Learn the secrets of butterfly photography from a professional wildlife photographer.
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Living here in Northern Scotland, we didn’t get a massive fusion of butterflies generally speaking, but just over the last few days there’s been a big explosion of Painted Ladies in the garden which I first noticed two days ago, Painted Lady is a migratory butterfly and in some years literally millions come to U.K. and so it makes it a very good subject for Photography, and just here, I’ve got maybe 20-25 butterflies fleeting around on the flowering chives just behind me and so got the macro lens on, I’m going to go out and see if I can get some shots. The Butterflies and the other Insect Photography are preferred to use specialized macro lens and what I’ve got here is a Sigma 180 lens, but there’s quite a number of macro lenses available. Alternatively you can use the Shots Telephoto lens; it’s something like a 200 or 300 meter lens and the problem there to overcome is the place focusing aspect, so a very cheap way of effectively getting yourself a macro lens is to but a set of extensions tubes which the rest would be inexpensive and manufactured by all the leading brands. Because the butterflies are on the move here today, I’m going to hand hold the camera just to give me a full flexibility and that’s got some implications for the exposure that I’m going to set, obviously a handholding then camera shake comes into operation, so I need a fairly fast shot to speed just to prevent any camera shake problems. So the shot of speed that I’m going to use is about 1/250th of a second, we should arrest any movements and then the corresponding aptitude I’m looking for is around f8. Now today it’s nice and diffused and I should be out to get that kind of exposure quite easily, but sometimes you may need to upright the ISO setting props to ISO 400, that’s what I use to get those exposure settings. And since the approach for the shot is a few things to bear in mind, I guess the most important is the fact that you need to stalk in very slowly, you’ve got to wait for the butterfly just to settle for a few moments on the plant on which it’s feeding then gradually move in actually inch by inch until I get into position, as to get a nice full frame shot. The only thing to bear in mind is not to cast a shadow across the butterfly that’ll often cause it to fly off, what you’re looking for really is the butterfly with its wings nice and flat in the same plain of focus, and then you approach in the same plain itself, that way you’ll get good shot image from wing tip to wing tip; but a fantastic half hour or so here, loads of butterflies around, a couple of dozen or so feeding on the chives, so loads and loads of shots, I think I’ve photographed probably about 4 gigabytes worth, so I already key now, let’s go back inside, download and have a look, see we’ve got some nice shot images. A fairly fortune this year that we had a whole host of Painted Ladies coming into the garden at 25 or so, but this presented even with a nice problem and that’s like a whole host of images, several hundred in fact and I’ll just stand preciously has done just to 2 or 3 I have to show you here. As I place in this one it worked quite nicely, the butterfly was feeding on flowering chives which gave a nice sort of colorful backdrop to the picture, although it’s not a plain background, it’s still compliments the butterfly quite well I think, there’s just two colors there really in the background with the green and the purple mode color of the flowers. For this second shot I’ve gone from alternative approach and I’m going in quite tight just on head on to get the butterfly feeding on the chives that just let in the aperture of that fates which allowed me to just to get the eyes in focus and also the leading edge of the butterflies wings and then isn’t that fairly shallow that fulfilled its focus all the attention onto the main part of the insect, it’s also a throw in the background and nice kind of focus as well. The garden is sheer, wasn’t particularly brilliant for butterflies and with the bad weather that we’ve had but we did have a few days when the butterflies rise and falls. And this is a small Torte Shell which is feeding here on flowering mint, and this is great for a classic kind of butterfly image I suppose, web eye, we’ve got the butterfly nicely shot on an attractive flower and the nice compliment react to focus background and with all the attention on the butterfly and it was taken in fairly bright sunshine as well, which obviously brought out the lovely vibrant colors, and this particular specimen was in really good condition and that goes out should the consideration when photographing butterflies, it’s a try and concentrate on the ones which are in really good condition because some of them do get quite tatty as you see it can go on. “Butterflies on the wing” is just one part of the very interesting life cycle, and it’s a life cycle which offers up a lot of opportunity for creative photography. There are many plants that will attract butterflies into your garden; Buddleia, sometimes called the Butterfly Bush, with attractive variety of species, some plants are even specific to certain species of butterfly and here’s a list of some suggestions to get you started.