I think I mentioned last time that I would go hunting for more butterflies, which is exactly what I did. Here are the collected results from last weekend’s windy escapades.
Let’s start with my favourite shot, at least as far as the composition goes. I really like the angle of this shot, it gives it a sense of action and makes it a lot more dynamic than a more conventional angle would. As you know from last time, I also like to get shots of them feeding, it just makes it more interesting. One thing I’m not sure that I like about this shot is the focus. Yes, the eyes are in focus and that’s the most important part. However, because of the angle and the dof that f16 gives me, the front hair of the head isn’t in focus, it’s soft and I find that slightly distracting. It looks like there’s some focus behind the eyes so If I could have moved the whole plane of focus slightly more to the front it would have been better. Other alternatives would have been to shoot with a smaller aperture or find a different angle.
This is something I can’t see and adjust in the field, it’s first when I upload the pictures to the computer that I can determine if the focus is perfect or not. On the camera’s lcd I can only check if I’m in the right ball park. Even if I could check it while I’m out shooting, it wouldn’t do much good. I shoot hand held (as you should know by now) – there’s no time to set up a tripod, by the time I would be done the bugs would be gone – I then focus manually by setting the lens to the closest focusing distance and moving back and forth until I get the focus I want. There’s no way to control the wind’s, the bug’s and my own movements precisely enough to correct focus in such detail. As I’ve said before: I think it’s just a matter of practice until you instinctively know what works.
The shot above is of the same type of butterfly that I’ve shown before but I wanted to get some shots of the other ones I’ve seen around. Now these guys seem to have a rather short attention span. Even if I’m nowhere near them I hardly ever see them sit still for more than a few seconds. Luckily I managed to find some of them that were busy feeding and trying not to blow away.
I’ve mention wind and it was indeed quite windy. The shot to the left is way off in a couple of regards but I still wanted to include it because it has some nice details and also helps me highlight some of the challenges I face.
As you can see the light is rather funky in this shot. That’s because I was both holding the flower the butterfly was sitting on and the flash with the same hand. You can see my fingers in the lower left corner, that’s should give you an idea of how close I am to the critter. In these situations I really wish I could grow an extra arm or two. The reason I’m holding the flower is to keep it steady in the wind. When I wasn’t holding it, it was blowing completely in and out of the frame, good luck focusing on anything there. The wind is also the reason I can hold the flower like this without the butterfly taking off, it was just holding on as best it could and didn’t care at all about me – I was even close to poking it with the flash while I was fiddling around to get it in a position where I could shoot.
Here’s another shot of the same type of butterfly, this time in calmer weather. It’s a bit dark, I would have like it to be brighter but the flash is the only thing providing light here, without it, it would have been a black frame. I still like it though, the composition is nice and, unlike the first image of this post, there’s detail both on the eyes and the front of the face (if butterflies can be said to have faces, who knows). Incidentally, this shot was taken in the same location as the two critters in my previous post; it’s a small world when you’re…err, small…that doesn’t really make any sense.
As you’ve probably noticed by now, I don’t really shoot any pretty shots of butterflies, showing off their wings and such. Maybe I’ll get around to that eventually but for now I’m more interested in close up portraits, the closer the better, same goes for other bugs. I still think butterflies are pretty up close though, they’re very fluffy so they look kind of cuddly.
Bonus shot: anyone else thinks this guy looks more than a little crazy? I don’t know if it’s the angle or the tilt of the head but to me it looks as though he’s been inhaling something inappropriate. As I approached to take the picture he was also fluttering his wings like crazy for a couple of seconds, almost as though he was trying to shake something off, maybe he was. Anyways, I thought the picture was somewhat amusing so I wanted to share it.
That’s all the bugs for this week and there will probably be less next week since I’m busy this weekend (the time I usually go out shooting). I am hoping for a couple of portrait opportunities of various family members though, so I might get some material to write about from that. Until then, happy hunting.