June 2006 in my late mother’s epic garden, one of the biggest and best private gardens in the greater Ottawa area.
Four consecutive times on the same day the first thing I saw when I went outside was this butterfly. He was virtually begging to be the nature model of the day. It’s the first time he showed up this summer. Very impressive insect thanks to the Canon macro lens.
The background got a cleanup in Lightroom.
This beauty had a part of its wing (a little chunk) missing. She could still fly, but got fixed in Lightroom with the Healing Brush.
“I fix butterfly wings… what do you do in your spare time?” :-/
The original background was the wall of my house, which was okay for a photo, but not great. Out of curiosity, to see how easy or difficult it would be, the subject was isolated using tonal adjustments and then a new technique I learned on this edit. Using the Mask tool in Lightroom (K), sections were “painted” white. The pure white part (J) showed what else if anything needed to be done.
One key (H) shows you the handles when you need to edit tone, etc. The Mask option is a very powerful tool that keeps you from having to import into Photoshop and make new large files when you need to do local editing.
Small orange butterfly
This butterfly parked for about half an hour on a big rock. Although she gave me a lot of time, she only offered one ideal pose (classic overhead shot, perfectly even background), but only for a moment, and not long enough to capture.
I used the time to test different aperture settings and shutter speeds as well as ISO numbers. It occurred to me that you can get away with high ISO speeds like 1600 here when the background is speckled or full of detail, because you won’t or are less likely to notice noise. (The background is already noisy.) The same holds true when the subject like this butterfly itself naturally looks grainy.
The closer you get to the subject when using a macro lens, the higher the aperture needs to be to keep everything in focus. This butterfly was smaller than previous ones, so it was a challenge to make it sharp while trying to fill the photo frame.
This photo was a test of both low aperture and higher-than-usual shutter speed. Previous shots in this shoot were at f/22-32, which is essential to capture full detail on all parts of the butterfly in focus.
It’s a different look than usual, because only a very small line or space is in focus, but it’s the most important parts (front and eyes), so it is tolerable. The center of the butterfly got an interesting effect; it looks as if it’s getting hit by a gust. It was a windy day, so I’d normally shoot at 1/800 sec, but 1/400 was sufficient.