Italian insects - part 1

January 13, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Italian Insects - introduction

For our summer holiday in 2018 we stayed near the southern tip of Lake Garda in Italy. This was, of course, a family holiday with friends, so I had limited photography opportunities, which I also had to balance with my new found obsession of running! Fortunately, we stayed in a caravan park next to a riverside path that allowed opportunities for both.

Our caravan was located in a perfect position - sufficiently far way from the pool, bars and shop to be nice and quiet, and with easy exit off site to the River Mincio.


Mincio Riverside pathMincio Riverside pathNr Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Mincio Riverside pathMincio Riverside pathNr Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

It was a great place to go for a run but also provided lots of riverside vegetation to look for butterflies and other insects. But the size of the river meant that the insects were often too far away, and I was a bit wary about getting too close to the water's edge as the water was very deep. I also had to be careful of cyclists and runners (!!) coming along the path.

Just downstream there was a large sluice, with a number of control structures to manage water levels. Behind this sluice was a lovely wilderness area and a number of back channels, much quieter and better for taking photos.

 

Mincio RiverMincio RiverNr Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Side channel Mincio RiverSide channel Mincio RiverNr Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

I managed two early morning trips to this area and took a range of photos. One of the first insects I found was a Brown Marmorated Stink Bug. At about 1.5 cm long I had to get really close with my Canon 100mm F2.8 mm macro lens to get a decent image. These two images show the different effects that can be achieved using different apertures. The first uses a narrow aperture of F11, the second a wide aperture of F3.2. 

 

Brown Marmorated Stink BugBrown Marmorated Stink BugPeschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy
 

 

Brown Marmorated Stink BugBrown Marmorated Stink BugPeschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

There were a number of dragonflies around as well. These Banded Darters were a first for me. This first image is a rather striking male.

 

Banded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum)  - maleBanded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum) - malePeschiera del Garda
Lake Farda, Italy

 

The second, as is often the case, the slightly less colourful, but no less beautiful, female.

 

Banded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum)  - femaleBanded Darter (Sympetrum pedemontanum) - femalePeschiera del Garda
Lake Farda, Italy

 

In both cases the bands on the wings, that give the dragonfly its name, are clearly visible.

 

But it was really butterflies that I was looking for. The first was this Large White butterfly. It sat quite still allowing a close approach, and I was able to take two very different looking images, one with the butterfly sitting in shade, and another as it was lit by the early morning sun.

 

Large White (Pieris brassicae)Large White (Pieris brassicae)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Large White (Pieris brassicae)Large White (Pieris brassicae)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

And this Spotted Fritillary sat very still whilst the sun heated its wings after roosting over night.

 

Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

Again, I enjoyed taking different compositions, using different apertures. I love getting in close, to focus just on the eye, using a wide aperture to render everything else out of focus.

 

Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

 

Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Spotted Fritillary (Melitaea didyma)Peschiera del Garda
Lake Garda, Italy

 

This is just a taster of the images I took on these two visits. There are plenty more to come in future posts, including more Spotted Fritillary, Heath and Knapweed Fritillary and Clouded Yellow butterflies.


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