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“Fly Girl” (Crane Fly, Female) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/10, 1/125s, ISO 640

Fooled you! It only looks like a giant mosquito! 🙂

Turns out it is a female Crane Fly – totally harmless. They don’t even bite! (And, coming off my recent yellow-jacket-sting-to-the-palm, trust me, that is very good thing!)

I came upon her while trying to fish a live frog out of the pool (I wasn’t successful as the wily amphibian kept diving to the depths to elude my net) and came eye-to-eye with the largest fly I’d ever seen.

Truth be told, at the time I had no idea what mystery beast was staring back at me. No matter. As far as I’m concerned, ‘Shoot first, research later’ is a fine motto to photograph by.

I just thought it was just so darn cool. I mean, seriously, just look at those fabulous iridescent wings!

“She’s so Fly” (Crane Fly, Female) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/10, 1/80s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Flash, -0.7EV

I guess someone has to give all those pretty butterflies and moths a run for their money! 🙂


  1. these are gorgeous!! wow! I’m impressed! I’m a newbie, so I hope you can give me some suggestions on how to take great photo like these!

    • My, thank you umepinkie! I guess you like insects, too! I try to find the beauty in many things. My best images are those I happen upon through the course of my day. Having a good macro lens doesn’t hurt either! 🙂

      Thanks for stopping by! I hope you come back soon!

      • yes. I will definitely come back, you do have gorgeous photos. 🙂

  2. Love the composition of the 2nd pic.

    • Thank you, Derrick! Yeah, that is the pic I was going for (and also my favorite of the two – looks like she is ready to spare, no?) but thought the first image would provide some perspective (oh and also tie into my ‘skeeter title…) 😉

  3. Those wings are really are beautiful Tracy. Even though I am bug phobic, I can still appreciate the beauty that *some* of those creepy crawlies posess. 🙂
    Wonderful photography, as always.

    • Thanks so much, Carol! Somehow I knew this large flying insect was ‘friend’ not ‘foe’. Not that I would appreciate her in my house or crawling on me! But, hanging out by the pool and patiently posing for my lens? Yes, that I can do! 🙂

  4. Could’ve fooled me about the harmless part! Nice job though.

  5. some seriously awesome detail and colors here, love the vertical framing to, very nice!!

    • Thanks, Joe! She was actually hanging veritcally off the side of the cantilevered coping that surrounds the pool so the vertical shot made perfect sense! 🙂

  6. These shots are very good Tracy.
    The symmetrical iridescent wings are really fabulous – as you write.
    You must have shot many pictures of her. Do you have any with something to scale the size? The ones we see here in Denmark has body length about 1 inch, but I know they can be much larger.

    • Many thanks, Carsten! It was those WINGS that forced me to go get my camera!

      Yes, many, many shots as the light was changing. Too much sun and the shadows were harsh; not enough and everything went flat.

      Because of where she was located, doing a scale shot wasn’t possible. She was on the vertical portion of the cantilevered concrete coping that overhangs the pool. So I was hanging over looking down at her, all the while trying NOT to fall into the pool! 🙂

      She was BIG. I’d estimate 2 1/2 – 3 in wing span.

  7. The second one is amazing!!!
    I didn’t think it was a mosquito, when I first saw it… it doesn’t have a stinger!
    I HATE those little blood suckers!! We were stopped at the Wisconsin Welcome Center on our vacation, and I got eaten alive! And did you know, that here in TX they get as big as small hummingbirds? 😉

    • Thanks, Michaela! Gotta love those wings! So no foolin’ you! 🙂

      Yeah, the skeets have been BRUTAL this summer! Yikes! I guess everything IS bigger in TX! If one of those landed on me, I’d run and scream for sure! 🙂

  8. Wow, nice job capturing that amazing iridescence! They remind me of dark opals or mother-of-pearl. Just how big is this buggie?

    • Thank you, Karen!

      I wish I could’ve gotten a scale photo but her location made that impossible. I estimate she had a 2 1/2 – 3 inch wing span – impressive indeed! 🙂

  9. Looks like natures version of the F-15. She is lovely and a little bit frightening at the same time. I guess we owe the frog something for bringing this to our attention. 🙂

    • Thank you, Scott! I agree! It’s really no wonder…I’m sure all our airplane/jet designs are based upon flying creatures in nature!

      Yep, thank you mr/ms froggie! I just wished s/he would let me rescue him/her! The salt water system is not good for frogs and I know all too well how this will ultimately end.

      • I can’t remember if I’ve asked you this before, but why do you have a saltwater pool? I’m just a bit curious; does it require less chlorine than freshwater?

      • When our pool equipment died two years ago and we needed to replace everything (no complaints – the system had lasted 10 years which is amazing), the pool store recommended the BioGuard system. The system is salt based and salt is NaCl (sodium chloride). So, the system essentially breaks down the NaCl to create chlorine. Pretty ingenious!

        And, it is all automated so no more chlorine tablets! No more chlorine smell! No more damage to swimsuits and hair!

        The water is wonderful and tho you can detect the salt, it isn’t like swimming in the ocean. You are more bouyant and the water is very ‘soft’. We’ve been very happy with it.

        FROG UPDATE: This morning, the frog decided s/he would allow me to help and I’ve relocated it to a healthier environment! 🙂

  10. Love these shots (and yes, the wings are magnificent). But she looks especially predatory in the second image – it’s not designed to convince me she’s harmless!

    • Ha! Thanks, JP!

      Yeah, I guess camera angle is deceiving. I wonder what the poor little thing was thinking as I was shooting away. Probably thought she was doomed!

  11. I´m impressed too, by the photo and by the size. I can´t remember any insect of that dimensions here except for the dragonflies. A very clear photo, with fine background colors. I´m a fan of the ‘Shoot first, research later’ way to handle the insect situation. It keeps eventually fear away for the moment, and when there is time to react, the danger is usually over. I´ve noticed that it has a calming effect to study the insect photos carefully and find out how they realy looks, and have to my own surprise more and more interest in them. I still prefer them at photographs, though. 🙂

    • Thanks, Birgitte!

      As I said, I had never seen a fly so large! HAD to be photographed! I’ve been learning so much about the creatures in my landscape. It is quite remarkable! 🙂

  12. Tracy,
    I just bet that in the second photo she’s thinking:”I just HATE it when someone watches whilst I do my morning push-ups!… I hope she’s catching my good side, and mind the behind, I don’t want my butt to look big! OK !?”
    (ps I’m loving the wonderful wings too, but yes you did scare me for a moment, I’m allergic to Mozzies, and the Kiwidutch kiddos too. We all swell up to stupid proportions and itch for days. They make life very miserable for us indeed. SO pleased that this one DIDN’T turn out to be a Mozzie, as it would have scared the jelly beans out of me!)

    • I bet you are right, kiwi, acting just like a girl would! 🙂

      You refer to mosquitos as mozzies? How adorable! I’ve never heard them called that before! So sorry you are allergic! How do you spend ANY time outdoors? I get many bites in the summer! Oh, I know…you probably douse yourselves in insect repellent!

      Trust me, if a mosquito THIS BIG bites ANYONE, I’m sure they’d swell and itch for days!

      Thanks, kiwi! 🙂

  13. Wow, that sure does look pretty awesome… So these have no teeth then… unlike your bees… lol… 😉

  14. Wow, those wings certainly are pretty! Looks like it should be a certain window decoration with those pretty glistening colors! Awesome shots 🙂

    • Thanks much, Heather! Yes, those wings are amazing and I bet, some artist somewhere has also noticed and used them as inspiration for all sorts of things! 🙂

  15. These shots are totally awesome. The wings look like irridescent gems. Simply beautiful.

  16. WHAT an incredible shot that second one of your Crane Fly – WOW!!!! It looks SO dangerous – and beautiful. Funny, before I read the comments above my first impression was exactly like Scott’s: A jet fighter aircraft – a dangerous and beautiful human-made “insect”…..

    • Thank you, Truels! That is wonderful for you to say! 🙂

      Yeah, she’s lookin’ a little mean here but it is all for show. I suppose when you have no stinger and no teeth, you have to intimidate using just your size and stance!

  17. So I guess calling them male mosquitoes is from a totally wrong on both counts myth. Great macros Tracy.

  18. Wow those are impressive shots, well done

  19. What an amazing macro capture, Tracy. Well done.

    • Thanks, Dave. Who knew a humble fly could have such great lines and form? Not too mention color. This is so why I LOVE macro!!! 🙂

  20. Evolution is a funny thing. Wonderful creatures but I wish something could be done about their biting distant cousins.

    Love the head on shot.

    • Thanks, Burst!

      Yeah…if you come up with ‘something’, let me know! 🙂

  21. These are amazing shots! I love the close-ups! And, you’ve captured these so well.

    • Thank you, free4all! Much appreciated!

      Also, thanks for the plug on your blog! You are very kind! 🙂

  22. Wow! Awesome shots. The perspective on the bottom one with the iridescent wings is pretty amazing.

  23. This is awesome!

  24. I never realized the wings were so iridescent. Amazing shot on a creature that I never thought had beauty.

    • Me, neither! This is EXACTLY why I LOVE macro! So much happening on that small scale that we miss every day.

      Thanks for stopping by and commenting! So nice seeing a new face here! 🙂

  25. Great photo!
    Very nice colors…
    Nice work!

    • Thanks! Glad you like it and glad to see a new ‘face’ in the comments! I hope you visit again! 🙂

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