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Thread started 01 Oct 2017 (Sunday) 15:46
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Moth Trap results

 
SteB
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Joined Oct 2008
Whitchurch, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Oct 01, 2017 15:46 |  #1

I thought I'd post some images from a moth trap today, set on the edge of Fenns and Whixall Moss National Nature Reserve. We got several Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina moths, and these are a particularly handsome moth I saw for the first time today. This is only a sample because we got far more species than this, and I got far more photos of species. The technique I use is very simple, and that is to get the moth to climb up a stick, hold the stick up to the sky and use fill-in flash from the front to illuminate what otherwise would be a silhouette. In one case the moth ran up the stick onto my left hand and on to the cuff of my jacket. It was a jumpy moth and any attempt to transfer it back would have resulting in it flying off. To get a moth or any other insect to climb on something you just push it against it's front feet. Unfortunately with some moth species this results in them jumping. The way to transfer them is to put the stick in front of them and touch them from behind. Then they tend to jump onto the stick. Once on the stick leave them to settle before trying to photograph them.

Unfortunately when it's windy as it was this morning the moths starting warming up by vibrating their wings getting ready to fly off as soon as they feel the breeze. You either have to photograph them quickly or find a more sheltered spot. The flash will freeze them when they are vibrating their wings, although obviously it's difficult to judge the precise placement of the plane of focus. In additional, if the sky is bright you will end up with a grey border from ghosting. A blue sky, with a few fluff white clouds looks best, but generally you've got to use what sky there is, and unfortunately this morning it was leaden and grey.

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4414/37172141710_c5765acbc8_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/YCLW​F1] (external link)Merveille du Jour (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr
Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina moth

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4450/36766970343_623fe84d41_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Y1Yk​kM] (external link)Merville du Jour 3 (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr
Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina moth

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4498/37389819406_a70cd78003_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/YY1A​EJ] (external link)Brindled Green (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr
Brindled Green Dryobotodes eremita moth

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4374/36766950893_172bc62437_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Y1Ye​yr] (external link)Red-line Quaker (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr
Red-lined Quaker Agrochola lota moth

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4476/37389814726_1c9bbd4311_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/YY1z​h3] (external link)Black Rustic (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr
Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra moth.

Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri moth

https://www.flickr.com​/photos/steb1/ (external link)

https://fennsandwhixal​lmossdiaries.wordpress​.com/ (external link)



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LordV
Macro Photo-Lord of the Year 2006
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Worthing UK
Oct 02, 2017 00:34 |  #2

Lovely series of captures.
Brian V.


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SteB
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Joined Oct 2008
Whitchurch, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Oct 02, 2017 16:09 as a reply to LordV's post |  #3

Thanks Brian. I've been experimenting with different approaches to photographing moths out of traps. Plus I've been learning a bit more about them this last couple of years. It's a great help to have experienced moth trappers to hand as there's rather a lot of moths, and to tell the truth many of them used to look pretty similar to me. I probably should have used complete natural light with the Black Rustic as to the eye they look fairly black. Next year I'll have to get back into focus stacking because moths are a bit to 3D for capturing with a single exposure.




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Lester ­ Wareham
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Joined Jul 2005
Hampshire, UK
Oct 03, 2017 13:05 |  #4

Wonderful captures and selection. Looks like you have got excellent results with a quick methodology.

Moth trapping and photographing is an interesting topic. You could share your experience being doing a short techniques thread if you like the idea. I would be very interested for one.


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SteB
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Whitchurch, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Oct 05, 2017 03:59 as a reply to Lester Wareham's post |  #5

Thanks Lester. Yes, I'd like share some insights. It will only be provisional though as I need more time to explore the possibilities. I'll do a full post when I've got time and there are a few trapping sessions to go yet.

Really, I'm only a beginner with moth trapping and mothing, and don't run my own traps yet, but those other people have set. But as these traps are set on or around a very large national nature reserve there are lots of very interesting and often quite rare moths in the traps. Plus I've been getting into finding and photographing some of the rare day flying moths on Fenns and Whixall Moss NNR. I like spreading ideas for others to use and develop. I think there's a lot of potential in moth trappers working with macro photographers. Both the photography and identifying the contents of moth traps is time consuming. In other words if you are counting and identifying moths from a moth trap there isn't really time to photograph them. Unless you are one of a handful of experts who can identify most moths from memory, which is very difficult given how many species there are, it is time consuming to just identify the contents when a moth trap is fairly full. So ideally I think someone has to do the photography, and someone the identification and counting.

With moth identification nothing beats experience. Most moths soon get worn, a lot look superficially similar, and so the patterns never exactly represent those you see in the guide books. But moth trappers who are used to seeing these moths at various stages, or their different forms recognise them much easier.

I got the idea of using a stick and holding it up to the sun because quite a few mothers use a stick to pick up moths from the traps to examine them. So it's just a matter of doing the same with a more natural looking stick, holding it up to the sky, and using flash to fill-in what would otherwise be a silhouette. It can look really good when there's a bit of blue in the sky. I found you have to use an ISO of about 200-640 at the flash synch speed to get a correctly balanced shot with an aperture of between f8-11. It actually works well with a simple bounce card. I haven't perfected it yet. Some moths aren't easy to pick up as they jump. I just found a solution to this. Most insects automatically climb up something if you push it against their front feet. I've developed a method for photographing pollinators such as hoverflies and bees like this. If you snip of the same sort of flower (it has to be a type of flower there are a lot of), then if you just push the flower you are holding in your left hand directly to the front of the feeding hoverfly or bee, it will often just climb onto the flower you are holding. You can then just hold the flower up, rest end of the lens on your wrist and turn the flower around until you have a perfect angle on the insect.

Here's some moths from earlier with better sky (I haven't posted most because my sensor was dirty from the Spring pollen, and the sky was covered in dust spots. In other words it takes ages just to spot out all the sensor dirt. But I've cleaned my sensors since.

Elephant Hawk Moth

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4256/35157905372_5b1ab474d4_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/VyMs​oh] (external link)Elephant Hawk Moth (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr


Peppered Moth

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4250/34958468590_e3eea5ae68_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Vgah​M5] (external link)Peppered Moth (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr


Silvery Arches

IMAGE: https://farm5.staticflickr.com/4365/35906290914_49c80847ef_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/WGV8​kh] (external link)Silvery Arches (external link) by Stephen Barlow (external link), on Flickr



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davholla
Senior Member
Joined Nov 2014
Oct 05, 2017 09:02 |  #6

SteB wrote in post #18466342 (external link)
Thanks Lester. Yes, I'd like share some insights. It will only be provisional though as I need more time to explore the possibilities. I'll do a full post when I've got time and there are a few trapping sessions to go yet.

Really, I'm only a beginner with moth trapping and mothing, and don't run my own traps yet, but those other people have set. But as these traps are set on or around a very large national nature reserve there are lots of very interesting and often quite rare moths in the traps.

How did you find about the traps set on the reserve?




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SteB
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Joined Oct 2008
Whitchurch, Shropshire, United Kingdom
Oct 05, 2017 12:23 |  #7

davholla wrote in post #18466453 (external link)
How did you find about the traps set on the reserve?

I'm a voluntary reserve warden.




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Moth Trap results
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