member" in the 64th annual International Insect Salon competition.
The M. agilis species are fun to photograph, but set your shutter speed high. These bees are the Usain Bolts of the bee world. Catch me if you can!
I captured the image of "Catch Me If You Can" with a Nikon D500, mounted with a 200mm lens. Settings: shutter speed set at 1/8000 of second, f-stop 5, and ISO 800.
For "Checking You Out:" Nikon D500 with a 105mm lens, 1/320 of second, f-stop 9, and ISO 800.
For "I Do": Nikon D500 with a 70-180 lens (110 focal length), 1/640 of a second, f-stop at 10, and ISO of 800.
All were taken in our family's pollinator garden. (No tripod, no flash.) The added benefit of planting a pollinator garden includes capturing images of the residents and visitors.
Me? I'm just a guest in their habitat. I don't poke 'em, prod 'em or pin 'em. I just photograph them. When. They. Let. Me.
That is, you saw a photograph of a Danaus plexippus ovipositing.
The image, by Joe Virbickis of Washington, Ill., won a medal at International Insect Salon, a highly competitive annual event coordinated by the Peoria Camera Club, Illinois and showcased by ESA. Each year photographers worldwide are invited to submit images of insects, spiders, and related arthropods (such as barnacles, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, centipedes and millipedes).
The 2021 Insect Salon drew a total of 256 images from photographers residing in Australia, Austria, Belgium, Canada, China, England, Hong Kong, India, Indonesia, Malaysia, Scotland, Taiwan, United Kingdom and the United Arab Emirates, as well as within the United States.
An image must receive a minimum of 13 points of the maximum 15 points to be accepted into the show, said Virbickis, chair of the Peoria Camera Club's Insect Salon committee. This year the judges accepted a little over 100 entries. The names of the winning photographers and their images are currently posted online.
ESA member Tom Myers, a Board-Certified Entomologist and noted photographer, chaired and emceed the Insect Salon showing at the Denver meeting.
The "Best of Show" medal went to Marcus Kam of Ipoh, state of Perak, Malaysia for "Bugs Love." Kam, an 11-year insect photographer, also won the medal for the "Best Image by a Non-ESA Member" for his "Sharing."
- "Medal, Most Unusual," won by Albertus Nugroho of Jakarta, Indonesia, for "Super Ant In Action."
- "Medal, Best Story Telling," Dre Van Mensel of Tielen, Antwerpen, Belgium for "Fall Over."
- "Medal, Best by ESA Member," Tom Myers of Lexington, Ky for "Syrphid Fly Feeding."
- "Medal, Best by Peoria Camera Club Member," Joe Virbickis of Washington, Ill., for "Monarch Laying Eggs."
The monarch image? Here's the story behind the image.
"The story...I was searching our milkweeds for monarch caterpillars. I did not find any, but to my surprise, I encountered this monarch laying eggs. Fortunately, my movements to raise my camera did not startle her. I was able to focus and shoot a burst of six images before she fluttered off. Unfortunately, I could not find the eggs to gather them. I do not rear monarchs regularly. A couple years ago, I managed to find, harvest and raise four monarchs for release. It was quite exciting."
Virbickis created the image with his Canon 80D, and a 100-400mm Tamron lens, zooming in at about 200mm. "I have learned that monarchs can be skittish as they are sensitive to movement, sounds and shadows and I did not want to make any more movement than necessary."
A past president of the Peoria Camera Club and a repeat Insect Salon winner, Virbickis also won the same medal in 2012 and 2014 and has scored several acceptances over the years. "I have been interested in photography since age 12 and much of my collection is connected to travel (45 states and 7 countries)," Virbickis related. "I enjoy taking all sorts of images but wildlife, landscapes, nature, grandkids, travel and photojournalism are my favorites."
Virbickis worked as a school psychologist and director of special education from 1980 to 2015, and since then, has continued to work post-retirement as a part-time school psychologist. He has entered photographic competitions "within our local club, within our regional camera club association, in regional art fairs and some national/international contests (like the National Insect Salon). Over the years I've had a good deal of success in competitions and have sold several prints. I like to print my images, as I believe printing is the logical conclusion of the photographic process. It is very satisfying to hold the physical representation of my works and share that with others. Nothing beats watching someone get immersed in viewing one of my images and appreciate what I have captured. I have a very precious collection of prints of grandkids and the wildlife I have encountered over the years. I try to capture stories in my images and share those stories with others."
Known world-wide for his skills as a photographer and entomologist, Myers has traveled to all seven continents, sometimes under the most extreme circumstances, "to document our world and the people and wildlife in it." His images have appeared in USA Today, The Rachael Ray Show, National Geographic publications and Nature's Best, among others. They are also widespread on the Internet, as well as on calendars and in newspapers, textbooks, TV news broadcasts and scientific guides.
Myers, who has worked in the urban entomology field for several years, owns a pest management company in Lexington, KY. The National Pest Management Association and ESA extensively use his insect images. One recent image appeared on the Spring 2021 cover of American Entomologist. His images have won local, national, and international awards. His credits also include two invitational exhibits in Washington D.C. at the Smithsonian's National Museum of Natural History.
Among the two California entries accepted was one by yours truly, Kathy Keatley Garvey. It depicts two passion butterflies, Gulf Fritillaries (Agraulis vanillae), "keeping busy." Garvey, a communication specialist with the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and a member of ESA, quips that it is "insect wedding photography." An image of two bees, titled "Bee 4066" by Nan Carder of Lancaster, Ca., a retired registered nurse and active in the Photographic Society of America, was the other California entry accepted.
ESA, founded in 1889 and headquartered in Annapolis, Md., is the world's largest organization serving the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and others in related disciplines. Its 7000-members are in educational institutions, health agencies, private industry, and government.
Images by three UC Davis-affiliated photographers will be among those displayed at the international Insect Salon photography competition at the Entomological Society of America's meeting, Nov. 11-14 in Vancouver, B.C.
The insect photographers: Alexander Nguyen, who submitted an image of a syprhid fly--a wasp mimic, Ceriana tridens, ovipositing in the fissures of a tree; Allan Jones, a photo of a female leafcutter bee, Megachile fidelis, carrying a leaf petal back to her nest; and Kathy Keatley Garvey, an image of a pollen-drenched honey bee, Apis mellifera, nectaring on mustard.
The images were among 122 accepted for the Insect Salon from a total of 333 images submitted by 84 photographers from 22 countries (a 37 percent acceptance rate).
Nguyen, who received his bachelor of science degree in entomology from UC Davis, is a biologist for the Solano County Department of Agriculture. He captured the image of the wasp mimic at Spanish Flat on the west bank of Lake Berryessa, Napa County. "After larvae hatch they will feed on sap from the tree," said Nguyen, who maintains a photography website at https://alexandernguyen.smugmug.com. Senior insect biosystematist Martin Hauser of the California Department of Food and Agriculture identified the syrphid.
Jones, who holds bachelor's degrees in English and German and a master's degree in English from UC Davis, is a California Department of Agriculture (CDFA) retiree who now resides in Davis. He captured his winning image of the leafcutter bee in the Häagen-Dazs Honey Bee Haven, a half-acre bee garden, operated by the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology and located on Bee Biology Road, west of the central campus. It shows the bee carrying a Clarkia petal back to her nest.
Kathy Keatley Garvey
Garvey, who holds degrees in communications and journalism from Washington State University, Pullman, is a communications specialist with the Department of Entomology and Nematology. She captured her winning image of the pollen-packing honey bee in a Vacaville (Calif.) mustard patch. In her leisure time, Garvey writes a Bug Squad blog, about insects and entomologists, on the UC Agriculture and Natural Resources website, a blog she has written every night, Monday through Friday, for the past 10 years.
Joseph Virbickis of the Peoria (Ill.) Camera Club, coordinator of Insect Salon, announced the medal winners, which included "best of show" and "best of Entomological Society of America photographers" and "best of Peoira Camera Club photographers":
- Medal, Best of Show: Soon Seng Leong of Malaysia, for his image, "Share Together 084."
- Medal, Best of ESA Members: Thomas Myers of Lexington, Ky., for his "Saddleback Caterpillars"
- Medal, Best by Peoria Camera Club: Carl Close of Hopewell, Ill., "Hornworm Caterpillar"
- Medal, Best Storytelling: Say Boon Foo of Malyasia, for "Ant 3"
- Medal, Most Unusual, Jenni Horsnell of Australia for "Wolf Spider with Young"
The winning entries will be displayed both on the Peoria Camera Club website and on screens at the annual meeting of ESA, a global organization of some 7000 members that serves the professional and scientific needs of entomologists and individuals in related disciplines. This year's theme is "Sharing Insect Science Globally."
All photographers are invited to submit up to four entries in the annual Insect Salon competition, Virbickis said. This is a Photographic Society of America-sanctioned nature competition.
If you're addicted to insects or insect photography, you'll want to see the international award-winning images on the Insect Salon website. Each year the Peoria (Ill.) Camera Club hosts the contest in conjunction with the Entomological Society of America (ESA).
The subjects are primarily insects but can also include spiders and related arthropods, such as barnacles, crabs, lobsters, shrimp, centipedes and millipedes. For your work to be accepted in the Insect Salon showcase, it must score at least 12 points. Those who score 15 are selected medalists.
The ESA, a professional insect-science organization of some 7000 members, showcases these images at its annual conferences. This year's conference, set Nov. 5-8 in Denver, Colo., is appropriately themed "Ignite. Inspire. Innovate."
The winning photographers this year represent 16 countries: Argentina, Australia, Belgium, Brazil, Canada, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, Malayasia, Slovenia, South Africa, Taiwan, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom and the United States. Some images are from ESA members, and some are from alumni of the BugShot Macro Photography Workshops.
Malaysia-based photographers anchored the winners' circle:
- The best-of-show medal went to Tommy Teh of Malaysia for "Hunger For Food 3"
- The medal for most unusual: Andrews Ruggen of Argentina for "Convivencia"
- The medal for best storytelling: Alek Low of Malaysia for "Craving For Food"
- The medal for best image from a non-ESA member: Kawawa Wong Yik Siang of Malaysia for "Hungry Jumping Spider"
- The medal for best image from an ESA member: Wei Fu of Ontario, Canada for "Bite Tightly"
- The medal for best image from a Peoria Club Camera member: John Weidman of Peoria, Ill. for "Argiope Securing Grasshopper"
You can view them all by accessing the Insect Salon website and then clicking on the image titles. The site includes the name of the photographer, city/country of residence, and the title of the image.
Due to copyright concerns, I'm not posting the winning images, but posting two of mine that were accepted for the 2017 Insect Salon showcase:
- "Faster than a Speeding Bullet" shows a long-horned bee (Melissodes agilis) in flight, speeding over a Mexican sunflower (Tithonia rotundifolia). This image received one of the 19 honorable mentions. (Image taken with a Nikon D500 camera with a 70-180mm lens. Settings: ISO 2500, f-stop 16, and shutter speed of 1/1000 of a second)
- "Under Attack!" shows a long-horned bee (Melissodes agilis) targeting a Red Admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta), also on Tithonia. (Image taken with a Nikon D500 with a 70-180mm lens. Settings: ISO 2000, f-stop 7, and shutter speed of 1/3200 of a second.)
These might inspire you to enter the 2018 Insect Salon competition.
It's a Macro World out there!