Friday, 3 August 2012

Going for gold: Olympic moths 1

Britain has suddenly hauled itself up the Olympic Games medal table - though 'hauled' is a rather crude word for the wonderfully smooth rowing of our women's pair. The science of rowing fascinates me as an occasional sculler; watch as the boats pause, indeed almost slip back slightly, before each surge forward as the oars dip and pull. Any designer who could crack this hiccough would win every medal going.

Anyway, I will try to feature moths appropriate to each grade of medal between now and Monday, although I will be lucky if the trap provides me with such ideal candidates as the Silvery Arches or the Goldwing. This morning, though, this Burnished Brass was dozing away and it will do nicely for bronze. I'm posting two pictures to show how another interesting department of science - focus - affects even micro-mode digital photographs of a creature as small as a moth.  The first is better focused on the BB's head and tufty hairstyle; the second on its glowing wing. Perhaps you can make another technical breakthrough by merging them on Photoshop.

You can click on the pics to make them exquisitely, or frighteningly, bigger.


sarah meredith said...

Hey Martin - we are very much enjoying your Olympics and loved the excitement when you got the first gold. And those cute young royals - I know not everyone over there loves the monarchy, but we over here adore them and it is such fun to see them pop up in the various bleachers. The panoramas of London and the cliffs and great houses are spectacular - it certainly makes us yearn for England's green and pleasant land! This moth is spectacular in its close-up and although I know you mentioned it at some point in your blogs, I wonder if you could repeat the kind of camera you use for these shots. My little point and shoot has reached its finish line and search though I have on the web, I don't seem to be able to figure out - amongst far too many possibilities - what would be a good camera to replace it. So I figure I should base my choice on which one takes good photos - like yours!
Anyway, love to you and Penny and enjoy the rest of the games!

MartinWainwright said...

Moth loving Americans, all hail!

And congrats to your superfish Katie Ledecky! We love Rebecca Adlington but she was well beaten this time.

Very glad you are enjoying the games. Touch wood, all has gone very well so far, although apparently the rest of London is empty of tourists. Interesting that holding such a mega-event seems to put the ordinary visitor off.

We're down there for the Paralympics cos Tom and Abi's 'best girl' Susie Rogers (aka The Suze Missile) is in the British swimming team.

Now to cameras. I have used two Cannon Ixus digital ones, both compact and very easy for a simpleton such as myself. The first one gradually overheated until smoke came out every time I used flash and finally pictures ended up bleached. That was after very long use and the shop said it was unusual.

The second - current - one is about the same age - seems to be called 5.0 mega pixels and it will certainly have been improved-on by now. I would definitely trust the Canon Ixus make, or its successor(s) and the key thing with small wildlife is to have micro mode. I'll prob email you with more, cos Olly seems to be able to get it on to a sort of super-micro, I always forget how. But you don't really need that.

Maybe the other thing to bear in mind, is that with a moth trap you have compliant subjects (ie asleep or very dozy) so you can get up very close. You can do this, too, when stalking things such as butterflies as I did in France, but it is obviously a bit harder. Olly says that the shutter speed is so quick that if you can get close, just press the button, and any wobble etc shouldn't make too much difference provided the focus is on your quarry.

I mustn't bore on, but I also use a small tripod which is handy when you have the time and a co-operative moth,.

xxxx M and P (and O, T and A)

sarah meredith said...

Hi Martin - I appreciate your info about the camera and in fact, I was all set to order a Canon Powershot S 100 (the newest model) when we had a visit at the farm from good friends and their peripatetic son who happens to be in the States at the moment. He had travelled with a Canon S95 - taking gorgeous shots of the far east, but said that if it were up to him right now, he would follow the advice of the NYTimes tech writer - David (?) Pogue - who wrote a review extolling the extraordinary virtues of the new Sony point and shoot whose number I forget. It is expensive, but after reading all sorts of reviews and talking with our young friend, it seems like this camera will do what I need it to do. . .so I took the plunge. On verra, as they say. I have a few canvases that have been awaiting a new photo, so the proof will be in the blog!
On the nature front, we have had many many (sadly unphotographed) monarch-like butterflies this summer and yesterday a fantastic and largish hummingbird did its thing right in front of where we were sitting on the front porch for a luxuriously long time! xxs

MartinWainwright said...

Great news! And useful to us, cos I think the Canon won't last many more seasons. Penny and I will have a look online. P says she'd ideally like one with a big 'screen' on the back, as we age and our eyes fade...

Monarchs and humming birds... We are green with jealousy. Now to visit the Meredith blogs

xM & P