This article shares a selection of Atlas Moth macro images captured handheld with an Olympus TG-5 at the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory in Niagara Falls Ontario.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge. A note of thanks to one of our readers, Ray Miller, for taking a photograph of me using the Olympus TG-5.
As you can see in Ray’s photograph, when using the Olympus TG-5 in ‘microscopic’ mode, the camera is placed almost right on top of the subject. This is not a problem with benign insects like butterflies. It is not something I would do with stinging or biting insects like bees, wasps or spiders. Ray’s photograph also provides a good reference for the size of the Atlas Moth.
The Atlas Moth is one of the world’s largest insects, with a wingspan up to 30 cm (~11.8 inches) in width.
It is native to areas of South Asia, East Asia and Southeast Asia including Borneo.
These large moths have quite small bodies compared to their wing size, making them weak, clumsy flyers. They typically rest during the day and fly at night.
Adult Atlas Moths lack fully formed mouth parts and are unable to eat. They subsist entirely on fat reserves they build up during the larval stage. They have a very short lifespan of only a few days, during which time their sole objective is finding a mate.
I quite enjoyed using the Olympus TG-5 to photograph this large and unusual moth. It takes a bit of practice to position and steady the camera when shooting macro images hand-held. Bracing my elbows and/or forearms on rocks and other structures at the facility worked well.
I purchased an Olympus LG-1 LED light guide attachment on my way to the Niagara Butterfly Conservatory. This attachment is easy to mount on the front of the TG-5 and redirects the camera’s LED light into a circular pattern around the lens. This additional illumination allows the camera to be used in very close proximity to subjects.
I tried a number of images using the TG-5’s focus stacking feature, which combines a series of photographs into a composite jpeg. I didn’t use any of those images in this article as I preferred the results obtained from using RAW files. My inexperience in processing jpegs in post was no doubt a contributing factor.
The Olympus TG-5 is quite a fun and effective camera to use for these types of extreme close ups of static subjects and benign insects. I can also see this specific capability coming in handy from time to time with some of my client projects.
All photographs in this article were captured hand-held using camera gear as per the EXIF data. All images were produced from RAW files using my standard process of DxO PhotoLab, CS6 and the Nik Collection.
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