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Thread started 16 Jul 2016 (Saturday) 20:08
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Post your Butterflies!! Tips on how to capture them.

 
Micro5797
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Post has been last edited 5 months ago by Micro5797. 14 edits done in total.
Jul 16, 2016 20:08 |  #1

I think that there are enough of us out here that take pictures of Butterflies that we can start a thread just for Butterflies and moths.
Be sure to ask for critique or help with identification.
This is my 2nd summer photographing butterflies. (2016).
Below will be some tips on identification as well as how to capture a good image of a butterfly or moth.

If possible, post the under wing and the top of the wing.
If possible, post the identification and location (state/providence and country etc ) of the butterfly or moth. If you don't know, then just post for fun.

*How to distinguish between a month and a butterfly:
A moth's antennae are feathery or saw-edged.
A butterflies antennae have a small ball at he end. (almost all of them)

Tips for capturing an image of a butterfly: This info may not be 100% accurate, but is close and what works for me.

*Time of day.
Butterflies like their body temperature to be at least 80F or 26C to be most active.
You will see more butterflies on bright sunny days then cool overcast days.
Normally a good time to find them out and about is from 10:am to about 3:pm. At least in my area, Montana USA 5,000+ feet elevation.
Butterflies will not stay still for long in windy conditions, a calm day is preferred.

*Camera lenses and focal length:
A medium to long focal length is ideal. I use my 70-200mm. A kit 50-250mm should be ideal.
If you catch the butterflies early in the day before they are active, you may be able to get by with a macro lens.This all depends on the individual butterfly.
For very active butterflies that you can not get close to, use a teleconverter for that additional reach. I use my 1.4x Kenco tc.
For butterflies that are not as active, use a macro extension tube. I find that 9-13mm is ideal. This helps you fill the frame with the butterfly and avoid cropping. I paid $15 for mine from Ebay.

*Camera settings:
Aperture priority with center weight average metering is ideal. I also use the center focus point or center multi focus points.
Use F/8 if the butterfly is the size of a USD quarter or smaller. Use F/11 if they are larger then a USD quarter. This ensures that both antennae are in focus.
Aperture is subjective, a side view with their wings closed can always look nice at F/2.8.
ISO 100-400 is ideal. Be sure to keep your shutter speed high enough to avoid motion blur.
If the butterfly is in the direct sunlight, use -1/3 stop exposure compensation. This will give you better more saturated colors.
If the butterfly is in the shade, you may have to use about +1/3 exposure compensation or more.I prefer direct sunlight shots.
WB set to cloudy is ideal, even if in direct sunlight.
A flash or ring light can often wash out the colors on a butterfly.

*Identification:
Kaufman Field Guide to Butterflies of North America by Jim P. Brock is one of the better identification books that i have found.
Here is a link to help you ID: http://gardenswithwing​s.com/identify-butterflies.html (external link)

*General tips:
Setting your camera to slow burst mode may help if you are having sharp/detail issues. Sometimes your camera will jerk or your body will sway when hitting the cameras trigger for the first time.
Wear a hat so that you can see through the viewfinder during the bright days.
Shoot in RAW so that you can bring back the highlights or shadows as needed.
Be sure to use the lens hood. Sun flair will soften or add a haze to the image.
Butterflies are very sensitive to shadows, motion and movement. Walk slowly and look around, don't just be focused on the first butterfly that you see.
If you spook a butterfly, stay put and they will usually return to about the same spot with in a couple of minutes.
Solid green/blue (foliage and sky) backgrounds tend to show more ISO noise then multi colored backgrounds.
If you are getting soft focus or a slight blur. Check to see that your shutter speed is high enough for your focal length.

*This guide can be subjective. You may always shoot at F/2.8 for a creative shot or you may always use your macro lens. Most of the settings above are listed to help you get an image like you would find in an identification book, with all of the butterfly in focus, filling the frame.

*Life-span of a butterfly
Most live either 2-3 months of 3-4 months.
You will see different butterflies at different times of the year, so be sure to go out every couple of weeks and you may find different varieties in the same locations.
Later in the year, butterflies will be rougher looking and may show damage from birds.

*Fun fact: the Montana state butterfly "the Mourning Cloak (external link)" can hibernate and can often be found while there is still snow on the ground.

A special thanks to my friend CS for teaching me how to take pictures of butterflies.


_______________
Canon 70D | 70-200mm f2.8 MK1 | 85mm f1.8 | 50mm f1.8 | Tamron 17-50mm f2.8 non vc| Nissin Di866 II

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Micro5797
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Micro5797. 4 edits done in total.
Jul 16, 2016 20:09 |  #2

I believe this to be a Pearl Crescent. Thank you Keith for the ID!
Canon 70-200 with a 13mm macro extension tube.
I did not crop the image.

Near Helena MT, USA on the Continental divide at about 6500 feet. July 14th 2016 about 2:pm.

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Beekeeper
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Jul 17, 2016 01:02 |  #3

IMAGE: https://farm1.staticflickr.com/576/21910833690_af65448659_b.jpg
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Common Checkered skipper (external link) by D Zachary Phipps (external link) on Flickr

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Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
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Beekeeper
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Jul 17, 2016 01:05 |  #4

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Giant swallowtail (external link) by D Zachary Phipps (external link) on Flickr

IMAGE: https://farm6.staticflickr.com/5802/20013359874_64c239d69b_b.jpg
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Pearl Crescent butterfly (external link) by D Zachary Phipps (external link) on Flickr

Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/46367607@N06/ (external link)
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Beekeeper
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Jul 17, 2016 01:07 |  #5

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Red-Spotted Purple (external link) by D Zachary Phipps (external link) on Flickr

Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
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Beekeeper
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Jul 17, 2016 01:09 |  #6

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Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/46367607@N06/ (external link)
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Beekeeper
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Jul 17, 2016 01:11 |  #7

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Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/46367607@N06/ (external link)
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Beekeeper
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Jul 17, 2016 01:13 |  #8

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Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
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Beekeeper
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Jul 17, 2016 01:15 |  #9

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Eastern Tailed Blue (external link) by D Zachary Phipps (external link) on Flickr

Zach--C&C is welcome on my photos
https://www.flickr.com​/photos/46367607@N06/ (external link)
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Micro5797
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Micro5797. 2 edits done in total.
Jul 17, 2016 09:49 |  #10

@Beekeeper. You have some great captures there as well as some butterflies that i don't have in my area. Thank you so much for sharing!

Here is an image of a patrol moth.
I again used my 13mm macro tube as moths are very cooperative. I saw nearly a dozen of these in this location, but most were nectaring. Some would sit still, while others would not land for more then 1 second. I am hoping to catch some butterflies nectaring on the Canadian thistles in the next couple of weeks.

Near Helena MT, USA on the Continental divide at about 6500 feet. July 14th 2016 about 2:pm.

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Pax2You
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Jul 17, 2016 19:15 |  #11

Giant Leopard Moth in North Carolina. Oly E-M5, F14, 152mm (120-300mm lens adapted) + 34mm extension, ISO400. No crop. Pose was tilted toward me so the DOF didn't allow for the bottom of the frame to be sharp.


IMAGE: https://c1.staticflickr.com/9/8831/28217779591_3806121b69_b.jpg

7D, Canon 400mm 5.6L, Canon 70-200mm f4L IS, Sigma APO 2x DG EX TC, 50mm 1.8, 18-55mm II, 10-18mm IS STM, Tiffen aXent ND 3.0 (ND1000) filter, Olympus OMD E-M5, Oly 14-42mm, Oly 12-50mm, ZEQ25gt Mount, plus a few other lenses, extension tubes, and general mish-mash

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TheBigDog
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Sicklerville, NJ, USA
Jul 17, 2016 22:14 |  #12

I wish I were able to get more of this beauty, but I only had my phone on me :(
Was one of the largest butterflies I've seen, I think it's a female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail...

IMAGE: https://c5.staticflickr.com/9/8749/28263161612_8b9bb19671_b.jpg
[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/K4w6​gS] (external link)A butterfly at rest (external link) by Christian Gross (external link), on Flickr

Chris
http://www.cegphotogra​phy.com/ (external link)
Flickr (external link) * Facebook (external link)
Nikon D5 * D810 * 24-70 f/2.8 * Sigma 50mm f/1.4 Art * 105mm f/2.8 * 70-200 f/2.8 * 80-400mm * Sigma Sport 150-600mm

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M_Six
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Jul 17, 2016 22:45 |  #13

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail - Dark Form

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[IMAGE'S LINK: https://flic.kr/p/K1HB​sH] (external link)Grand Prairie Butterfly Club (external link) by Mark Johnson (external link), on Flickr

Mark J.
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Micro5797
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Post has been edited over 1 year ago by Micro5797.
Jul 18, 2016 18:09 |  #14

Here is a painted lady i got last year in the Grand Tetons Wyoming, at the Signal Mountain Campground right off of the lake.
Uncropped. I was still learning settings. I think the under wing show was at 200mm with a 1.4 tc and the second image was just at 200mm.
September 2015.

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Micro5797
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Post has been last edited over 1 year ago by Micro5797. 2 edits done in total.
Aug 06, 2016 18:49 |  #15

Here are a couple of Blues. For some reason i have a harder time getting them in focus then other butterflies.

These are two different Blues. You can see the first Blue is getting a little beat up as is typical later in the year.

Canon 70-200 with a 13mm macro extension tube. I did not crop the images.
Near Helena MT, USA on the Continental divide at about 6500 feet. August 6th 2016 about 1:30pm.
My ISO is set higher as it was very overcast, then all of a sudden the clouds dissipated and i forgot to lower my ISO.

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Post your Butterflies!! Tips on how to capture them.
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