Fly Eyes

Flies may be annoying, but they sure do make great macro photography subjects. Here we have a little fella adjusting one of his many thousand contact lenses.

If you look closely at the cropped image below you can see something which you may not have known about flies. Like many insects, they have three extra eyes on the top of their head in a triangle formation. These are simple eyes called ocelli, and unlike their main compound eyes they each contain only a single lens.

These eyes do not form a clear image like their main eyes, and it is believed that they are used for light metering purposes. According to the Googles, one common theory is that they help flying insects maintain stability in flight, by detecting changes in brightness as they pitch and roll around. Sounds plausible to me. All I know is that I have a hard time creeping up on the little buggers with a great big massive lens on my camera. Then I probably blind the poor things with a great big flash going off in their face. Sorry about that.

Speaking of which, in this shot you just about see the reflection of my ring flash in the ocelli. This is one of the major drawbacks of a ring flash in my opinion.

Click the picture to embigginate!


For this shot I used –

  • Canon 6D
  • EF 100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM
  • Exposure 1/100 sec at f/10
  • Yongnuo YN-14EX-C Macro Ring Lite
  • Maybe (probably) a 36mm Kenko extension tube. Truth be told, I can’t remember.


A common green bottle fly scratching eyes

A common green bottle fly (Phaenicia sericata or Lucilia sericata)



Cropped image showing close up of fly eyes

See the three simple eyes (ocelli) in a triangle formation? Two are obvious, the third is a little less noticeable.


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