From a neighbour I received the information that he saw some Swallowtails on a carrot field....and when there are Swallowtails, there are caterpillars. Unfortunately this carrot field was recently treated with poison so last Friday I could not find a single sign of life on it. I remembered an other carrot field near a forest not far away. Fortunately this carrot field was full of life.....birds, other insects, spiders and marks of Beech Martens......and caterpillars of the Swallowtail. Most of the caterpillars which I found were little and black (1st or 2nd caterpillar stage). As this field was not treated with poison yet, I took some green carrot leaf back home to feed the caterpillars. On my kitchen table (in a special box for caterpillars) they are eating, eating and eating and it's amazing how quick they grow when they have no cold night temperatures. As some of them almost have reached their last caterpillar stage, I used them as a photo model when they were resting.
I started with my 'normal' 180 mm macro lens and tried to create a kind of surrealistic caterpillar image with a lens opening of F 3.5. The second caterpillar was resting on a carrot stalk and I photographed him with the MP-E 65 mm lens. On the second photo I used a 2 x magnification with a lens opening of F 13 and a shutter time of 4 seconds. On the third photo I tried a 3 x magnification with again a lens opening of F 13 and a shutter time of 8 seconds. With 8 seconds it was difficult (not impossible) to get a sharp photo as the caterpillar was moving sometimes or one of my cats came around to cuddle with my tripod.
In a few days the first caterpillars will transform into a chrysalis and I hope that I will be lucky to photograph this process again as this is one of het most amazing events in a butterfly life!
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