Back Modifications (3)
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Butterfly and leaf

By Madoldie
This was taken while I was out this afternoon, taken out the 200mm lens to photograph flying birds, unfortunately the sun was quite bright and the only birds around were seagulls so the light on the birds was not very kind. This butterfly caught my eye while I was walking up a path, I decided to keep the leaf in the photograph to try and show some perspective of size compared to the butterfly.

Tags: Sunlight Butterfly Leaf Resting Hedge Sat Wildlife and nature

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KarenFB Plus
16 5.9k 184 England
25 May 2017 7:31PM
A lovely capture (of a Speckled Wood) - you've caught some lovely details.

You've pointed out that you left the leaf in to give a sense of perspective, but, to be honest, this doesn't work because we don't know how big the leaf was! I think I would prefer moving the camera to the left slightly and giving the butterfly a little more space to 'fly into'. Just a personal opinion of course, and probably just me!! Smile
dudler Plus
19 1.9k 1947 England
25 May 2017 8:18PM
I agree with Karen and I really like her modification. If the butterfly was catching that lovely slanting sunlight it would be different, but as it is belief overpowers it. And to be honest, it would look far better with the light full on the butterfly wing.

I like the way that the light outlines the antenna against the dark background. That works really well.
dark_lord Plus
18 2.9k 824 England
25 May 2017 8:35PM
Karen's right,we don't know the size of the leaf. A nice idea but you need something of a known size. In fact, it's the size of the butterfly that's known and that gives us an indication of the size of the leaf!

The leaf is larger, brighter and at least as sharp as the butterfly so it really fights for attention, and wins.

The background is quite messy and contains some bright distracting highlights. Fairly typical of summery weather so you need to be awre of it and position yourself accordingly. I know you can't choreograph insects but you can observe them where they rest, move your position left or right, up and down.

It's also a good point about having room 'to move into, and hopefully you have that available on the original file as I suspect a crop here as you wouldn't get quite this close (complete frame) with a normal telezoom. I do realise that sometimes you have to use whatever lens you have with you if an opportunity presents itself.
pamelajean Plus
16 1.8k 2263 United Kingdom
25 May 2017 8:52PM
It's hard to resist taking a shot like this, Mat, the butterfly is still and co-operative.

It would be near impossible to have everything perfectly stage set for you, though sometimes you do get lucky.
Here you have the butterfly in shadow, and moving whatever is causing that shadow is obviously out of the question.
You also needed to get a better angle on the butterfly so that it's clearer of surrounding foliage. But Karen's modification has dealt with the big leaf and has also composed the butterfly beautifully, giving it space in front of it.

I appreciate what you say about wanting to keep the large leaf in the frame, but you cropped too much away from the left side. I think most of the commenters agree that the large leaf serves no purpose.

banehawi Plus
18 2.7k 4314 Canada
26 May 2017 1:28AM
Is this a VR lens Mat?

Madoldie 8 586 United Kingdom
26 May 2017 5:39PM
Thanks guys, like you've all said maybe the keeping the leaf in the photograph was not the best idea, then you live and learn, a tighter crop without that distraction works well, thanks Karen.
I don't carry a lot a lens with me I just put one on and get out there with it so you just try and work with what you have, yes banehawi it is a VR lens, thanks again,
all the best,
mrswoolybill Plus
15 3.3k 2536 United Kingdom
26 May 2017 6:16PM
I'm a bit late here. When I look at an outdoor shot just about the first thing that I check out is the time of day it was taken. 1.34pm here, pretty well what I expected. It's the time of day when the little ******s come out and pose. It's also when you have overhead sun blazing down, reflecting off horizontal surfaces, putting vertical ones in shadow.

There's a lot of scope in this file. What you can do will depend on your software but I've uploaded a modification with a few suggestions.

I cropped tighter first off. The butterfly needs some context (if nothing else to show how brilliant the camouflage is). But not too much. Let it be the star.

Then it's about putting some light onto the wings, and reducing it on the flat leaf. I isolated two areas separately, feathered by a few pixels and adjusted them. First the flat leaf, which responded extremely well - I darkened highlights, reduced brightness and made a Levels adjustment. Then the butterfly itself - I lightened shadows, added brightness and did a bit of gentle dodging on highlights.

Then just a tiny bit of sharpening.

I'm quite pleased with the result, see what you think.
Madoldie 8 586 United Kingdom
26 May 2017 7:46PM
Thanks Moira, time of day, sunlight and the lack of cooperation from the photographic subject is all the things that are against you in this situation, like the mod like brought some lovely detail, what had been said before maybe I should have concentrated more on the actual butterfly rather than the leaf.
Cheers, all the best,
paulbroad Plus
15 131 1294 United Kingdom
26 May 2017 8:41PM
A lot of comment, but the error is to place the insect on the extreme left edge looking to the left which is very unbalanced. Otherwise it could be quite good' but watch out for burn out of detail on shiny parts of leaves.

By the way, you are going to struugle with bird flying shots and a 200mm.


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