Silk Worm Moth Closeup

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A Silk Worm Moth. Hyalophora euryalus. You can tell this is a female because of the fat, bulbous body. If you want to know more, click here.
When a huge moth appears at your window, be sure to have a camera ready. A good technique for photographing an insect like this is to place it in the refridgerator for a short time. First, you must catch the moth, and Niner the Kitty had eyes for this one. Fortunately, one swat was not enough to even damage the wings on this beast. The moth will be very patient as it warms up. Unfortunately, this one shivered for a few minutes and I felt sorry for it enough that I tried to warm it up with the warm beam of a flashlight. Click here for a larger version of this image.

I tried to take pictures with a variety of backgrounds, but found that even in a cold state, the moth has very effective claws on a terry cloth towel. The moth ended up staying on the towel until it warmed up completely.

This shows just how large the moth was. It looked like a large butterfly at first, but the feathered antenna are present only on moths. This image is underexposed, unfortunately most of my moth pictures were underexposed because I put the flash into "test flash mode" to check for shadows and failed to take it out of that mode for most of the pictures. This was a 540EZ flash unit mounted on top of the camera, pointed down at it's -7 degree position and set to a fairly wide angle because of the closeness of the subject. I should have also used the ML-3 ring light, as there is too much shadow and you cannot see the moth's body well.

This is the only picture I have where you can see both wings from the top. It's grainy and low in contrast but it's a tribute to my 10 bit scanner that you can see any detail at all. It serves as a lesson: When one gets a chance at an exciting subject for photography, one should not forget critical things like exposure settings on the camera.

This picture shows the detail of the feathery antennae. The entire moth was fuzzy. I adjusted the scanner to show more details in the shadowy areas, thus the difference in the saturation of this image. Click here for a larger version of this image.

Here's a closeup of the detail on the wing. After Niner had swatted the moth to the ground, I rushed to pick it up before the cat did anything more. The wings were so robust that they felt like they had bones in them!

All photos Copyright © by Adam Lane. All rights reserved.