Nose in the Grass

crambid snout grass mouth crambus sp

A grass snout mouth…in the grass. Crambus sp.

Every once in a while I get nostalgic and dig into the archives — way back to the Powershot A620 days. And since I am on a mini-streak of backyard resident photos, I suppose this one is as apt as any to go on the board. These little grass snout moths usually are all over the lawn, though I didn’t notice them quite as much this year. This particular shot is a good example of how getting low can vitalize a subject. Coming at a top down angle can be rote and uninspired, a sort of reproduction of the typical human-to-bug encounter. Naturally, that’s a breakable rule. In the case of a narrow moth like this one, “low” makes sense: more of the moth is in the frame and (theoretically) the focal plane; more light can enter the camera; and the background is bright and full of nice bokeh.

The background as it happens is my favorite thing about this photo. The bright blue sky and the bright yellows of the tall grass have a wonderful abstractness. They also happen to contrast nicely with the shadowy foreground which suggests (I hope) the depth of a miniature landscape, the vastness inside of a grass forest. If I was using my current D5000 rig, it would be tempting to fire off a flash and show off the gold and white of that scaly papal robe, but back in the good ole days that wasn’t much of an option, hence not much of a though. The good ole days roll on thankfully. I’ve still got a nose in the grass.


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