Any nature photographer will tell you that patience coupled with some luck often yields great pictures. Sometimes it just takes acting a bit crazy.
During our travels last summer we stayed for a few weeks at Lake Griffin State Park in Florida. On one of my outings a large beetle flew over my shoulder landing for a moment in front of me, then it was gone. What struck me were its colors. Though I only saw it for a microsecond, it was one of the most striking beetles I have ever seen – iridescent gold, and green, red and yellow. I grabbed my camera and snapped a quick shot, and got a blurred photo . . . of a limb. The beetle was gone. I kicked myself for the missed opportunity.
For the next few days I searched this area, hoping to see another one of these insects. I stood for hours looking and listening. On several occasions I thought I saw one high in the treetops but too far away to get a shot. Then it happened after several days. One flew past me. I went crashing through the bushes after it, hoping it would land somewhere. It did, but it was gone before I could lift my camera. I stood for what seemed like an hour, hoping it would return. No such luck. Days went by with only an occasional sighting, but nothing I could photograph.
I decided to change my tactics so I dug out a small butterfly net my wife gave me as a joke. I spent several more days hunting but this time with my new weapon – a net. One day while flying through the brush, repeatedly diving on the ground with fruitless swipes at this phantom beetle, I popped into a clearing. And I found myself standing face to face with a park ranger. She asked what I was doing, but the look on her face said, “Who is this crazy man with the little butterfly net and spiders and leaves in his hair and do I need to call the police to ensure my personal safety?” I explained what I was after and she let me go on my way.
The next day it happened. I saw a beetle flying low to the ground and I dove. Missed. But there it was. Again. Missed again. On the third try I got him. It was more beautiful than I imagined. It was an Eastern Bumelia Borer (Plinthocoelium suaveolens suaveolens). And it was mine to photograph at my leisure. Patience and a little crazed butterfly net work paid off.