1000words

//Busy doing longfic work tonight. I owe two starters (at some point) but other than that have nothing in my tracker.

I DO owe two chapters of the longfic by tomorrow XDDD, and a 1000word one-shot for my first goal on patreon, so I’ll be busy doing that tonight. The window’s open. If you poke me in IM I SHOULD hear you (assuming it tells me) but I’m not going to get too distracted as I’ve got obligations to meet. 

Thanks guys,

S.

VIENNA.- In this Picture publicly provided by the Westlicht auction house in Vienna, Austria a Leica camera is displayed on a screen while unidentified auctioneers clap their hands in Vienna Saturday May 28, 2011. The Austrian auction house says the 88-year-old camera has sold for a record euro1.3 million (US$1.9 million). Westlicht says the rare Leica is part of a small series dating back to 1923 and was valued at up to euro450,000 euro (US$ 643,640). It says the camera, which had a starting price of euro200,000 (US$286,000), went to a private Asian collector after a nailbiting, 20-minute bidding process. Westlicht claims Saturdays auction makes the Leica the most expensive camera ever sold. AP Photo/ho/Westlicht

1000Words is a column featuring a Bloomberg Photo Service photographer and his or her insight on how the shot was obtained.

The cicadas are coming! The cicadas are coming! A few of them are already in photographer Julia Schmalz’s Virginia backyard; she’s trying to capture their beauty and prevent her dog from snacking on them. -– Jane Hwang

1000Words: This is such a gorgeous photo of something most people find icky. How did you get this shot?
Julia Schmalz: One night when I was walking my dogs, I saw something white in the light of my car’s headlamp. I didn’t know that at night the cicadas change from nymphs into adult bugs. I had already started shooting the bugs for this assignment, and I was really excited to see a situation that I hadn’t seen a ton of photos of. As the car’s headlamp shined through the wings of the bug, I played around with how to capture this. This bug was at about face level on a dogwood tree in my front yard. I used an off-camera flash from behind and below, and a white card to kick in a little reflection.

1000Words: I love that you focused on its beautiful wings. They’re so symmetrical and delicate, it’s enough to make one forget the impending invasion. Was it intentional, or just luck?
J.S.: I approached this assignment as a picture story. What were the storytelling images I needed, and how could I make good images of a subject that other photographers would soon be covering? So in one situation I shot more of a scientific side shot to clearly document the adult emerging from the skin from the nymph stage. Once I had a safe shot I wanted to make a more elegant, creative image, so I concentrated on the wings. This image is full-frame with no toning.

1000Words: Did you have to wait long for this moment? How do you stay focused and present?
J.S.: Actually, the good thing about an infestation is that there are many bugs to choose from! What surprised me was how fast the wings emerged –- I think the process took about a half an hour. It was beautiful to watch. The bugs don’t move that much, so it was easy to experiment with different lighting arrangements.

1000Words: Do bugs not freak you out?
J.S.: Spiders freak me out. Bed bugs freak me out. The adult cicadas are just cool. They are harmless, and you can hold them in your hand –- they are big enough that you really feel their grip! The one thing that freaks me out is going into my yard after they’ve started to emerge. There are so many holes in the ground that it looks like it boiled. It’s like an old-time horror movie -– it’s scarier to imagine the thousands of bugs coming up from the ground at once than to see a few flying around.

1000Words: Are you looking forward to their return after 17 years?
J.S.: Yes, but I have only been waiting since 2004, when Brood X came out in force here in Virginia. I think if we had this many bugs every year, it would get old really fast, but it becomes a really fun news story. I remember the bugs covering a Buddha statue I had, driving pets crazy and drowning out conversations with the loud, whirling sound they make. They don’t damage anything, so it’s all fun stuff.

1000Words: Are you doing anything special for their arrival?
J.S.: I am trying to figure out how to keep my dogs from eating them. So far I have not been very successful – hard to beat free snacks that buzz.

Specs – Canon 5D Mark II; 100mm f/2.8 macro lens; off-camera flash; bounce card

Julia Schmalz is a multimedia producer at Bloomberg Government. Her day job usually involves illustrating stories related to the impact of government actions on business. Other times she is out hiking or kayaking, photographing nature.

Bloomberg Photo Service clients can access additional amazing imagery here. If you’re not a client, click here for licensing options