Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Not Camera Shy

Ever wanted to be this up close and personal with butterflies? These butterflies love the camera, are eager to pose and hold their positions so you can get great shots.

Apparently this one wanted to see what this camera lens was all about, and how to make the most of it.

This was shot at my favorite place to photograph tropical butterflies in a protected indoor environment  -  the Lewis Ginter Botanical Gardens in Richmond, Virginia. They have created a huge butterfly house, photographer friendly, with large windows for beautiful light all day long.

Notice the nice light on the head and body in this “grab shot.” There is hardly a bad place to shoot in this facility. At almost every turn there is a gorgeous butterfly waiting to be photographed.  And because they are so acclimated to the environment and the people, it is easy to shoot them with a macro lens. The beauty of using a macro lens is that you can focus very close to the butterfly, as well as blur the background to create nice soft tones.

This was shot with a large aperture for shallow depth of field. I focused on the head and body, allowing the wings and lens hood to be softly out of focus. 

Of course you can also use a smaller aperture for greater depth of field when you want the entire body, wings and antennae to be sharp. The macro lens provides great flexibility. Non-macro lenses can also work well.

This beautiful specimen was just one of many flying freely in this spectacular glass buildinge. The live plants make wonderfully natural-looking backgrounds, and because they are plants that the butterflies love, these delicate creatures are always in easy-to-shoot locations.

Open for only a few months each year, the gardens will be the location of an Awake The Light photo workshop in late May. If you like butterflies, and want to learn how to get great shots, this is the workshop for you. You can find the details here

Shutter Speed 1/100 sec.  Aperture f/3.2.  ISO 800.  Lens: Canon 100mm Macro f/2.8L IS.  Camera: Canon 5D Mark III.  Handheld.  Distance from subject approximately 18  inches.

TODAY’S QUOTE: “Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”  --Nathaniel Hawthorne

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