Thursday, 28 May 2009

Aces high

I'm just back from a couple of days at Hay on Wye, helping to promote Guardian Books (check out books link above left, and spend, spend, spend...) It's been raining too, though the prospects look better for tonight. So here's a picture from three weeks ago of the highest butterfly I've ever met - a Field Crescent near the tramway station at 10,386ft on Mount Sandia above Albuquerque in New Mexico. I know what it is, thanks to the completely brilliant website Butterflies and Moths of North America which I mentioned a couple of days ago - A couple of emailed pictures, and their moth monitors for New Mexico, Paul Opler and Steve Cary, were back on to me with the details (also of the moth I posted the other day, which - yo for my faltering identification skills - is indeed a Spotted Tussock). Many thanks, guys. Ain't the modern world grand? It would have taken weeks, pre-internet to track such things down in books.

While discussing high-fliers, here's another picture taken by my son Olly of a butterfly visiting a lofty windowsill on the Royal College of Art in London - late afternoon by the length of the shadow. It obviously knew where it was going - it's a Painted Lady.
btw the Field Crescent isn't my highest-ever insect. That was a moth which was on the same flight as us from Manchester to Skiathos a few years ago.


Milnrowmart said...

Dear Martin
As one who is just starting out could you tell me what you use for photography? I presume a digital SLR with an extension tube? Many thanks.

MartinWainwright said...

Hi there and good to hear from you - and sorry for the delay in replying. I use a Cannon digital Ixus 750 (compact, which is why my pics are a bit blurry...) I usually put it on the first (automatic) setting and then press for Micro (with the little flower symbol), but sometimes I use the manual setting to suppress flash, which tends to distort the colours. My sons (as ever) showed me how to do this and when they next visit, I'll ask if there are other tricks which I need to learn - in which case I'll pass them on. Oh, and I also use a little tripod sometimes to try and make things more stable. Are you in Milnrow and if so, are the moths good there? All warm wishes, M

Milnrowmart said...

I have a Skinner box which I have tried a few times without luck up to recently. But managed to get a rather small one. I tried photographing it using the little flower setting on my battered old compact but it came out rather blurred. So I've decided to invest in a SLR. I set up the box about table height. Perhaps it would be better on the ground. Also the smell of my new paint might have put them off. So perhaps it is a bit early to say that Milnrow is rubbish for moths.Thanks very much for your advice. M.