Sunday, April 13, 2014

Painted Lady on Wild Plum

Painted Lady Butterfly on Wild Plum
First Observe & Plan, Wait, Then Shoot
This is another butterfly picture on our wild plum tree. This photo is very deliberate at every level. I wanted the sweeping branch with fewer blooms, and the bokeh with branches. Of course the Painted Lady butterfly had to cooperate.

This shows a basic strategy I rely on. I will take the time to study a complex floral setting like a tree, compose the bloom where I want the butterfly to land, and even take test photos to setup the bokeh. This does take time and patience, but when it all comes together it is very satisfying. To me this picture is 3D, it has a Japanese floral arrangement feel to it, and I like the light dynamics.

When shooting flowering trees, I might stand in the same spot, and locate 3 possible flower compos that I hope to get a butterfly to land on. I can shift between them without moving much at all. Then I just wait. And wait. And even wait more.

When someone asks me how long it took to get this picture my stock answer is 2 hours plus 1/1600th of a second. Patience is the key.

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