Insects fly. This much is known, and very obvious, but how they fly often defeats the intellect unless you have been lucky enough to see high-speed photos of insects in flight, showing their flexed and contorted wings. This book is all about flexed and contorted wings, and is really a stunning visual gallery of the author’s photographs. Or rather, there are two galleries. The first shows studio shots of many different groups of insects, caught, isolated, in the macro-lens millisecond of wings outstretched, twisted and arched, or legs extended in mid-leap. The second (longer) gallery shows mostly butterflies caught in similar freeze-frame wing-curved action, but this time, by the magic of wide-angle or fish-eye optics, they are frozen in the landscape, against the clouds and the sky, and framed by nearby flowers or distant trees.
Sadly, there is very little text. There is not even an index. There is no denying the startling beauty of the images, and the tantalising insights they offer into an understanding of insect flight. I’m off to make a paper aeroplane to try my hand at replicating some of them.