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Pastel Summer

By speybay
Having spent a few hours, hoping to capture some nice Butterfly shots in our garden, the only type to visit was this Common White variety above, i seemed to struggle getting them fully in focus ,so do you recommend using a Tripod even though they never seem to stay still for long ?

Tags: Summer Butterfly Garden Wildlife and nature Pastel Colors

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banehawi Plus
16 2.2k 4137 Canada
6 Aug 2013 11:51PM
This is quite good, - does need a little sharpening for the site, and with some tweaks for contrast it looks better. Ive laded a mod with this done.

Tripods work for dead butterflies! A monopod might be useful, but youre doing everything mainly right. You are shooting from the side which is good; aperture priority with a fast speed which is good. Its the choise if the aperture that can be improved, as its too wide in this one. Going to f/8. which would allow a shutter speed of 1/2000 would work, and give you much better depth, - 4 times the depth you have here, so youre chances of an in focus shot is improved.

Keep doing what youre doing, - but use a smaller aperture. Theres likely a tome of day when these may be slower than others, - morning I imagine they may be a little sluggish, like the rest of us!



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pamelajean Plus
14 1.3k 2140 United Kingdom
7 Aug 2013 6:08PM
Don't be too hard on yourself, Ian, I like the effect you have captured here, the composition and isolation of your subject.
If you have a lot of patience, then this type of photography might appeal to you. In time, some butterflies will get used to your presence and just go about their business.

There are more ways than one to approach butterfly photography. You can chase them around, or you can stay still and wait for them to come to you. You know they are going to land on flowers, so place yourself near to some, have your camera set, be ready, and try not to get bored. Another alternative is stealth, shooting a first frame from a little more distance than you would prefer, and then moving closer, shooting more frames as you continue to approach the ideal position.

Butterflies need heat from the sun to use their wings, so they like to take it easy when itís colder outside. Early morning or late afternoon are good times to choose, when you will be able to approach them more easily.

You may need to experiment with apertures until you are happy with the amount of focus you have achieved on your subject, which is a personal choice. Start by focusing on the head, so it won't matter if the tips of the wings are less focused. The next thing to consider is your plane of focus. In the position you chose here, you have an even plane. With wings spread and shooting straight on, you have another even plane. At any other angle, such as with half opened wings, you will need to check your depth of field.

A tripod or monopod are obviously worth using when relying on available light as your light source, but I know how difficult that makes this subject. However, using the method above of sitting and waiting, it would be worth trying. As long as you have a fast shutter speed and the butterfly is fairly settled, you should have success without a tripod, but if you do use one, keep keep the head loose because butterflies move quickly and you wonít have time to lock it in, but you can still use it for some stability.
A tripod isn't essential when using flash as the only light source, as the duration of the flash is extremely brief, even at small apertures. This is a big benefit and is the reason many photographers like to use a flash set-up for butterflies.

Hope that's of some help.

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