Fly Guy’s Great Grandson

On the morning of February 10, 2008, I made the above photograph of a hoverfly in my backyard in Bradenton, Florida.  When I later needed to name the image for a portfolio review at the Rocky Mountain School of Photography, this little curiosity became known as “Fly Guy.”  Something about the way his attitude seemingly translated from the moment made this name fit well in my mind.

Making this photo took a significant amount of observation and many failed attempts.  After observing this fly’s strange behavior I developed a bit of an odd curiosity to learn more about them.  It turns out that this type of fly (sp. Ornidia obesa) displays its dominance by holding a specific area of space.  While in this mode it defends its chosen space against almost any outside encroachment.  I’m not entirely certain for whom this display is made, but I am willing to place a significant wager that it has something to do with “Fly Girls.”  I spent a lot of time watching this same individual fly hold his space and chase away intruders no matter their size or type (including falling tree matter).  He even held his space against my encroaching camera until its proximity apparently became unbearable and he darted off in a blur, only to return to the same spot moments later.  After several mornings of consistent sightings, Fly Guy never returned and I had written the experience off for some time.

You can probably imagine my surprise when I looked out the window this past Monday morning to see a new hoverfly in virtually the same spot that Fly Guy once fancied.  I quickly grabbed my camera and sat on our deck to watch this fly display the same old cocky attitude that Fly Guy used to proudly exhibit.  It was like some weird class reunion at which I felt strangely familiar with everyone present.  Consequently, I have again found myself spending multiple mornings this week in an attempt to capture more images of this new subject.  Despite my self-proclaimed familiarity with this subject, making photographs of them has sadly not become any easier.  Here are a few from this week:

Hope you enjoy.  Jimmy


~ by Jimmy White on May 5, 2010.

16 Responses to “Fly Guy’s Great Grandson”

  1. […] goodness for RMSP students. Jimmy White, one of our Career Training graduates, just sent me this fascinating blog post about a photographic study that he made of a fly species called Ornidia obesa. I recommend that you […]

  2. jimmy, i love this story…so soo fascinating. show us more of the world that we don’t know…really cool.

  3. Thanks to everyone for taking the time to provide your comments! I sincerely appreciate all of the comments!

  4. i love fly guy. seriously.

  5. Hey Jimmy,

    Love your Fly Guy. The word is out that Fly Girl is somewhere out there; and that there is this guy who is making us famous.

  6. What a clever photographer you are!! I especially like the last guy. The “nose to nose” photo is as though he (assuming it is a male fly) is definitely staring you down — as though to say, “get out of my space — you and that silly lens!!” Thanks for sharing.

  7. and here I was thinking it would be a fox or something…..loved it!

  8. Thanks for another entertaining and educational post. I especially like the last picture. It looks like he is staring you down!

  9. Who knew a nasty little critter could be KIND of cute too? Your photos really flatter him. Great work! love, ang

  10. Most of the time these little creatures accompany many despised items that will go unnamed, but here you have completely resurrected their reputation! These are amazing, Jimmy. I love the softness and the color pallets. You have caught some great body language as well. Beautiful project…and who would have thought?

  11. Jimmy,
    These are so cool. Keep up the awesome work!
    Loved your project from school, and these look like a great continuum of that body of work.


  12. These pictures are incredible! I find myself thinking about the “goings on” in the animal & insect world quite often. Living on this beautiful farm has made me really appreciate creatures big & small & to remember to take time to enjoy the sound of the creek, rustling of the leaves on the trees, the roosters crowing, the neighbors cows, etc.. I believe that life is meant to be enjoyed & appreciated and I think your beautiful photos remind us of that. Thanks for sharing your art!

  13. This is very interesting. Such odd behavior. These are great images. Thanks for inviting me to your viewing. Frank

  14. Oh to be a fanciful fly, freely flying so fast. Fantastic! These photos are awesome. I vote for you capturing them, painting tiny ads on them, and starting a new marketing revolution.

  15. Oh my goodness Jimmy! I was so excited to read this, because I remember so clearly you telling me the story of you and the “Fly Guy” back at RMSP. That original image was always one of my favorites of yours. I find it fascinating that you continue to run into this same phenomenon. The sharpness and color in these photographs blow me away. Don’t keep trying to capture different angles etc. I feel like you’re onto something. And thanks for inspiring me to get out my macro. 🙂

  16. Glad you could “Fly By” Jimmy. Very nice photos. Having lived in farm country, flies are not my favorite subject, but you have kindled a new interest in them for me. Thanks. Helen

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