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White Wing

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f13, ISO 200, 1/200sec - flash used
Taken at the Butterfly and Wildlife Park, Norfolk

Ok its not tack sharp, its not perfectly focused and heck fullsize it looks even softer - oh and htis is a crop of the original shot as well -- but its darn well flying it is!!
It was the end of the day and this one was hovering around another is it species for a good while, letting me fire off a series of shots to try and capture the inflight motion. It was only because he was hovering at the time that I was able to get the AF on the lens to lock on (I needed AF, though its nothing special on the 70mm its a lot faster than me) and fire off the shots. I did try highspeed mode on the flash, but the light given off was not enough - though I suppose I could have opened up to around f8 for this capture and thus given myself some more light to play with.

Any comments/advice welcome thank you

Camera:Canon EOS 400D
Lens:Sigma 70mm macro + 1.4 Teleconverter
Recording media:RAW (digital)
Title:White Wing
Username:Overread Overread
Uploaded:17 Aug 2009 - 9:41 PM
Tags:Close-up / macro, Pets / captive animals
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This photo is here for critique. Please only comment constructively and with suggestions on how to improve it.
CathR  8145 forum posts United Kingdom564 Constructive Critique Points
18 Aug 2009 - 10:05 AM

It looks like a beautiful butterfly Alex but perhaps a little worn round the edges? Butterfly houses are great places to shoot butterflies but their stock can sometimes be less than perfect at all times.

You are quite a glutton for punishment trying to capture butterflies in flight. I have not tried it so you might like to ask someone like dalecath for advice on the high speed flash aspect. I think it is quite technical.

I might though be able to offer a couple of pointers from the camera settings you have posted - thanks for the info, it is always useful for the team to have. I don't think you need f9, not at least for this type of shot where the wings are flat open. There is no depth of field because the wings are flat and in the same plane, so go for a wide aperture. This will help with the shutter speed which is very important. You need a fast speed, certainly more than 1/200, to freeze the movement and prevent blur.

I guess with this kind of photography you just have to keep trying, so I wish you lots of luck.

Best wishes


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Overread  74023 forum posts England19 Constructive Critique Points
18 Aug 2009 - 3:06 PM

Many thanks for the input Smile
I suppose a lot of the butterflies in those houses get to (enjoy?) oldage more than their wild counterparts - so I do agree there are more with the tattered wingtips.

I did pester Dalecath, however he is keeping his golden method a tightly kept secret, but the bees in flight thread in the forums has caught my eye - along with some of the linked setups people have used with lasers and the like - its certainly something very specialist to construct - possible with the right tools and gear.

As for the apertures I still feel that a smaller aperture might be better, if only because one can never garantee the angle that the wings will be at when the camera fires, as well as the point that the AF locks onto - if it catches a wing a shallow depth would give a nice wing, but soft body. Though as I found this puts even more pressure on the flash - I think more than one flash would be needed - so that they could fire at a lower power, thus allowing nice rapid firing, whilst still giving the lighting needed (or one of those fancy highspeed flash units on Dalecath's website link)

Last Modified By Overread at 18 Aug 2009 - 3:07 PM

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