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.
Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina mothIMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Y1YkkM Merville du Jour 3 by Stephen Barlow, on Flickr
Merveille du Jour Griposia aprilina mothIMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/YY1AEJ Brindled Green by Stephen Barlow, on Flickr
Brindled Green Dryobotodes eremita mothIMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/Y1Yeyr Red-line Quaker by Stephen Barlow, on Flickr
Red-lined Quaker Agrochola lota mothIMAGE LINK: https://flic.kr/p/YY1zh3 Black Rustic by Stephen Barlow, on Flickr
Black Rustic Aporophyla nigra moth.
Blair's Shoulder-knot Lithophane leautieri moth