August is a great time to see the larva of the elephant hawk moth, one of our most iconic hawk moths, with a striking pink and brown marking. The larva is a large caterpillar with a long elongated "nose" that gives it the name we know. It can also withdraw it's nose, making the head end look very big compared to the rest of the body and the markings resembling eyes really stand out - a great defensive technique.
I found this one making it's way towards my house in the back garden - they tend to go on a bit of a pilgrimage this time of year and can get quite a head of steam up! This is when it is finding a place to pupate, where it will stay until next spring.
They are fascinating to photograph as being so big, you can bring out all the details, markings and textures really well and almost full of the frame with little cropping.
They make fantastic macro photography subjects as they have a velvety texture to their skin which really makes a nice "matt finish" look on the images. As long as you don't impede their journey too much they are quite comfortable to photograph, and don't seem to mind any off-camera flash system I used. All these shots were taken on the trusty Olympus E-5, Sigma 105mm f2.8 lens, and FL36R remote Olympus flash. The flash is slightly diffused, thinner than most diffusers to still bring out the contrast and detail that some heavy diffusers can hinder.
I was pleased to see my second one of these and photograph it, I got one last year at the back of garden as well. So be aware when walking around your grass in the evenings as these guys might be out on one of their treks!
About this blog:
Photographic adventures from from behind the DGPix Wildlife & Nature Photography lens!