Most annoying species/group to photograph?

Butterflies and whales. I’ve figured out where and when to see many insects when they are moving slowly but where the hell do butterflies go when it is still too cold for them to start flying in the morning? I can find a bumblebee sleeping in a flower but I can’t find a much larger butterfly waiting for the morning sun.

Whales are even more aggravating. I swear they know when I’m carrying my long lens and when I just have my macro lens.

I find Skippers and Sulfur Butterflies MOST Annoying !..They just won’t co-operate with the Photographer! Too, I would add many of the Warblers and Kingfishers!


These fiery skippers proved me wrong today



I do have a few decent photos of some species but more often than not they are ridiculously flighty. Combined with squirmy movements and shiny scales this makes them an absolute pain.

I mostly photograph reptiles and amphibians and relative to all other families the proportion of skink species for which I have either zero or only absolutely horrible photographs is through the roof,

Also, any marine species where you have to get the timing right when something surfaces from dark water - whales, sea turtles, etc - forget about it. I have one bad pic of a porpoise, one of a loggerhead (and that was only because the water was clear and it was close by, allowing me a chance to see when it would surface). All other such encounters, nothing.

Finally, I find it confusingly difficult to take actual good pictures of flowers. You’d think that taking daylight photographs of something pretty and colourful that doesn’t move (well, except maybe a bit in the wind) would be easy, yet mine tend to be quite meh.


Finally, I find it confusingly difficult to take actual good pictures of flowers. You’d think that taking daylight photographs of something pretty and colourful that doesn’t move (well, except maybe a bit in the wind) would be easy, yet mine tend to be quite meh.

That’s the main reason why I find it so hard to post plant observations! Taking good photos of plant is also confusing to me and it seems that there can be a huge conflict between useful and aesthetically-pleasing photos.


Useful I usually find pretty straightforward (though strong winds, and sometimes surroundings, can make it a bit tricky). Aesthetically pleasing is the tough one. I think sometimes I make the mistake of trying to achieve both in the same photo.

Probably Odonata for me. Their fast, skinny, small, and normally spent about 0.02 seconds sitting still


For some reason I find photographing many grasses annoying.

EDIT - I just read: “either because of their habits or their flightiness”…

hmm well I guess the growth ‘habit’ of grasses is what makes them annoying to photograph, so technically a passable answer still ??? :) :|


Yes, I quite agree… and flighty is CERTAINLY an adjective that suits them well. It’s even more annoying because I’m actually fascinated by them and would love to study them better.


Fish. They are often fast and then there’s the glare off the water. That, plus their sides aren’t often visible.

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When you use flash, they react in a millisecond! See Sourakov (2011); they are hypothesized to be the animal with the quickest reflexes.


I agree about dragonflies and butterflies :butterfly: are hard! They notice shadows very well & immediately depart perch. Frustrating though I have gotten really good shots. See below. I also agree bees :honeybee: are easy. On a side note, birds :bird: are very challenging!


every bird, butterfly, fish, and non-beetle insect pollinator (esp. wasps and flies). also chipmunks. you guys, can you please hold still for one second while I steal your soul with my camera?


Phoridae, or as one of their common names so aptly describes, the Scuttle flies.

No, they don’t usually fly away but boy, do they ever hop about a surface!

As with most hard to capture subjects, you need a lot of patience and a fair bit of luck.

As for butterflies and Odonata, most of my shots were taken with my birding lens. But I have discovered that it is almost always worth taking small, slow steps to get a closer macro. Doesn’t always work, but when it does, it’s worth it.

I think this might have something to do with how their brains are wired for a certain movement speed threshold as a predator risk.

As for not having the right lens on, or not having it all in your bag…

This is why when I’m in a new area I will always go with my high-zoom bridge camera and keep a Raynox clip-on macro extender in my pocket. Birding to close macro in a second. (And the Olympus TG in the other pocket for additional macro support.)

As for slow and patient, here’s a recent macro lens shot that was the result of a three minute approach.


A number of things come to mind. Butterflies, dragonflies - need patience but manageable. Birds, need a good camera or live with a mediocre photo. Backswimmers in ponds, hard to get other angles.

But bats? Unless you catch them in their lair, the light is already low and they are fast buggers that never keep still. I only managed dead ones and ones that got stunned by flying into an obstacle.


I have the Panasonic Lumix FZ 80 which has both bracketing and burst modes. I have tried bracketing several times and burst one once. But, since I shoot at the highest resolution possible using RAW files, it takes a few moments to save to the memory card. So, I’d rather shoot one frame at a time because the wait before taking another photo is less than if I use bracketing or burst. Any thoughts?

“…a three minute approach”

Are you saying that you moved so slowly up to this dragonfly that it took you three minutes to get in posotion?

I have discovered that, if you moved very, very slowly, you can get close to some dragonflies/damselflies. It’s a gamble. Any twitch could scare one away.

I usually try to take a good photo from a distance just to document it for iNaturalist. There’s an annual survey here in Ohio. So, getting any kind decent photo is needed for a count in the survey. But, I do like to get a good, close photo.


I think it would be more accurate to describe these groups of species as ‘photographically frustrating’ rather than annoying.

Let’s face it, as observers, we’re never really annoyed by seeing wildlife, just challenged sometimes at documenting what we see.

If I’m ever annoyed, it’s either at myself for missing or forgetting something to get a good capture, or perhaps annoyed by others not observing trail rules (unleashed dogs, campfire beer parties, loud portable music, etc., etc.).


Have you checked to make sure that you are using the highest possible speed memory card for your camera model? It can make a dramatic difference.

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That’s right. Every species seems to have slightly different ‘spook specs’. Often, even between individuals. Be careful how you approach so that your shadow isn’t going to ‘trip the wire’, and be extra careful on how quickly you bring the camera up to compose your shot.