Sunday, July 15, 2007

Butterfly ranching

Since I have begun taking an interest in photographing butterfly, dragonfly and other insects I have found that I have a friend, Mary, at work who raises butterflies. I thought that it would be interesting and educational to document the various stages of a butterfly. So Mary has been nice enough to bring a black swallowtail caterpillar in to work so that I can observe, and take pictures, as it becomes a butterfly.Black swallowtail are relatively easy to find, with the female typically laying eggs on members of the carrot family especially parsley, dill or fennel. Mary grows parsley in her garden so that she can collect black swallowtail eggs and caterpillar to raise.

The caterpillar has already grown to be about twice the size that it was when she first brought it in. So I will post a new picture each week as it grows and changes. One thing though, the fluorescent lighting inside work is not the best to take pictures under so next week I think that I may try and persuade Mary to go outside to take the picture.


Scott said...

For shooting bugs, get a +4 filter to screw onto the end of your lens to bring the focal point closer. You can often find a set with +1, +2, +4 filters for $15 or so on ebay. I usually end up with the front element of my lens being about 2" from the bug I'm shooting. Use the flash, even in full daylight, and the smallest aperture that works, expect that to be around f/29 in the sun and f/16 in the shade.

Ecobirder said...

Thanks for the advice Scott. I have actually decided to take things a step further and I have ordered a Canon 100 f2.8 Macro lens. The filters would definetely be a more ecomonical solution but this way I wont have to mess around with switching between macro filter and polarizing filter on my 28/50MM lens. We will see how it works on the updated post later this week.