On the 6th April (22 days after finding the pupa) the cocoon split and a beautiful Angle Shades moth (Phlogophora meticulosa) finally emerged. I was beginning to think that the pupa had died and that my daily breaths of moist air had been in vain. So it was both a relief and surprise to find that the pupa had made its perilous transition to maturity and that the emerged moth would soon be released on its dangerous journey to hopefully find a mate before completing its life cycle. I was pleased and excited that it turned out to be an Angle Shades moth. This is one of my favourite moths, with its jungle green camouflage and beautiful shades of pink being very attractive features.

The captures that follow were all studio shots using Sigma 150mm macro and two diffused flashes.

The pupa split and a beautiful Angle Shades moth emerged

Angle Shades in resting pose

Wings showing jungle green camouflage and beautiful shades of pink

Angle Shades starting to vibrate wings and warm up

For more naturalistic and aesthetically pleasing shots I transferred the Angle Shades to a moss covered rock found in my back garden.

Angle Shades resting on moss covered rock

Angle Shades ready to take flight

Tokina 35mm macro – Self Portrait with Angle Shades

I wanted to experiment with the idea of including myself as well as the moth. I used a relatively wide 35mm macro on a tripod with remote switch attachment. By focusing on the moth and using a fairly wide depth of field and diffused flashes, I was able to carefully position myself as if looking at the moth before firing the remote switch. The difficulty was guessing where exactly to position my head as I had no visual reference. Obviously this is where a reticulated screen (as in the Canon 70D) would be really useful. I didn’t have this luxury on my 7D so each time I took a shot I would move myself slightly in the hope that at least one capture would be compositionally OK.

Finally, I released the Angle Shades into my garden and had the privilege of seeing it take its maiden flight.