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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:51 PM   #11
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The autumnal meadows are also rich in small predators. Here's a crab spider in the asters. These spiders can change color to match their host flower, but apparently purple is not in their repertoire!
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:53 PM   #12
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And here are some of the last of the odonates - not a very cold-tolerant group of insects!
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:54 PM   #13
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Mole, your photographs are as always.... wonderful. I also appreciate the descriptions you provide about your different flora and fauna subjects...it is an enjoyable learning experience. How do you get these macro photos...how do you set up for them, lighting, lens, camera body, etc. ?
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 8:55 PM   #14
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Hope you enjoyed one last glimpse of the abundant East Tennessee "bugs" before the frost ends so many tiny lives. Thanks in advance for any comments, critique and suggestions!
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Old Oct 10, 2012, 9:46 PM   #15
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nice shots! I haven't seen any of these guys around here. Seems like they stick around real late where you are. Im still getting used to the new environments and don't really have their schedule down yet.

Thanks for sharing

Edit: speaking of the butterfly life cycles.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 8:52 AM   #16
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Mole your posts are always an experience in learning and a visual treat. Again very nice series, thanks for sharing.

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Old Oct 11, 2012, 9:05 PM   #17
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Wonderful series Mole, both your photos and your descriptions are excellent.
Thanks for showing us your world.
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 9:57 PM   #18
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NMR - Glad you enjoyed these. As it turned out, we just missed a widespread frost by a few degrees, so the 'flies are still out and active here for a little longer. Hope you succeed in learning your neighborhood insects' schedules soon!

Bikms - Thanks for your very kind words!
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 10:11 PM   #19
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Les - Oops, I almost missed your post - so sorry! Glad you enjoyed the little "bugs."

To answer your questions:

Lighting - Usually I depend on sunlight for butterfly photos - since most butterflies prefer bright sunshine anyway. Occasionally use the on-board flash to fill in if needed, but this usually makes for some odd shadows... When working with more static subjects and in dimmer light, small tripod really helps.

Lens - Have several macro lenses - DA 35 ltd (too short for insect shots), FA 50 (probably the sharpest and best color, but it takes very slow stalking to get close enough to use this on insects), FA 100 (an ideal length for the less shy butterflies), and Adaptall 90 plus matching 2X TC to make a 180 macro (not the sharpest, but good for shiest "bugs"). Have also used a Sigma 105 macro, but mine was the non-DG version, which often resulted in odd reflections off the sensor in bright light. And have used the Sigma 70-300 semi-macro (gives 1:2 macro at 300mm), mainly for shy dragonfly shots.

Camera body - K20D

Other tips - Best success (for me) with insect macros comes with learning their habits. Knowing which plants they prefer, where their favorite perches are, which types of movements, shadows, and/or sounds scare them most, etc, helps me to figure out best approach.

For example, was out inspecting trail today, and noticed the odor of fermenting oak sap. This is a real "magnet" to certain butterfly species. All I had to do was sit down at the base of the tree and stay motionless for about 5 minutes - long enough for the 'flies to forget about me and return to their "snack." Here are a few sample shots (will post more later when time permits). These are a Mourning Cloak, a Question Mark, and a Red Admiral...(PS - used the on-board flash on these due to the dense shade. You can see the odd shadows that resulted. But these were taken mainly just to record which species were working at this location, and not intended to be excellent photos...)
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Old Oct 11, 2012, 11:37 PM   #20
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Mole, thank you for taking us along on so many of your delightful rambles in your area. Your photos are always excellent, and I elarn a lot from your narrative. Mostly though, your posts remind me to slow down and to observe the small stuff. Whenever I tramp around in the woods I typically notice the big stuff -- I love broad sweeping vistas from hilltops, but too often I miss some fascinating things that are all around. Your posts are a great reminder that the small stuff is at least as interesting as the big views!
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