Some people relish a challenge, me not so much.  Nowadays I much prefer the ‘easy life’.  That said there has been an insect in the garden that threw down the gauntlet and challenged me to photograph it.  The creature in question is the Hummingbird Hawk-moth (Macroglossum stellatarum).  These are summer migrants mostly from southern Europe.  Some years they appear here in good numbers, this is one of those years.  The difficulty in getting a good image is they are hyped up and seem to run on a mixture of full strength coffee and nitromethane!  Luckily the little devils love Red Valerian, a flower that we have plenty of in the garden.  So it was a case of bide my time and be patient.

Easy to see how the Hummingbird Hawk-moth gets it’s name. A plain background, in this instance paving slabs, helps the auto focus lock on. The settings for this shot were iso 320, 1/1500s @f8 using my macro lens. The image is slightly cropped to get decent dof
This background challenges the auto focus
An evening shot. Without the benefit of sun iso was 500, 1/1500s and f.stop only 4.8 = very shallow depth of field

48 thoughts on “Challenge

  1. I have seen similar insects here in SW Virginia, bussing around the Lantana … always when I don’t have my camera and proper lens.You did a great job capturing them in action. I think many non-photographers have no idea how difficult it often is to take these sorts of photos.

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  2. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing a Snowberry Clearwing variety once here and I have to agree – a definite challenge to tin them. Wonderful job on your shots – better than I did with my encounter. Cool to see a different variety of that moth.

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  3. Oh, my goodness, these are awesome! I discovered the hummingbird moths last summer. We had an exceptional rainy spring, and the caterpillars came to eat all our green. Once I discovered these moths, I hunted them down and stalked them with my camera! They are amazing and beautiful! Wonderful photos you got!

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  4. Wonderful to see your photos of the hummingbird moth, Brian. We occasionally see them here in No. Calif. and they are beautiful creatures but oh so difficult to photographically capture due to their incredible speed. Well done.

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  5. I have attempted capturing photos of a similar variety of moth in Ohio. Definitely not easy getting sharp photos. These photos are superb!

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