Readers’ wildlife photos

June 17, 2014 • 4:30 am

by Matthew Cobb

Jonathan Eisen (aka @phylogenomics) tw**ted this lovely photo of a hawk moth feeding in his yard yesterday

He followed it up with this:

Jonathan tentatively ID’d the beast as Agrius cingulatus, but when I asked him if I could post the photos here (he said yes), Phil Torres chipped in:

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Someone asked him if it was taken on an iPhone – here’s the answer (note the PLoS [Public Library of Science] tote bag – Jonathan is one of the leading advocates of Open Access publication). He has a Nikon D90 w/ 105mm Nikkor Micro lens…

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Now I know what I should have asked for for Father’s Day….

22 thoughts on “Readers’ wildlife photos

  1. Oooo, a Timbuk2 messenger bag with the PLoS logo! That would have made a very nice Father’s Day present indeed.

  2. Taken with an iPhone?! Hmmmm. I guess it’s no different, really, from when 110 cameras were popular.

    (I think that lower-case i has become some sort of magical icon for some people. Use your i-thingie and magic will happen …)

    1. I showed a picture of a hummingbird I took and the person asked if I took it with my phone (I did show the picture on the iPad so maybe that started it). I also had the same person utter the completely annoying remark, “wow, you must have a great camera”. I cringed but didn’t say anything as I know people saying this mean no harm but I do have to wonder if they praise the pots, pans and ovens someone has when they thank him/her for a delicious meal!

      1. Yeah but … there really is something to be said for good glass and a good camera body. You can’t get a sharp image with a crappy lens.

        That said, people who don’t know photography attribute far too much to the technical side and not enough to: artistic sense, forethought, and putting oneself in the right place at the right time (planning). To many it looks like: Press a button on a fancy machine and you get a nice photo. Which is why so many SLRs went unused after the first few rolls of film in the 70s and 80s. Wow, it’s not as easy at it looks!

        And I do ask people about their cooking gear! Because that’s important to me too. (Much more important to me that it seems to be to almost anyone else. I really appreciate using GOOD TOOLS. 🙂 )

        1. The remark really does take the artist out of the art. The idea is that if I handed over my camera and lens to anyone, that other person could recreate exactly the same picture because taking pictures just requires a good camera and a nice lens. How many times have you heard, “oh sure, anyone can take a good picture if they spend as much money as so and so does on equipment”. It’s why people think there uncle can take just as good wedding pictures as a professional (I still remember cringing at a wedding when a friend with an SLR shot the bride and groom by backing up rapidly, using the kit lens and no flash in a dark church). Yikes.

  3. What an adorable moth! Looks more like an owl than a hawk to me.

    I never thought my regular flash would work with my macro lens….now I’ll try that combination out! It’s prime bug season here!

    1. It couldn’t be a hawkmoth, it’s sipping from a flower. A hawkmoth dives at its prey from above, driving its talons at 200mph into the hapless butterfly.
      It must be true, I saw it on the Discovery Channel.

  4. The D90 is a pretty good camera. I have one, but can’t shoot like this! The only annoyance is that if you wish to shoot video you cannot use an external microphone. Oh, and it’s not full frame if that’s an issue.

    Than Nikkor is a very nice piece of glass too.

    1. I’ll second that, Chris. I used Nikon gear during my film (don’t ask) days, and of all my Nikkor lenses, the 105mm Micro was far and away the sharpest. It’s an awesome piece of work.

  5. I raise tomatoes every year and am familiar with the large Sphinx moths whose larvae are the familiar “tomato worms”. One day I found a gray adult that had just hatched out and was letting its wings expand on a stake in my garden. I picked it up, only to be surprised by a thin stream of liquid that came out of its butt that squirted at least a foot- a chemical defense mechanism, no doubt; good thing I had its rear pointed away from me!

    1. When those are in caterpillar form, they will rise up and make clicking sounds to scare you away as well.

    2. I think it’s part of the process after metamorphosis – the imago ends up with a lot of unnecessary fluid in its body after changing from a fat juicy caterpillar into the much trimmer and presumably lighter flying adult.

  6. Very jealous of the “Nikon D90 w/ 105mm Nikkor Micro lens”!

    Just put it on your next birthday list Matthew!

  7. Excellent photographs, Jonathan! I’ve always had difficulty getting sharp images of sphinx moths in flight. They’re awfully fast, and a lot more unpredictable than hummingbirds.

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