Snow fleas, stoneflies

Wildlife,bugs, beasts, and all non-bird species

Snow fleas, stoneflies

Postby Bill Grigg » Wed Feb 17, 2016 9:37 pm

With the upcoming warm weather for the next several days, does anyone think that there will be a hatch (or emergence) of snow fleas or stoneflies? I'd like to try to get some photos at sites where I've seen them in past years .... My thanks in advance for whatever you might offer...
Bill Grigg.
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Re: Snow fleas, stoneflies

Postby Rick Baetsen » Fri Feb 19, 2016 6:49 pm

Bill, I have only tried to photograph snow fleas once. We have enjoyed seeing them for years both locally and in the upper peninsula. About ten years ago, when up to the Keweenaw Peninsula taking photos of the tame ruffed grouse in Houghton County, we found the ground covered with snow fleas. The grouse had not come out yet so I tried taking some images with my Canon 100mm macro on the digital camera. I found that even with this macro the fleas were too small a portion of the image and lacked any detail. I had some luck that trip though as I had Curly with me and he had a 200mm Macro and further luck in that all three of my friends I photograph nature with all shoot Canon equipment. But, there was too much contrast between the black fleas and the bright snow surface. What I did to get some better images was to pick up a piece of White Birch bark laying nearby and put it on the snow where I was photographing the fleas. They soon covered it and the off white color of the bark when compared to that of the snow surface allowed me to get some pretty good images of the fleas. Not much help, but that I found it real difficult to photograph them on pure white snow. Best of Luck with your interest.

Rick
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Michigan Outdoor Writers Association
Walloon Lake and Munising, Michigan
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Re: Snow fleas, stoneflies

Postby Bill Grigg » Fri Feb 19, 2016 9:41 pm

Thanks for your reply and info, Rick. Yes, the huge contrast is a concern. Snow fleas, as well as stoneflies, are unusual critters, and I sympathize with their rather unusual lifestyles. The birch bark add-on is a good idea. Tomorrow, I'm headed to Alpena, and my 105 mm Nikkor is packed, ready to go. My fingers are crossed.....
Hope all is well with you - Bill G.
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Re: Snow fleas, stoneflies

Postby res » Sun Feb 21, 2016 6:33 am

I can't help with the possibilities for emergents but as for the contrst, you might try an old portrait photographer's trick. Purchase a small amount of bright white sheer fabric. Window sheers are made from this material. You could experiment with different densities. Mount on a frame so you create a disk or square betwee 2' and 3 foot across. Use this contraption between the flea and the prominent light source to filter the light more evenly. It does not eliminate the contrast issue but it does drop the dynamic range you are trying to capture closer to the capabilities of a camera to record. I would be interested in your results good OR bad. Unique idea
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Re: Snow fleas, stoneflies

Postby deadstream guy » Mon Feb 22, 2016 12:44 am

A little later in the year, while beaver trapping toward "break-up", I have seen snow fleas winnowed up in melt water freshets so thick that you could literally scoop up huge handfuls of them. I can only guess how many tens of thousands it takes to make a "handful"! They would be so thick they would make mats behind sticks/logs across the trickles. They were a charcoal grayish color with a slight shimmer to them when piled up like that. It boggles your mind to wonder how many millions are on a single acre of ground.
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