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A Fairy Creature

Wolf Read

Vancouver, Canada

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Artist's Description

As I stood next to a cluster of fireweed, a most peculiar creature quietly arrived and began visiting the numerous open flowers, hovering very much like a hummingbird. At first, with butterfly-like wings that had translucent windows, the little beast seemed to be a creature of fairy tales. Soon I realized that I gazed upon a species of Sphinx Moth, a family that contains many striking and fascinating forms. Most are nocturnal. But a few, including the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) that flew before me, fly about during the day. I patiently followed the frantically flapping animal with my lens, trying to capture shots in the evening sunlight. A frustrating task, for the moth cleverly tended to stay in the shaded areas, only rarely venturing into the full sun. I had to be quick with the shutter actuator to capture the beast in vivid light. Indeed, this shot is in partial shade, when along the edge of a shadow from a nearby tree branch, with a hint of sunshine.

This animal is said to fly and drink nectar in a manner similar to a hummingbird, while also mimicking bumble bees, and indeed the sphinx moth appeared like a little hummer. Interestingly, as I snapped shots of the moth, an actual hummingbird arrived at the scene, also quite interested in the fireweed flowers. I captured a few frames of the bird, too.

Canon EOS 60D
Canon EF 300mm 1:4 L IS USM
300mm, 1/800 sec, f / 5.6, -1/3 EV, ISO 400
Hand-held

Birkenhead Lake Provincial Park, BC
06 Aug 2011

Artwork Comments

  • Jon Lees
  • Wolf Read
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