I finally got round to setting up my moth trap in the garden last night. I had popped it away safely for the winter after buying it late last season, 2nd hand. I then had to locate the 12v battery that powers the Actinis bulb and charge that up… finally I was ready to go. I set it up in the middle of a small circular lawn. The conditions were perfect… a warm and still July night!
I was up early, as you really need to check the trap and release your captives as soon as you can. I had decided I was not going to be too fussed about all the micro small brown moths… but start by just selecting the most distinctive ones. I have not to any specimen pots (although I did order some today!) so I carried the trap down to my conservatory, where I had set up my little studio. I started to check the egg boxes inside. Lots of small brown moths… and a couple of interesting (as of yet unidentified) moths and then I turned over one box to reveal what I had been hoping for… a Hawkmoth…. and not any old Hawkmoth; the stunning Elephant Hawkmoth! I was excited to say the least!
These moths are not only amazing to look at but amazingly tolerant and docile. They will happily sit in one position and do not really attempt to fly in the daylight unless really forced to do so. Handled gently and they will pretty sit on whatever you put them on! I gently moved it into my studio and took a selection of shots, from different angles. It is a truly stunning moth!
Later in the day, my dad popped over. He is a very keen macro photographer and loves insects, particularly bees. He spent a lot of time watching my bee hotels where the leaf cutter bees are now nesting… he was keen to get some shots of them in and out with their neatly cut leaf sections….
My Hawkmoth was now on a piece of bark I had found for it and it posed beautifully, giving dad and I plenty of opportunities to get the perfect shot. I supported the camera and shot on a really slow shutter speed to achieve a good depth of focus…
The wonderful thing about macro photography is that it enables you to really study an insect up close and see details you would never see normally. This is quite the most beautiful moth I have ever had the pleasure to photograph and the colours are truly incredible. This moth stayed on the bark until it was dark, before it disappeared into the night.. what a total privilege to have been able to study it in so much detail…. It was also great to spend a couple of hours with my dad…. his love of the natural world was definitely played a big part in making me what I am today! Thanks dad!
Check out my dad’s (@Ed_P_Wildlife) work at: http://www.edphillipswildlife.com