Those same two items in Stinky2 bothered me as well. People expect shallow DOF in macro shots, so it is not a technical defect, as such, but still it is something that can be a little distracting. The Hoverflies image happens not to have anything significant outside the sharpness range. I still think it has too much space on the right, but that could be remedied easily if you agree.
As for stink bugs, they have been a problem here as well. As repulsive as they are in most respects, I always thought the shape and pattern of their backs was really quite attractive, so if I were photographing them this is what I would try to depict. Of course I don't have the patience or skill for bug photos (flowers and leaves are less creepy and move around less), so I'm not criticizing or disparaging your images in any way. The back is just what I think of as the part of this insect that I would be interested in having a closer, but not in-person, view of. I don't know if other people (like judges) might feel this way. I have long since given up trying to figure out what goes on in the minds of people who judge photo competitions (even though I've done a couple).
IF I end up going with the hoverflies, the version I'll be printing *does* have a little taken off from the right, in order to fit the 16x20 format I need to print them in. Probably not as much as you'd WANT cropped, but I rather like it that way; gives them space to fly off into after the deed is done. :lmao:
I agree that the pattern on the back of the stinkbugs can be pretty cool (if I can just quit detesting the little things long enough to really LOOK!) and I even have a couple of those--but they came across as too "typical" of a shot to me, too much like "yep, that's a photo of a stink bug," you know? I think one of the things I really LIKE about Stinky2 is that it is NOT your "typical" look at a stink bug--in fact, until I took these, I had no idea that they had those cool little spots all over their legs, and that their legs and underbodies had that tinge of transparency about them.