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Close encounter with a Privet Hawkmoth

Discussion in 'Nature' started by grebeman, Jun 10, 2011.

  1. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Last night was a little cool so my moth trap catch was poor, however this Privet Hawkmoth had braved the conditions. This is close to being our largest UK moth.

    1030352.
    This gives some idea of the size of the beast, resting quietly on my first finger. Panasonic G1 with 45mm, f/2.8 Leica DG Macro-Elmarit

    1010350.
    Here it is in threat mode, as it would be if challenged by a predator, hoping to frighten the predator with the brightly coloured hind wings and abdomen. Panasonic G1 with 105mm, f/2.8 Sigma DG Macro

    1030338.
    Cloe up detail of the head. Panasonic G1 with 45mm, f/2.8 Leica DG Macro-Elmarit

    1030341.
    Even closer detail showing the compound eye. Panasonic G1 with 55mm f/2.8 Micro-Nikkor and extension tubes

    Barrie
     
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  2. sprinke

    sprinke Mu-43 All-Pro

    Apr 5, 2011
    Pasadena, CA
    Debi
    Amazing!
     
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  3. michaelfinch

    michaelfinch Mu-43 Regular

    104
    Sep 24, 2010
    Lancashire, England
    Wonderful photos, Barrie. I remember the first time I saw a Hawk moth. I was about 8 and the mere sight of it made me shiver. Strange how things that can scare a youngster turn put to be so beautiful.
    Keep up the good work.
    Cheers
    Michael
     
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  4. WOW that last shot, the detail is amazing. BRAVO.
     
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  5. raviliousness

    raviliousness Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    May 23, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Astounding and beautiful shots :eek: In particular the last one with the compound eye detail. :2thumbs:

    Just don't know how you got close enough without it flying off and how you managed to achieve focus with the ext tube Nikkor shots. Just my heart-beat swings me in and out of focus, let alone with a smallish aperture where the live-view goes grainy!

    Were the PL 45 Macro shots autofocus or your amazing manual focus skills?

    Was there enough light or were these all high speed synch (FP) flash?

    Sorry for all the questions - had a less fruitful macro afternoon myself... :frown:

    Christian
     
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  6. grebeman

    grebeman Mu-43 All-Pro

    Mar 13, 2010
    South Brent, south Devon (UK)
    Barrie
    Hi Christian,

    Many thanks for your kind comments, much appreciated.

    I've always suggested that I am a naturalist first and a photographer second, so I bring with me an insight into the behaviour of my subject. So I knew that several of the species comprising the hawkmoth family are very tolerant when it comes to posing in the manner you see here. They are not built for quick escape flights, they need to warm up their flight muscles and you will see them quivering their wings very rapidly for a minute or more before taking flight. Also when they feel comfortable about their perching position they will settle down and remain still.

    Other species will take flight within milliseconds and you'd be wasting your time attempting to photograph those, even as a general shot.

    As I recall the shots with the 45mm, f/2.8 Leica DG Macro-Elmarit were auto focus, although to be honest with you there are times when I find that it's not accurate enough, or probably more correctly it focuses on the wrong point in the subject matter and thus the focus appears to be incorrect.

    All these shots were in natural light at about 08.00 hours, so 3 hours after sunrise. I was lucky in that there was a thin veil of cloud and the sunlight was somewhat diffused, thus avoiding heavy shadows. A half decent tripod was used for all the shots, all at iso 400, the 105mm at f/8, 1/250 sec, the 45mm shots at f/8, 1/125 and 1/50 sec and the micro Nikkor at either f/11 or f/16 and 1/6 sec (note I'd use the timer at 2 seconds setting for these slow shots with a static subject).

    Barrie
     
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  7. raviliousness

    raviliousness Mu-43 Rookie

    18
    May 23, 2011
    Reading, UK
    Thanks for taking the time to fill me in Barrie - really enlightening about really needing to understand better the behaviour of the wildlife that one is observing/enjoying - in particular about the potential stillness of particular species of moths. I've always felt something special about them - since being a 9 year old at my parents' summer party and having a large ghost moth land on my hand and stay there for what seemed like about 20mins!

    Thanks for the photo capture details, too. It makes more sense now that you mention the tripod for the extreme closeup but still it's the clever composition too - which makes the best of the "available" depth of field given the light, and which were beautiful in realisation :thumbup:

    Regards :wink:

    Christian
     
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  8. Iconindustries

    Iconindustries Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Very nice photo presentation Barrie. Just like a picture book.

    It never struck me before that the moth has hair on it like a cow.

    The close up of it's eye is amazing, the poor bloke looks like he needs to wear some safety glasses.:smile:


    icon
     
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