Day 5. 6th July.
1000. It’s a little hard to explain to the owner of the guest house that Ernst had got permission from her husband the previous evening to put boxes of moths in their walk-in fridge overnight. Some things are beyond sign language. So I simply lead her through the kitchen and retrieve the stash. I think she tries not to look surprised.
I’ve never cooled insects before, not least because I can’t be sure I am orientating them correctly if I try to stage a shot. The white set gets round this problem as there is nothing for them to perch on. But within 10 minutes of being loaded into my oven-cum-hire car, the moths are wide awake and remain on set, in most cases, for less than 5 minutes.
1030. I meet Anna and Benny and Wolfgang and Elke again when it is still hot but by 1200 a new weather system is moving in: it becomes appreciably cooler and there are few butterflies – my friends’ preferred subjects. I concentrate on some plants including the houseleek, Sempervivum montanum, which is both rather beautiful and uncommon. But we’re all thwarted when rain arrives from the north west. It is in light showers at first, giving us enough time to photograph an exquisitely marked spotted fritillary, doped by the coolness of the late afternoon and happy to roost in front of our lenses. Then Benny’s camera dies, the showers join hands and we all go home. After yesterday’s 20 hour day, I don’t feel so bad about spending the evening editing my material up to date.
For their help, companionship and support in the field and with the organisation of the trip:
Ernst Partl, Kurt Lechner, Elisabeth Falkeis, Philipp Kirschner
Benny Bachmair, Anna Hofbauer, Elke Ertl, Wolfgang Ertl
The Flash Centre, London, for supplying the Lumedyne flash outfit used throughout the trip (the Elinchrom one they loaned was, unfortunately, too heavy to bring).
Please note that blogs reflect our photographers' opinions and not necessarily those of the directors of Wild Wonders of Europe.