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Stories by Alex Wild226 articles archived since 1845

Announcing Insects Unlocked

A while back I wrote a feature for Ars Technica on the dysfunctional online copyright landscape. The piece was personal. My photographs average around $50 each to make, mostly in time, equipment, and travel costs.

March 18, 2015 — Alex Wild
Meet Gil Wizen’s Neighbors

Meet Gil Wizen’s Neighbors

Unless you live under a rock, you have likely seen the clean white natural history work of the Meet Your Neighbours project. And even if you do live under a rock, chances are one of the project’s members has found you, removed you to a plastic stage, and snapped a photo.

March 6, 2015 — Alex Wild

Build a World-Class Insect Imaging System for under $6,000

Compound Eye has been quiet of late. My silence is for a good cause, though! The past few months have been hectic as I transitioned from freelance photography in Illinois to a new job: Curator of Entomology at the University of Texas in Austin.

February 24, 2015 — Alex Wild
The Ethics of our Brave New Drone Photography World

The Ethics of our Brave New Drone Photography World

It’s a marvelous time to be a photographer. The blossoming tech industry has made us all kids in a candy shop, suddenly realizing the whole street is candy shops, on a street with peppermint cobblestones and licorice fountains.

February 16, 2015 — Alex Wild
Window To A Wetter Past In Tucson

Window To A Wetter Past In Tucson

When I lived in Tucson a few years back, I often wondered why a city even existed there. Modern Tucson is completely dry, save a few artificial ponds propped up for the golfing set.

February 2, 2015 — Alex Wild

A Recipe for Photographing Angry Fire Ants

This 2007 photograph of a fire ant brandishing her stinger is among the most heavily circulated images from my collection. Since several people have asked how I managed to coax the animal into such a dramatic pose, I bring you the following recipe.

January 30, 2015 — Alex Wild

Giving Birth To A Tropical Parasite [Video Not For The Squeamish]

“Why is it that an animal that is actively trying to kill us, such as a lion, gets more respect than one that is only trying to nibble on us a little, without causing much harm?” -Piotr Naskrecki Biologist Piotr Naskrecki, who traveled with me to Belize last year, returned home to find himself incubating [...]

January 12, 2015 — Alex Wild
Into the Public Domain

Into the Public Domain

In honor of January 1st being Public Domain Day, I am releasing a few of my older images from copyright: These images are now available for all uses, including commercial use, without the need for attribution or permission.

January 1, 2015 — Alex Wild
My Personal Best Photographs of 2014

My Personal Best Photographs of 2014

2014 was a busy year, and an odd one in terms of subject matter. Usually my stream is full of ants. I am trained as an ant biologist, after all, and these charming social insects typically weigh heavily in my photographs (see 2013, 2012, 2011).

December 31, 2014 — Alex Wild
January 1 is Public Domain Day!

January 1 is Public Domain Day!

[The following piece is a modified repost from 2013] Every year, on the first of January, copyrights on certain older creative works expire and the works pass into the public domain.

December 26, 2014 — Alex Wild

These Spider Fangs Aren’t Going To Photograph Themselves

Here is a photograph of a Sydney funnel-web spider, Atrax robustus: I won’t explain the biology of this delightful animal here – you may read about it at Wikipedia in greater arachnological detail. Instead, I want to show the process by which I arrived at this composition.

August 13, 2014 — Alex Wild

Wasps Are Our Friends: Part IV

When most people think of wasps, they imagine a stereotypically striped stinging insect. Such wasps are part of the family Vespidae, but they are, in fact, a minority of species and unrepresentative of their order.

July 2, 2014 — Alex Wild

How To Pick A Photoshopped Firefly

Now that firefly season is sparking up our eastern and midwestern summer evenings, I am starting to see not just the insects themselves but the attendant media buzz.

June 28, 2014 — Alex Wild
Selling the Public Domain

Selling the Public Domain

Teachers Pay Teachers is a freewheeling online market where entrepreneurial educators sell lesson plans, powerpoints, and other didactic materials to each other.

June 26, 2014 — Alex Wild

Wasps Are Our Friends: Part III

You might think an insect with an extra pointy derriere would pack a fearsome sting, but you’d be wrong. The extended rear appendage of the crown-of-thorns wasp is not a stinger but an egg-laying organ, the ovipositor, used to reach beetle grubs chewing through the wood below.

June 23, 2014 — Alex Wild

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