Dead bumble bee and wasp & my macro-photography set-up

As summer slowly comes to an end, flowering plants are slowly losing its colourful attractants and producing seeds of various sizes and shapes for future years.  Insects that had fulfilled their roles in life will also perish and become a part of the natural cycle.

On Saturday evening, as I returned home from school, I found this bumble bee on the sidewalk.  I thought it was dead at first, but then I realized it was just very weak.  I brought it home with me and tried to give it some sugary water, but it didn't respond.  After my dinner, I realized it wasn't getting any better, so I decided to put it in the freezer to end its struggle earlier.  Afterwards, I decided to take some photos of it and keep it  with the insects that I have found dead (not in the hands of me).

Common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens)
I think I am getting more comfortable with my macro-photography techniques and set-up, given the limited resources that I have (see below).

Common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens)
Using this wonderful guide of Bumble Bees of Eastern United States (Western US version here), I keyed (starting from page 98) it out to be Common Eastern Bumble Bee (Bombus impatiens).

Common eastern bumble bee (Bombus impatiens)

Getting close on its compound eyes.

And then today, I found a live Blue Mud Wasp (Chalybion californicum) on the school ground but not moving.  Since I didn't have any container with me at that moment, I decided to leave it up to fate and come collect it if it is still there later in the evening.  I found it again on the same spot a few hours later, but now dead.  I brought it home, took some photos, and added it to my insect collection.

This is my macro-photography set-up - Raynox-250 attached to my 70-300 lens, and with the LED ring light in front of it.  I prop the insect on a higher level, e.g., on my bird field guide, and then I do everything inside a white plastic bag (right side of image).  To get fast shutter speed (i.e., 1/180), I use the built-in flash on my Olympus E-620 DSLR, and since the distance between the flash and the image is too great, I use a piece of white paper (top of image) to diffuse the light more evenly inside the white plastic bag.

Blue Mud Wasp (Chalybion californicum)
This was the shot I got of the Blue Mud Wasp (Chalybion californicum).  Not bad, I must say.

Rest in peace.

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