Winning PBESA Images: A Damselfly, a Blowfly and a Monarch

Winning PBESA Images: A Damselfly, a Blowfly and a Monarch

An image of a damselfly photographed in Hawaii, and images of a blowfly and a monarch photographed in California won the Photo Salon recently hosted by the Pacific Branch, Entomological Society of America (PBESA)

Photo Salon coordinator Joshua Milnes, an entomologist with the Plant Protection Division, Washington State Department of Agriculture, Yakima, announced the winners as: 

  • First, Robert Peck, entomologist with the University of Hawaii, for his image of a damselfly
  • Second,  Alexander Nguyen,  a UC Davis entomology alumnus, for his image of a blowfly 
  • Third,  Kathy Keatley Garvey of the UC Davis Department of Entomology and Nematology, for her image of a monarch.

PBESA showcased the images at its annual meeting, held April 14-17, in Waikoloa Beach, Hawaii. The photo competition, themed “Pineapple Madness,” was open to all PBESA members. Membership covers 11 Western states, plus U.S. territories and parts of Canada and Mexico.

Winning entrants in this year's competition "not only received bragging rights,"  Milnes said, but also cash prizes. The first-place winner received $50, plus a printed photo; second place, $25, plus a printed photo, and third place, $25.

Robert Peck 

The damselfly in my photo is Megalagrion calliphya, with the common name, Beautiful Hawaiian Damselfly," said Peck, an entomologist with the Hawaii Cooperative Studies Unit, University of Hawaii, Hilo.  “It can be found around standing pools of water in Hawaiian forests.”  Peck captured the image in his backyard in Volcano, Hawaii. This was his first submission in the Photo Salon competition.  His camera gear: a Canon EOS 7D Mark II with a Tokina 90 macro lens.

Alexander Nguyen

 “I took this image (of a blowfly) while visiting my good friend, and fellow UC Davis entomology alumnus Joel Hernandez, in Woodland," Nguyen said. "I'm a long time user of Canon cameras and have no plans to switch. This was photographed using the newer R5 mirrorless model. I currently reside in Sonoma County serving that region in the Agricultural Commissioner's office.”  This was his third win in an ESA-hosted competition. Nguyen's image of a hoverfly, photographed in the UC Davis Stebbens Cold Canyon Reserve, won an international competition and appeared in the ESA 2018 Insects of the World calendar.  (See Bug Squad blog) In 2022, his photo of red imported fire ants placed second in the PBESA Photo Salon.

Kathy Keatley Garvey 

Garvey, a communications specialist with the Department of Entomology and Nematology, captured her image of a monarch foraging on milkweed in a Vacaville garden. Her camera gear: a Nikon D500 with a 200mm macro lens. She earlier won several awards in ESA-hosted competitions. Her image of a golden dung fly, Scathophaga stercoraria, won the Entomological Society of America (ESA) medal for "Best Image by an ESA Member" in the  64th annual International Insect Salon competition, held in 2022. Her image of two Melissodes agilis bees buzzing over a sunflower, Tithonia rotundifola, won "Best Image by an ESA member" at the 63rd North Central Insect Photographic Salon, co-sponsored by the North Central Branch of ESA and the Photographic Society of America. Two other Garvey images also won acceptances in the North Central competition. 

Entries are now being accepted through May 12 for the 2025 ESA World of Insects Calendar.  "Photographers of all backgrounds, areas of expertise, career stage, and geographical location are invited to submit photos," according to the  ESA website.  "No entomological training or expertise is required, and you do not need to be an ESA member to enter." Submitted images may also be considered for ESA's weekly "Arthropod Photo of the Week" feature on social media, via the #arthropodPOTW hashtag on TwitterFacebookInstagram, and Mastodon.