Back Modifications (2)
Views: 83 (60 Unique)  Award Shortlist   

Any Port in a Storm

By Overread  
f13, ISO 200, 1/200sec flash used and positioned (by hand) above the end of the lens and angled toward the subject.

Gear used - Canon 400D, Sigma 70mm macro, 1.4TC, Speedlite 580EX2, lumiquest softbox, offcamera cable.

Any port in a storm, including my finger and some bricks in the case of this little red admiral - found him in some light drizzle on the road trying to dry his heavy wings off - seriously he could hardly lift them it seemed. So rescued him and captured some snaps - looking at the results I think the combination of handholding both subject and flash in some shots was simply adding a bit too much motion blur to the shots - though here where he is hiding in the bricks there was more stability for the subject at least.
Exposure I feel good with, but composition is a bit more flaky - and I am biase with my own work so I would be most interested to hear how others find it.
I would also be most interested to hear how contrast and brightness look on other screens - at the moment I have a calibrated screen but its a very cheap LCD so brightnes changes a lot when viewing angle shifts even a little - it also shows all my older shots up as rather contrast lacking (with my normal viewing angle) so I would be eager to hear how this has come out.

Tags: Close-up and macro Wildlife and nature

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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.


CathR 11 151 564 United Kingdom
16 Oct 2009 10:55AM
You have used flash here to good effect Alex. It has lit up the butterfly well without being over harsh. You have also got good contrast and the colours have come out well.

I am less sure about the composition. Perhaps a butterfly expert would know better but the extreme close up makes it a bit difficult for non-experts like me to get a handle on what we are seeing here. Moving back a bit would also give you a bit more depth of field. The shot is sharp around the bit which is sticking up (the mouth perhaps?) but there is quite a lot of fall off in sharpness elsewhere. The insect does look a bit squashed in the corner and perhaps a more diagonal shape in the frame rather than vertical would be better.

Macro photography especially of insects is really hard and this is a good effort.

Best wishes


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16 Oct 2009 12:51PM
Excellent detail captured

pamelajean Plus
12 1.1k 2016 United Kingdom
17 Oct 2009 5:19PM
Hello, Alex. You couldn't get much closer than this, and what a great opportunity you had here. Contrast and brightness look ok, although I admit to doing a slight adjustment in my modification. Firstly, I agree with Catherine about the compoition and not really immediately being able to understand what is being viewed. So, to satisfy myself, I cropped the left, taking the prominent antenna into the bottom left corner, then flipped the image to the left, and that felt so much better, looking as if the butterfly was perched somewhere and I could now get my head around it. I think that part of the problem was that the other antenna is placed against the wing edge and not easily discernible. I brightened the image slightly, lifted the shadows and reduced the highlights, then gave it a touch of contrast and selective sharpening around the eye and mouth areas.
Adderwatcher 8 60 19 United Kingdom
18 Oct 2009 6:22PM
Nice shot! Fantastic detail in this, i've uploaded a simple mod where i decreased brightness and increased contrast and lightness a tad to try to make the butterfly stand out abit more. Its not as good as Pamelas but might give you some ideas for future shots.
Overread 9 4.1k 19 England
20 Oct 2009 9:29PM
Thanks for the input all!
I really like the input on people not understanding fully what it is your seeing, since its something that I didn't really think of. I guess I have just got a little too used to viewing butterflies this close - though I can fully agree that he is very squashed into that corner. (and sadly with all the water on him he was in a total mess with wings and antenna control).
I like the crop suggestion and was thinking along similar lines, even though I do rather like the burred background areas on the left, but the idea of rotating the image is new, but I can see how his look changes to be one more similar to those more commonly seen.

Many thanks also for the contrast/brightness suggestions - certianly there appears tobe more scope with the shot than I have gone to, though at the moment I am slightly reluctant to really perfect things on this level (mostly as my screen has horrific brightness and contrast changes even if I change the viewing angle a tiny bit Sad ).

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