3 butterflies

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3 butterflies

Post by McCluskey »

Here are 3 shots from last fall. I'll try to give some insight on my thoughts and would appreciate any feedback. All on D200, 105 micro nikkor. Full frame/no crops.

800, F4, 1/1000

800, F10, 1/320

800, F10, 1/400

OK. My thoughts are as follows. I like them all, here's what I think I could have improved. All could have been shot with a lower ISO, as they are a little noisy. The subjects were moving a bunch so I chose a high ISO, trying to shorten shutter speed to freeze them. Likely could have found a better balance with a little less noise.

The first one may have benefited from a smaller aperture. Might have brought the wingtips a little more in focus.

The second could have benefited from moving the subject a little more off center, also could have tried to moved a little bit to get the flower out of the foreground.

The third likely would have benefited from a little better composition too. Again move the subject, and the background seems a little busy.

These were my first few post processes' with lightroom. Any comments on apparent WB, tone, contrast, etc issues appreciated also.

Thanks in advance for the feedback.
Trying to get better...


Ken Ramos
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Hmm...noise? :-k Maybe it is just my tired old eyes but I really see no more noise here than what I get when shooting at ISO 400. I have often thought of shooting at a higher ISO but have yet to try it since 400 really handles my lighting situations for the most part. On bright sunny days ISO 100 I think is ideal, if you are not shooting in the shade without a flash. In relation to the first image, I would have used a flash to fill in and would have shot the butterfly at ISO 400 at probably around f/11 @ 1/200 or 250 sec., that should bring the wing tips a bit more into the focus and that is evident if you compare your settings for this image with the camera settings in the third. There the wings are in focus tip to tip at f/10 :D

You know it is very easy to give ones opinion sometimes and even more so giving ones advice but taking ones "own" advice is sometimes difficult. :lol: You mentioned composition, something I have yet to master too. Sometimes an image that is hard to compose horizontally maybe easier and look better in a vertical format, which is what I think about the second one. Try using the Rule of Thirds :D

The third does have a very busy background, as you have pointed out and as I have commented before, shooting in the wild you sometimes have to take what you can get. Now maybe that can be somewhat corrected with software, I really don't know. I am pretty much a novice at all this digital photography stuff anyway. For the most part I usually shoot, even on bright sunny days at 1/200 or 250 sec. @ around f/14 to 9 or there abouts to try and control DOF but that again is not always possible and though I try not to sometimes because daylight gives a much better color tone in my opinion, most always use a flash. :D

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Post by Moebius »


If criticism is asked for, here is my take. I have found myself to rarely be happy with a photo I myself take; I always look for ways to improve it.

#1) Getting a nice background with a larger aperture and yet keeping the entire insect in focus is tricky. If you would have narrowed the aperture more than a step or so, I think the background wouldn't have been as nice. What would have been better here is to have kept the butterfly in the focal plane...looks like you were slightly skewed to the butterfly. Perhaps f5.6? Also, more room on the crop(especially the top) would have been nice, but cropping/composition is very subjective. Also, for some reason the bright lavender part of the flower in the upper left corner attracts my eye more than desired...perhaps blur that area?

#2) Like you said, could have moved the insect off-center. Which way and how would have depended on what the background looked like in the cropped area (if it was cropped). This is one that could have benefitted from a wider aperture to blur the background a little more. The flower in the lower right is too blurred to be interesting, yet not blurred enough to be a nondistracting color patch of the background. Again, a wider aperture would have helped. I myself didn't play much with wider apertures last season, and am just now experimenting with it.

#3) I like the framing on this one. Background is not bad, but would have benefitted from a wider aperture. In #1 you used f4 and this one you used f10, perhaps a happy medium between the two. Two parts that are expecially distracting to me are the left to right slanted stem in the lower right corner and especially the darker stem pointing down from the lower left wing. However, they were in the original view and not much you can do about them. Could have experimented with composition and rules of thirds on this one, but remember that rules were made to be broken too.

I have very few photos of my own that I couldn't find just as many faults with; most more. I like the lighting on all 3 of your pics, which has been my bane so far.


Ken Ramos
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Joined: Thu Jul 27, 2006 2:12 pm
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Post by Ken Ramos »

Good comments Ken. You made some good observations there and pointed out a number of things that I missed and left me with quite a bit to consider also. Like you, I rarely am happy with a photo I take myself, they, my photos, seem to be more along the line of a snapshot than a photograph. :lol: Learned someth'n today. :D

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