Butterfly Photography: An American Copper

Several of our local species of butterflies like to rest on whatever flat surface they can find.  I often see butterflies in the middle of dirt trails, dirt roads, and gravel roads.  Probably a nice place to bask for a cold-blooded life form, but not necessarily the ideal scene for a photograph.

Lycaena phlaeas

A closeup view of a small and interestingly marked native butterfly of New Jersey.

DSLR photo of an American Copper butterfly using the Tamron SP 90mm VC 1:1 F/2.8 Macro Lens and the Canon EOS 50 DSLR.  Camera settings in Manual Exposure Mode: Shutter at 1/50th Aperture at F/5.6 and ISO 200.  Autowhite Balance is selected (my typical default), RAW file size, One Shot focusing in Continuous Drive Mode.  VC (in-lens stabilization) On.

This dainty insect is actually sitting on an unattractive dirt trail here, but the camera’s angle of view disguises the surroundings.  To get this view I am lying prone on the ground (a very common posture for good wildlife photographs) and the camera is pressed to my face.  I will often fill the frame as much as possible while trying not to have the subject looked too cramped within the image frame.  I did have to angle the Canon 50D slightly downward to keep the butterfly’s legs in the photo.

Using the “focus and recompose” technique, I pressed the shutter halfway down after initiating autofocus directly on the butterfly’s eye, and then I angled the camera until the lens hood of my macro lens was touching the ground, but the camera body was not.  This low and close-focused perspective has disguised the fact that myself and the butterfly are surrounded by a trail of non-photogenic packed dirt.

Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s