Black Swallowtail Caterpillar eating fennel

My wife wanted to plant a herb garden last spring which I was all for especially since I knew who would be inviting themselves to the party. We planted dill, parsley, fennel, etc. And sure enough Black Swallowtail butterflies came to lay their eggs. The dill and parsley were the first to be devoured by the caterpillars with the fennel not far behind. I tried to get good feeding shots which I found challenging due to cluttered backgrounds (and foregrounds) and the fact that the caterpillars often would just sit there still. This is one of the better feeding shots I took last summer. My wife was able to do some cooking with the herbs and vows to replant this spring (which is fine by me).

Canon 1D4, Sigma 150mm f2.8 macro, 1.4x TC, speedlite (ETTL)
ISO 400, f16, 1/250s, hand held

Cloned some flash highlights off the caterpillar.
Any comments appreciated.

You may only download this image to demonstrate post-processing techniques.

Excellent, Allen. I really like the composition and both the fennel and caterpillar are tack sharp. If you’re having problems with backgrounds, I highly recommend a supply of construction paper in assorted colors. You can always rig up something like a “selfie stick” to hold it in place while you take the shot.

No nits from me - just about perfect!

A great shot, Allen. I just may have to consider planting some herbs in our flower garden this year. I would love to attract the swallowtails and give them a place to lay their eggs. I really am enjoying your macro shots!

A great classic! Very nice. Maybe I would have liked a brighter background, but it is a minor point…