Paul G. Johnson

Joined: Sep 1, 2013 Last Active: Dec 4, 2023 iNaturalist Monthly Supporter since December 2020

I am a wildlife biologist working for the National Park Service in Central California, with special interest in California Lepidoptera, Odonata, and herps. Because the federal government owns everything I produce at work, those observations are posted under the iNat handle @PinnaclesNP, along with those of other NPS staff.

My iNat handle is the name of my favorite moth genus, pronounced you-pro-SIR-pin-us. I occasionally collect insects for DNA research and other scientific purposes, but mostly I photograph them and post them here.

I appreciate ID help and corrections. Please don't agree with my identifications simply based on assumptions about my expertise – I regularly make ID mistakes and I am constantly learning. I’m happy to receive ID requests for observations made in California, but I may not be able to help you. There are far more species out there than I’ll ever be able to get to know, try as I might!

If you're interested in San Benito County, I encourage you to check out the annual San Benito County Biodiversity Big Year projects. Here is a link for 2023: https://www.inaturalist.org/projects/biodiversity-big-year-2023-san-benito-county

You are welcome to use my iNat photos for non-profit purposes as long as you credit me (Paul G. Johnson). If you do use my photos, I'd love to know how. If you would like to purchase photos (often higher resolution and less cropped), please iNat message me.

Equipment used:
For high quality photos in daylight, I use a DSLR with a 100-400mm lens, often with extension tubes (hollow tubes attached between the camera and lens for closer focusing). The worst advice I never followed was to use a macro lens instead of extension tubes. Extension tubes are small, lightweight, and durable and they turn my lens into a telephoto zoom macro lens whose versatility is unmatched by any macro lens.

For high quality macro photos at night, I use a DSLR with a 100mm macro lens and ring flash. For very small subjects I add extension tubes.

For blacklighting insects I currently use USB-powered 10 Watt UV (395 nm) light strips, although I am experimenting to find better setups. I highly recommend using a background fabric with a grid pattern for scale. (The squares in my photos are 5.5mm.) Props to @damontighe and @catchang for sending me down this equipment path. For more info: https://www.inaturalist.org/posts/11836-diy-moth-light

"Kindness to small creatures will be repaid to you tenfold."

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