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Stilt-legged Fly

Stilt-legged Fly
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-03-02
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC H9, Digital ISO 400
Exposure: f/3.2, 1/80 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Animals from my garden [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-03-16 9:05
Viewed: 4929
Points: 120
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Stilt-legged Fly / Mimegralla fuelleborni

I was doing my rounds in the garden looking for something to photograph when I saw a swarm of bees enjoying the pollen of flowers on one of the palms. I have never been successful to capture bees. They are just as energetic as butterflies and weavers, which I had great difficulty photographing before. I thought I'd try my luck again, and just maybe get a shot without any movement or disturbance. While trying to get closer my eye caught movement on some of the Bromeliad plants at the bottom of the bed. Needless to say this funny looking insect drew my attention and I left the bees to enjoy their meal.

This guy was a real "happy chappy". It bounced up and down, from one leaf to another, then here and then there. I was trying to look if I could see any other of this type of insects around, but it seemed as if it was on its "lonesome own some". I only then realised that it is actually having a ball of a time. As the bees dropped some of the pollen powder, it fell down on the plant leaves. I think this guy could not decide which piece of pollen he wanted, that being the reason why he jumped all over the place. He was having a feast of a meal.

I tried to take as many shots as possible, but because of the insects hyperactivity most of the photos was out of focus or blurry. Upon inspection of this interesting insect I realised that this one had a missing leg. This missing body part did not seem to bother the insect as it continued without any intervals, and when I left it was still busy at the task at hand.

As a matter of interest I want to mention that all my photos taken are handheld. It is a great relaxation to take the camera and just stroll through the garden. If I have to start taking a tripod, and all the other gadgets, I think I'll start loosing the enjoyment of photography I have at the moment. I do admit that I have had a few lost opportunities this way, but for now this is the way how I like it and take pleasure from.

Kingdom: Animalia (animals)
Phylum: Arthropoda (insects, arachnids, and crustaceans)
Order: Diptera (true flies, mosquitoes, & gnats)
Superfamily: Nerioidea (long bodied flies)
Family: Micropezidae (stilt-legged flies)
Genus: Mimegralla
Species: fuelleborni

Medium-sized (wingspan 20mm) and spindly, with banded striped blue-grey body, very long banded legs and smokey grey wings banded in black. There are 4 species in the eastern subtropical (coastal) parts of South Africa, with slender, elongate bodies and spindly legs, of which the front pair are shorter and placed well forward.

Probably mimic ichneumonid wasps, often gregarius. Larvae probably feed on living or decayed matter (frequently fruits or ginger rhizomes). M. fuelleborni holds the white-tipped fore legs straight out, waving them up and down like antennae.

Cool, shady and humid forests, on leaves in the undergrowth.

Taken from the book: Field Guide to Insects of South Africa - Picker, Griffiths, & Weaving. Published by Struik Publishers.

The Micropezidae are a moderate-sized family of flies in the insect order Diptera, comprising about 500 species in about 50 genera and 5 subfamilies worldwide. They are most diverse in tropical and subtropical habitats, especially in the Neotropical Region.

Insects in this family are commonly called Stilt-legged Flies, after their characteristically long legs. The fore legs are markedly smaller than the other pairs. Mostly they are long-bodied, often black flies, usually with infuscated (darkened) wings. They are also known as Small footed Flies.

Little is known of the larval habits. Larvae of certain Mimegralla species have been found to live in the roots of ginger and other plants, under the bark of dead trees or in other decaying material. Adults are either predaceous on small insects or are attracted to excrement, decaying fruit or dung.

Many species are known for their habit of standing motionless while waving their prominently marked front legs in front of their head, a behaviour that contributes to their mimicry of ants or wasps. These insects are odd little flies, known for their displaying behaviour of walking around and lifting their prominently marked front legs. Abdomen attached to thorax by "wasp-waist". The posture of the forelegs may imitate ant and/or wasp antennae and provide them with some protection from predators. Source

mariki, matatur, eqshannon, Alex99, joey, jaycee, Royaldevon, cicindela, nglen, Jamesp, Silvio2006, rcrick, soccer, uleko, marhowie, Janice, Ena, PaulH, Luis52, Adanac, ramthakur, jusninasirun, boreocypriensis, anel, SkyF, goldyrs, haraprasan, valy67, meyerd, jmp, peter_stoeckl, xTauruSx, angybone, izler, hester, loot, Aaltjie, gannu, maurydv has marked this note useful
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To hester: Thank YouMiss_Piggy 1 03-27 23:51
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Critiques [Translate]

Bonjour Anna
Très belle macro, excellente netteté et couleurs, belle lumière et beau sujet, bravo
Amicalement Robi

Interesting bug doing great with only five legs Anna, your ideal POV made it possible to capture the bug in fine focus in spite of a shallow DOF and the perfect exposure easily increased the detail level nicely. Good job indeed!

You are quite the one to watch closely and then make sure you are right, and go ahead...You have quite the control over the depth of field here Anna...The insect is quite spot on composed...and not as dramatic as to make it overwhelming. Very nice lesson!

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  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-03-16 9:48]

You must have eagle eyes to have spotted this fellow!
You got a great shot of it as well!
Good sharpness and detail.
Superb DOF.
Brilliant colours.
Well done Anna,

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  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-03-16 9:56]

Hi Anna.
I am amazed with your macro picture and with so interesting double note. Shooting story is as interesting as scientific part. I welcome your many attempts to picture this cute insect. It is really the best relaxation.

Shot is superb. Composition and framing are blameless and so impressive. Reproduction of all details of the fly and leaf are ultimate. I like superb natural lighting, rich pleasant colours of all objects, great DOF and nice blurriness of the BG. Bravo. Perfectly done.

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2008-03-16 10:12]

Hi Anna,

You come up with the most interesting pictures and notes! A great capture of this insect with wonderful details, colors, and textures. I can see how he got his name with those stilt-like legs. Shows up wonderfully on the leaf. Good eye to spot this one.


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  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2008-03-16 10:15]

Hello Anna,
an attractive picture of this colourful
"Five-legged Fly" ... and still happy.
Colours are nicely reproduced.
Sharpness could be a bit better.
Best wishes, Peter

Hello Anna,

Very interesting notes, and they have answered my first observation about a five-legged fly!

Great macro with lovely details of his striped legs and blue body.

Kind regards,
Bev :-)

Hello Anna!
What a cute and interesting fly species! And so small too!
As I mentioned last time, I like a lot to see uncommon and uncommertial insect pictures, and this one is a great example of such photo!
Except of its size and shape I would like to add to my favourite "elements" of this species - its colouration! Blue colour is rather rare in insects (maybe except some Morpho butterflies), and really rare in flies!
And technique? Really good DOF and details, maybe only some noises would be reduced a little :)
All the best from Poland!

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  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-03-16 12:40]

Hi Anna. You are like your good husband a very good note writer and interesting too.
You have captured a fine close up of the unusual lookin fly. fine detail and colours.you have used the light well to give a shine to its body . well done TFS.

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  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2008-03-16 14:55]

Hi Anna

Lovely macro shot - good composition and POV with great colour. Well observed and captured.


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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-03-16 15:27]

Hi Anna,my best compliments for the note first,and next for the wonderfull quality of your pic taken whitout the direct light of sun ,not easy to take so perfect,have a nice week,Luciano

Hi Anna,
What a great capture of this Stilt-legged Fly, excellent detail pin sharp and wonderful colours, really nice work all the best Cheers Rick ;)

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  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-03-16 20:54]

Hi Anna,
I love the colors on this fly.
Excellent macro.
I notice that you seem to favor these close-up shots of tiny creatures, whereas Loot goes for the elephants and hippos! *grin*
Despite your five-legged friend's hyperactivity, you seem to have managed a very sharp shot. Congratulations!
I am with you in that I just use my little camera hand-held.
Any additional equipment would take the "joy" out of it.
Maybe we are just lazy.... hahaha!
TFS. : )

Anna....this colour is so beautiful.
This is definitely an artistic photo. Angle of the leaf, and the stark colourings just jump at me.
I think this would make an excellent print.
Large too.


Awesome close up. The detail shown, along with the POV, DOF, BG, Lighting and contrast of colours makes a very well detailed pic indeed.

Hello Anna,

Good sharp picture of this strange fly. I think you are right as far as the tripod is concerned. I have to go very close to the insects with my camera and I tried to use my fingers as tripod. I think it is much funnier to act this way. I agree again when you say that the flying insects especially are not cooperative.
Well done,


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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-03-17 2:34]

Hello Anna,
Many thanks for having a peep at my pigeon as that also helped me to find this post again as I spotted it last night but didn't get time to comment!
Now you're showing us another splendid capture of an interesting insect that I haven't seen before. Excellent sharpness showing all details clearly. I like the colours of the long legs and what a pity it's lost one! Beautiful colour of the Bromeliad leaf in the background too. I like your composition in striking colours.
Many thanks and cheers, Ulla

Hi Anna,
Very good job with this tiny subject. Nice DOF, color, and exposure - well composed also..
Thank You!

Hi Anna,
I love your closeups! I wish my garden had insects like yours! Thanks also for the detailed info that you give with each photo!

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  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-03-17 3:41]

It is an interesting insect, and the body is in good focus. The legs look a tad OOF but that's understandable for one this size.

Yes, I noticed his lack of one leg - but it doesn't seem to hinder him. I don't use a tripod either, Anna, except very, very occasionally when I 'set up' a flower to post (on TL). I find using the tripod hinders me. It's never the right height or where I want it!

Best regards

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  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2008-03-17 5:41]

Hi Anna,
Beautiful shot!
Nice colors and composition!

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  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-03-17 12:01]

Hola Anna.
I always have funn when take Macros of insects, You have to watch carefully to find them. and then to run behind them just like You did here. How come he has only 5 legs?
any way this is a fine macro, and a great note to. Very interesting to read it.
Saludos My friend.

Hi Anna, superb macro with wonderful details and excellent sharpness, perfect focus and lovely blurry BG, very well done, ciao Silvio

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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2008-03-17 18:22]

Hello Anna,
First thank you for the great informative note. Now for the image, it has fantastic colors and great details. The leaf has an almost irridecence to it. Thanks for sharing this fine composition Anna.

The first thing I noticed about this insect was the missing leg, Anna. Your note confirmed my observation.
I can see the energetic movements of this fellow from its posture.
Very good top view. The shades of colour on its wings and other parts of the body are quite distinct.
Well done and TFS.

Hello Anna. I like the way you have done detail research on the subject before it is being posted. Your note is always excellent and the capture complemented well with the notes. Superb sharpness and details in this shot although I can't see another leg. I like color and also the leaf it is on. Well kept depth in keeping the background blurry eliminating all the busyness making this looking very pleasant. Well done and best regards. Jusni

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  • Tabib Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 160 W: 5 N: 167] (859)
  • [2008-03-18 1:25]

Hello Anna,

Very nice macro shot of this unique five legged insect, with matching leaf colour.
As always, a great writer.
Best regards,

Hi Anna,
Stunning shot friend. This is a great work in extremly minute insect. Details, DOF, POV and framing are excellent as usual. I liked the smooth green BG which make a great contrasting with the subject. TFS friend. Have a nice day.


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  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2008-03-18 2:04]

Hi Anne,
well this has an almost 3D like effect! Very eye catching! I am impressed by the scale at which you seem to photograph at - soon i think you will be needing a microscope ;o) Great composition and a very good DOF, it is nice to read about your enjoyment of photography. Your method sounds very relaxing - i seem to have masses of equipment to weigh me down...maybe i need a rethink..

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-03-18 3:30]

Hello Anna,
Very interesting looking fly with these long legs and the beautifiul colour of its thorax and wings. As I looked at the picture I noticed something not in balance and it was the missing le! Like you I take photos handheld with butterflies and insects. I just wonder how people do with a tripod. Thanks also for your kind words on my picture
Best regards

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  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2008-03-18 4:52]

Hi Anna,
wow this is a excellent capture, and very interesting. Lots of detail to discover and the brilliant colors are wonderful.
Great macro work, the DOF is spot on and the details are perfectly sharp.
Very nice diagonal composition to show of this long legged fly.

What a capture, Anna!You sure do have an eye for detail!Perfect shot, with perfect details.Very well done, Anna!
Thanks and regards,

Hi Anna,

You have been successfull to capture this five legged colorful insect, with great DOF and sharpness. I have only solution to capture beess. To increase sh. speed to 1/400 secs...

Hi Anna,
A nice capture of this beautiful stilt legged fly. We have some different looking species here. But I think this one is more colorful. Excellent details and composition. One thing that this fella never stands still. So the credit goes to you for capturing a sharp image. Thanks a lot for sharing.

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  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2008-03-18 12:59]

Hello Anna, great shot of this fine subject. The details are very good and the exposure is fine, well done, thanks!


Hello Anna !
You have missed many photos with this insect, but this one here is excellent ! There some ice details on your little friends, which is, of course, very beautiful - we don't have such things in France ! :-) I hade never seen it before, so I am looking at your picture, and reading your excellent notes, with much interest. Also, did you notice that your insect has lost one of its legs ? Or is it simply hidden ? Anyway, very well done !

Hi Anna,
now you got to the "real things": macro shots of flies! :-). The composition is fine, the fly looks quite exotic. A big compliment for your detailed note, covering entomology as well as technique.
Best regards

Hi Anna,
You are lucky to see some insects in your part of the world! It has been over 6 months that they are all sleeping here and this winter looks like it would never end! This is a very nice macro with interesting subject, beautiful composition, details and tones of colors. As usual, I enjoyed reading your notes. Thanks,

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  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-03-19 8:58]

Hi Anna,
Wonderful shot of this busy fly with such impressive sharpness and colours. I have seen it in yellow/black colour here. Superb lighting and exposure handling and you have very skilfully freezed this action moment. The missing leg makes it look so interesting and unbalanced. Great DOF and a well chosen top POV to portray it. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

Complicada toma Anna, sobre todo por el tamaño del insecto. Veo que sacas buen partido a esa Sony y que no solamente tiene un potente zoom para tele, sino que también resuelve en macro. Yo estoy planteándome usar de nuevo una cámara compacta, sobre todo por la incomodidad de los cambios de objetivos.
Un abrazo: J. Ignasi

Hella Anna,
This is a very fine image of macro in good closeness!
very sharp on the subject with wonderful colour and super details
you had done a great job for sharing with the good notes
well done

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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-03-20 1:29]

Hello Anna,
I was gone for a couple of days and missed this beauty. The colours in this fly are very clear and the contrast against the leaf and the green BG is wonderful. The composition is a bit strange while it's missing one leg. Very good sharpness and DOF.

Dear Anna,
exceptionally powerful composition of simple shapes and the strongly contrasting clear colours of pale purple and bright emerald, and a remarkable well detailed close-up of this tiny fly hand held under low light conditions. Thank you!
With best regards,

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  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2008-03-20 5:08]

Hi Anna,
Yes, a funny looking insect that shows the invite variety of shapes in Nature. You have got a great approach, a good sharpness and a very effective and dynamic composition.
TFS and best regards,
José M.
I own you too :-)

Hello Anna,
Excellent close-up shot of this strange fly. TFS and regards,

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  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-03-20 20:05]

Hello Anna

Great macro shot.The colours are vivid and well saturated.
The details are very good with lovely focus.
wonderful lighting and exposure.
Excellent POV and DOF.
You have allowed us into the realm of this fly.


an amasing shot of this insect Anna,
the pov is nice and you create a lot of depth in the shot, well composed, good photojob, have a happy easter for you and your family.
gr. jaap

Absolutely fascinating shot! Great details and an interesting point of view. Love the depth here.

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  • chiliu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1457 W: 0 N: 1176] (6526)
  • [2008-03-21 15:49]

Hi Anna, this is a great macro shot! Good focus, great detail and very nice colours.

Couleurs inhabituelles et bon cadrage.
Bonne journée.

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  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2008-03-22 21:40]

Hello Anna,

Very nice fly, very different, great POV and composition


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  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2008-03-23 1:00]

hello Anna
successful presentation of this interesting insect with detailed information
i like POV, colourful BG, lighting, colours and details

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  • lizzie Gold Star Critiquer [C: 207 W: 0 N: 605] (2855)
  • [2008-03-25 16:53]

Hi Anna,

Fantastic macro!
So much details on such a little insect!
Beautifully exposed. Well done!


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  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2008-03-27 13:40]
  • [+]

Hi Anna

I think the DOF is perfect here. The insect is really isolated from the BG - it looks almost 3D. Perfect sharpness on the insect and perfect composition. Very nice work



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  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-03-28 1:36]
  • [2]

Hi Anna

Another fine macro with my Sony H9. I'm just making sure we still know whose camera it is, unless you want to acquire it for a bargain. All you have to do is to buy me a 40D and then you can keep the H9.

This shot reminds me of my 5-legged flesh fly some time back. The details are well defined and the DOF was near enough to cover most of the range of the insect. Only the feet seem slightly soft, but no serious nit. The leaf acted as a fine BG and it allowed the insect to stand out nicely from the surroundings. The exposure control was spot-on and it ensured excellent lighting on the subject which also makes the white-tipped forelegs stand out against the darker BG.

Good work and TFS.

Hallo Miss Piggy
Now what have we here? I did not know one get all coloured kind of flies! This is really an eye opener to me. I thought a fly is a fly and yuk-yuk it must not come close to me. You have managed to capture this amputated fly with great care. The colours are great and the metallic displays well on the pinkish leaf as background. From what I read in your notes it sounds like you are enjoying your daily rounds in the garden. I can see you like to capture these tiny things, so I am sure you have a set of strong eyes, and on the other hand your walking sessions is not just you going around talking photos; you get in your daily exercise as well. I really fancy this one. It taught me a lesson. Never give up. This guy has lost a leg, but it did not seem to bother, as you say it just keep on and on. Wish more humans could do just that. When the going get tough the tough gets going!
Warmest regards

Baie mooi foto Anna. Jy is regtig nou 'n boffin!!

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  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2008-04-13 8:36]

Hello Anna, Just superb and great shot. Lovely clarity and superb shot again. TFS Smiley tmrw

Splendida presentazione di questo insetto, ottimo POV, eccellente composizione elegante ed essenziale eppure straordinaria anche come documento scientifico, ottima nitidezza e fantastici colori. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

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