Monday, July 30, 2018

Set Free

"Set Free"
A time-lapse transformation of a black swallowtail caterpillar into a chrysalis. (Photographer Tips)

This time-lapse shows the incredible process of a black swallowtail caterpillar transforming into his chrysalis. It is such a neat process to watch. Make sure the volume is on as I set it to music!

For photographer wanting helpful tips for photographing a time lapse, I will share a few of my observations. Knowing when the caterpillar is almost ready to break out of his caterpillar shell can be a guessing game unless you know a few helpful hints.
Here is the timeline of events for this caterpillar:

1) He purged his food - it basically looks like diarrhea. 7/25 @ 5:22 p.m.
2) He started attaching to the bamboo stick 7/26 at 9:15 a.m.
3) He began the visible transformation of his chrysalis @ 5:21 and was finished transforming @ 5:25

Hints to know when the transformation is about to begin: The first thing I begin to notice is the caterpillar's sections began to elongate. He began to wiggle more and more moving the sections fo his body up and down. The top clear band at the top of his head will begin to show the green chrysalis underneath. It looks like a bumpy sponge.

The bottom sections of his body will appear a tad thinner as the chrysalis moves up. The key evidence for me to know if it is almost finished is a white ligament type structure appears on the side of his body. I don't know what this is called. I am making a big assumption to guess this aides the outer shell of the caterpillar to be moved down. The caterpillar's shell will split near the top and once the shell is shed, it falls off.

For shooting, I used a light to illuminate the caterpillar and also used a very cheap flash with limited controls. I took a photograph every 10 seconds for the duration using the in-camera time-lapse setting. 

I started shooting once I saw the body elongate and more consistent movement. I can't remember my exact settings. I know I shot @ f/7.1.

In the distance, I used a colored green cloth and attached it to a foam board for a nice background. I used Final Cut Pro X to edit the time-lapse. 

This is only the third chrysalis I have watched transform. I am still learning myself. If I can help you, please leave a comment:) 

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Thank you! ~ Judy

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