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Fuzzy Rednecks
Posted By: Venturi, 10-02-2008, 06:01 PM

Caterpillars that is.

Was outside exploring the world "outside" with my 6mo old son and stumbled on these guys perched on our river birch. Nothing special about the photos, just thought the critters were rather cool.

Left alone they just line up together along a branch.



But if you disturb them they curl up into U's; aparently this is a defense mechanism to prevent parasite wasps from using them as incubators.




K20D & Tam SP 90mm Di shot @ ~1:2
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10-02-2008, 08:46 PM   #2
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Interesting. I like the last shot the best, I think because the bokeh is more subdued.
10-03-2008, 01:39 PM   #3
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I passed your title a couple of times, but glad I did peaked in! Great series, a little more saturation would make them even better, perhaps?
10-03-2008, 03:23 PM   #4
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Thanks for the looks! The beasties kind of freaked me out first glance when I saw them, but once I figured out they weren't going to consume the entire tree (River Birch) I wanted to capture their nifty defense mechanism.

These were pretty quick-n-dirty snaps and I probably could have managed DOF a bit better to end up with sharper shots.

I can see your point on the first two shots as the background is a bit busy, though I do like how the blue sky accents the subject colors.

I did try boosting saturation a little in LightZone but I didn't like how much it boosted the yellow so pulled it back out. Aside from cropping to 4:5 the only PP on these shots is a click of luminosity and 2 clicks of vibrance with opacity of 70%.

10-03-2008, 04:05 PM   #5
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Okay, I may have been a tad to generous in my benevolence... Was just out front again and it looks like they are amassing troops for a full invasion!




Run Mommy, RUN!

10-03-2008, 05:11 PM   #6
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Fantastic shots. Thanks for sharing.
10-03-2008, 05:16 PM   #7
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I am always curious about insects and after a quick check I am quite sure they are Azalea Caterpillars. You've undoubtedly observed that they are gregarious and will all raise their heads and tail-ends in unison. I have no idea why, though. Left to their own devices they will happily munch up all the leaves on the tree. The best way to get rid of them is to pick them off by hand and put them in a jar of soapy water. That'll do 'em in! Obviously, if you have wee kiddies about you won't want to use any noxious sprays or pesticides.

Thanks for sharing. The images are really quite good!
10-03-2008, 09:13 PM   #8
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I believe you are right, J. Originally thought they were red-necked, or Walnut, catepillars but dug around the interwebs a bit more and they do seem to be Datana ministra, Azalea caterpillars.
One of the sites we found had a photo of an incredibly large mass of them on a tree's trunk. I'd estimate from the photo the mass was at least 18" long and 6" wide.

We'll definitely be giving them a soapy bath tomorrow as that Birch is one of the few trees we've planted the past two years that has really taken off well. They become rather ugly moths anyway, in my opinion....

Thanks again for the looks and compliments!

10-04-2008, 10:50 AM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by Venturi Quote
I did try boosting saturation a little in LightZone but I didn't like how much it boosted the yellow so pulled it back out. Aside from cropping to 4:5 the only PP on these shots is a click of luminosity and 2 clicks of vibrance with opacity of 70%.
They look great to me now, as if you DID something, or it may be that the last time I browsed them at work (don't tell my boss) in a non calibrated old CRT. Now at home on my LCD, they DO look great! I have to remember that next time!
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