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Englishman in Bandung

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Wednesday 14 December 2011: Hairy Caterpillar

Well, today was a disaster. The session at the common went well, but the electricity went down at 10am. The power was restored at 5pm but this was only a brief respite and less than an hour later it was down again, simply not enough time for processing the eighty shots that I had in the can. The power was not restored until 2am the next day, so basically this is a back blip.

Like I said, the session went well, in addition to the caterpillar, I collected images of a large male hopper (ask me how I know it was a male, LOL), several bug shots, a golden dragon and a male pansy butterfly.

The dragon was quite good but after shooting the bugs in low light, I inadvertently left the aperture at 2.4, it's widest setting. The head and legs were sharp but the rest was surreal, it did kind of have appeal though and made a worthy backup and a good addition to my growing collection.

Once again the pansy was a bit tattered, I will capture a quality image one day, I want to show this butterfly in all it's glory as the colors are amazing. The bugs (mating) and the caterpillar were shot on a thorny mimosa bush. The bugs are plentiful and will keep for another day.

The caterpillar should have been an easy shot, but I wanted to get some light behind it, to show off the haircut, an idea I had after my last caterpillar shoot, which failed to impress. To get the angle that I wanted meant wading into the bush of thorns. This is why I only wear old T-shirts for blipping and the stripes on my cheek will soon heal.

What I have learned about shooting insects is that you have to figure out what it is about the insect that people want to see or what they expect to see and enhance that feature: 'hairy' caterpillar, dragons are about the wings and eyes, wasps must show the thorax separation, millipede is obviously about the legs as are spiders and so on.

It is not so simple with some insects as their features are less obvious, less prominent or less known, like hoppers, bugs, flies, ladybirds and butterflies. You are probably thinking that butterflies should be in the previous paragraph with their vibrant colors, but simply documenting the colors often results in a mundane catalogue image.

The ladybird shot is proving to be a particular challenge. I want a shot of the outer casing open, just as it is about to fly. This is proving to be very difficult as there is a time lag between the button press and the actual capture, I have a huge collection of fresh air shots which get filed in the round hole.

Of course, often you just don't get the opportunity to experiment and have to play the hand that you are dealt, but different viewing angles add perspective add considerable interest in my humble opinion.

Dave

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