Flying Ants

I would love to be able to say that this photo was the result of careful planning, research, and patient dedication. But in truth, it was nothing but a combination of being in the right place at the right time and a whole lot of luck.

Just before sunset on the afternoon of the 23rd Jan 2016, after an epic day chasing thunderstorms around the wheat belt region of Western Australia, I pulled over on the side of the road somewhere east of Corrigin to photograph a rainbow that had formed. Even to this day, it remains one of the most magnificent rainbows I have ever seen.

I was so mesmerized by what I was looking at, that I didn’t even think to move my car out of the way as I took photo after photo. At some point, I turned around to see how long I had until the sun would set. That’s when I saw the flying ants-millions of them-streaming out of the ground, out of fallen trees, out of the base of decades-old fence posts. The air was filled with them and they glittered like fireflies in the golden rays of days last light. I quickly turned the tripod around and fired off several shots.

This last image is the original, which I really liked, but in the post-process stage, I fell in love with the black and white version that you see at the top.

It wasn’t until the next day, whilst processing all the images I had taken, that I noticed I had also captured an iconic feature found all over the country in Australia, a school bus shelter. Farm kids would use these shelters on wet days whilst waiting to be picked up by the school bus. I remember going to my friend’s farm for the weekend on several occasions, and after getting off the bus, we would fetch his pushbike out of a shelter just like this one and double-dink up the long driveway to his house.

Right after I took these photos, I moved down the road a couple of kilometers to see if I could catch the last of the rainbow before it vanished. That’s when I took what is one of my all-time favorite photos ever.

Majestic Salmon Gumfull version here
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  1. Pingback: Flying Ants – mattfrickerphotography

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