National Moth Week is back, and I’m happy to be taking part once again. I think moths are a great example of the everyday beauty that’s around us all the time but often goes unnoticed. Here’s some of my photos and artwork over the past year featuring the creatures, and there will be more to come this week. For more information – and to take part – check out NationalMothWeek.org.
The Savoia features my artwork at their excellent site. If you enjoy my blog, definitely check out The Savoia, too!
Since I’ve discovered iphoneography, I’ve also been discovering more beauty in our everyday surroundings. And after purchasing a Photojojo macro lens for my iPhone, I’ve also developed a fascination with and appreciation for moths. I never took much notice of moths until getting a close up view for some macro insect photography, inspired by what I’d been seeing at Instagram.
I had no idea moths were so butterfly-like, hairy to the point of fuzziness, and often with large, deep eyes. I used Hipstamatic to get this photo of one on my front door. If you’re interested, definitely check out NationalMothWeek.org for more info.
Could this Moth be Hemithea aestivaria?
If I had to guess, I’d say: Hemithea aestivaria, or the Common Emerald. If you have expertise in this field, please feel free to weigh in with a proper ID. More photos of this guy are at my Flickr photostream. Thanks!
What do you think? Ever discovered an interest in something after getting a closer look? Have you ever seen a particularly interesting moth? What are your favorite insects? Let us hear from you in the comments!
- Moth Drama: Transforming The Ordinary into Art (rsmithing.com)
- Mad About Moths: National Moth Week (National Geographic)
- Moths in the Night (waiyukkennedy.wordpress.com)
- National Moth Week (The Dragonfly Woman)
- Single Image Sundays: Moth At The Door (rsmithing.com)
- Nature: Beautiful Moths Are In Abundance (Houston Chronicle)
- Moths All Night (NC Museum of Natural Sciences)
- the other lepidopterans (rebeccainthewoods.wordpress.com)
- National Moth Week July 2012 (scientificamerican.com)
- The Moth (jrants2012.wordpress.com)
- National Moth Week July 23-29, 2012 (Bug Girl’s Blog)
Right place, right time, Hipstamatic and a bit of luck.
- Moth Drama: Transforming The Ordinary into Art (rsmithing.com)
- Single Image Sundays: Inch Nail (rsmithing.com)
- Single Image Sundays: Skull Pendant (rsmithing.com)
- The Mother of All Moths (neatorama.com)
- Photojournalism~The Future Is Hipstamatic (darrenstone1.wordpress.com)
- National Moth Week – Single Image Sundays (rsmithing.com)
- National Moth Week kicks off with release of photographic encyclopedia of Northwest moths (oregonlive.com)
Here’s a look at how a simple moth can serve as subject for a striking, dramatic image by way of a macro lens attachment and some basic iPhone app editing (mainly Photoforge2, which I review here). Through the course of nine images, I take you through how the ordinary transforms into a fulfilling creative experience.
The effect of the final image above reflects my initial vision: dramatic gravity drawing the eye to the fine and generally unseen detail in this humble moth. To me, this is a great example of how photography, especially when spurred by photo-sharing experiences like Instagram, can elevate our everyday surroundings to an evocative level of art readily appreciated by others.
In the case of the final image, I got the texture I was after by shooting with Hipstamatic then adjusting the result of that with layers in Photoforge2. But I wanted more dimension than just grayscale, so I added some red. To do this, I duplicated the grayscale layer and added red via the “colorize” function. Then I then masked portions of the top (red) layer to allow the bottom (gray) layer to appear through, using varying brush sizes and opacities. Finally, I set the blending mode of the top (red) layer to overlay, and set the opacity to 75%. Same principles also work in Photoshop, which is one reason I so strongly endorse Photoforge2.
If the above description gets you excited (you nerd), definitely check out the step-by-step series with notes at Flickr.
What do you think? Have you taken the ordinary to an artful place through photography or some other means? Have you done any macro photography of your own, and if so what’s your experience been like? What gear do you recommend? What’s your opinion on creating art from the everyday world? Do you find tips/tutorials like this useful? Let us hear from you in the comments!
- A 15 Minute Exercise To Help You Improve Your Photography in 2012 (digital-photography-school.com)
- #10 : Inspired by an iPhone app (dailyinspiration2012.wordpress.com)
- The gigya shortcode 2 – inserting Flickr slideshows (WordPress Tips)
- The Jungleamongus: 5 Tips for Great Insect Photography (rsmithing.com)
We are surrounded all the time by insects. There are WAY more of them than there are of us, by many millions. When the Earth recovers after inevitable, mutual self-assured destruction, there will be two things left: smoldering rubble and cockroaches. They outlived the dinosaurs; they’ll be here long after you.
Insects are at once simple and complex: sets of multiple eyes and limbs coordinated for a focused mission, hunting and being hunted in the shadows, in the air. Basic bodies and life mechanisms forming energy into movement for eating, mating, moving in their own world, amid our world. Also, they’re kinda creepy, with they way they… you know, creep.
So, here I’ve gathered here some of my recent encounters with the buggy set. For the record: none of these creatures were harmed in the creation of these images/video. Annoyed? Probably. Harmed? No. All images here link to hi-res originals, pre-editing.
For more inane animal videos, especially of cats, check my YouTube channel.
What brought me to this were some compelling photos I’d been perusing through Instagram (yep, still obsessed) of insect close-ups and other micro-world views. I started asking folks how they wrung such detail from their iPhones, and was eventually steered to Photojojo’s macro/wide angle attachment lens.
Holy crap, is this thing awesome. Basically, it’s a scaled-down jeweler’s loop that magnetically attaches to your iPhone, droid, or other camera phone, giving a magnified, super-clear view of your subject matter.
Video via blog.clove.co.uk
For the record, I do not work for Photojojo; I’m just an enthusiastic customer. And I’m now enjoying being turned on to a universe of detail I didn’t know existed before getting this gadget. And it’s not just for bugs; this thing opens up a vast dimension of beauty to flowers, textures, or even leaves. There’s a whole new level of minuscule subject matter now available that’s seriously rewarding and enlightening to experience. I had no idea moths were so bushy — now I’m fascinated by them.
Camera phone macro lenses open mini-frontiers with ease, and I encourage anyone with the inclination to pursue some macro photography (and if you or someone you know is of South Asian descent, possibly help out Photojojo founder Amit Gupta, recently diagnosed with acute leukemia). On to the tips…
5 Tips for Great Insect Photos
- Get a macro lens. For the price of a good pizza, you’ll get a supremely major upgrade to your gear. They’re easy to use and aren’t just for iPhones. In addition to Photojojo, there are several other possibilities worth considering.
- Isolate the subject under a clean glass with a clear sheet of white paper underneath in a well-lit area. But don’t do this so long that you cut off its air supply.
- Be at the ready with your finger on the button to snap a photo. Since a bug under a glass generally darts around in a panic, you don’t want to miss out when it finally comes within focus range.
- Go hunting in your own yard, sidewalk, or if you’re really brave, the basement. The simple moth I noticed flapping around a light at my door one night turned out to be one of my favorite photo subjects, with fluffy fur and big, deep eyes. Kinda like a teddy bear (OK, maybe that’s a stretch). So grab a glass and get to know your visitors.
- Set them free in an advantageous location. If you can return a bug to the wild near something close to its own habitat (dark corner for a spider, bright light for a moth), you’ll be restoring some balance to the universe. Or, at least helping feed the birds. Ah, the cycle of life.