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Figure of Eighty

By doryram
Figure of Eighty moth caught in our moth trap. Tried to use sympathetic colours for the background, composing from left to right with the moth on one diagonal and diagonal lines running from the opposite corner for energy and contrast to the lines on the moth, which run again from another corner crossing the strong diagonal lines also.

Placed moth and composed on old wooden board using ISO160, F8 at 1/50 sec and by propping my camera handheld on my camera bag.

Tags: Moth Lepidoptera Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature Close up and macro

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Ayoob 9 Australia
12 Dec 2013 1:14PM
Nice one - very well taken....Grin
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4219 Canada
12 Dec 2013 3:42PM
This is a very well taken and composed shot.

I have 2 minor suggestions Ive uploaded in a mod. Reduce or remove the colour glow under the moth, - its a touch too colourful; and sharpen the head slightly.


pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2203 United Kingdom
12 Dec 2013 8:19PM
I like the way that you have considered your composition, Rod, and also left space in front of your moth.
You've shown the moth's shape and wing patterns extremely well, and have used depth of field to good effect.

A very obliging moth, so you had the opportunity to take it from varying angles.
I am being very picky here, but I'd have liked to see a bit more of the front of the head, which would have meant moving a touch more to your right.

I've had a look the other moth shots in your portfolio and I feel that you are presenting images that I would put into the ID category. In other words, you like to show the moth from the top, resulting in an image that would be good in a book on moths.
To take this series further, you could consider developing a more creative approach to your moths, their characteristics and their beauty. A head-on shot looks unusual and dramatic, so it's worth a try if you fancy doing something different. Look to capture images of your moths from several different angles and attempt to be creative in your perspectives.
You might get a bit of inspiration from this EPZ member's pictures.

doryram 12 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2013 2:16PM
Many thanks to Willie and Pamela for taking the time to view, asses and critique this photo.
I certainly agree with Willie about a little head sharpening, though not sure about darkening under the moth, I can see the point and it is a good one, though it helps draw attention to the moth. So perhaps it is a subjective view and Willie may well be right and to what degree the brighter area around the moth is reduced is really the subjective point.

I definitely agree with Pamela about moving a little to the right and would also combine Willies comments here on sharpening the head. The moths are certainly photographed to be identifiable, but not for the purposes of id. I try to capture them as artistically as I can without losing the id of the species i.e. its nice to have as good an image as possible and also one for your own records too.
If I wanted to capture for id purposes or if any one would like to capture for id purposes then simply move a little further back and use fill in flash (I hate flash personally and don't use it), them crop to suit, back on the computer. An excellent way for recording id records with the most amount of detail. However I tend to find flash too aggressive and hard and it can pick out a lot of blown highlights especially on insects rich in chitin. I do try other perspectives of course, but generally I'm not all that impressed with them, which could be my subjective take or/and lack of technique with moths. With more readily identifiable arthropods such as arachnids (e.g. spiders) and odonata (e.g. dragonflies) different perspectives and portraits will work much better including other Lepidoptera such as butterflies.

I have not progressed to try off camera flash yet and this would be the best way of improving and maintaining natural lighting conditions.

However any way you look at it Pamela is right to suggest that I/you should try as many different angles and perspectives as possible.
Constructive critique is also one of the best ways of learning and improving and getting different views on a subject that perhaps you or I had not thought of previously. So again many thanks to Pamela and Willie for their investment of time, insights and helpful critique. To which end I have posted another moth photo, 'White Satin Moth'. Also Pamela's link to Abe's portfolio was helpful, he shares the same interests as me in macro and wildlife and is well worth checking out his portfolio.

All the best Rod
banehawi Plus
16 2.4k 4219 Canada
13 Dec 2013 2:40PM
Thanks for the feedback Rod, - always great to get some.

The area under the moth was not darkened in the mod, it has the colour de saturated, - so the effect may appear as darkening, but it simply less colour.

Abe is a master of focus stacking, - a great technique to master.

Depending on the exposure mode, which isnt indicated here, the flash on most cameras can work as a fill flash, using low power that wont overpower the subject. It normally works this way in Aperture priority mode. If you use Manual, you will have to manually reduce the flash power.

As a matter of interest, is the moth alive in this shot?


pamelajean Plus
15 1.5k 2203 United Kingdom
13 Dec 2013 2:45PM
Thank you so much for your feedback, Rod, and I appreciate all that you say.

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