Go For the Eyes . . .

American Copper Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow at Raccoon Creek State Park. Jeff blogs about the art and science of butterflies at http://www.wingedbeauty.com
What’s getting better each year? Well, the easy availability of gluten-free foods, the useful gadgets in new cars, and most importantly here, the real increase in the number of butterfly images that are being shared. Shared here in the U.S. and shared across the globe.

It’s very difficult to photograph butterflies. They are usually very wary and apprehensive. Most people go look for them after noontime, and that’s when most butterflies refuse to allow us to approach them. We’re another threat, added to the long list of threatening fliers, crawlers, slitherers, jumpers and so on. That exponentially increases the difficulty of scoring great photographs of butterflies.

There are some out there who must use certain gimmicks to capture their images. I’m out there alot, and I still can’t get my butterflies to pose on the top of a flower, with head held high, and wings perfectly positioned for the camera lens. Tricks can make that possible. Not for me.

The eyes. I work to capture better images of butterflies’ eyes. Many years ago, I read alot about this, and agree that a good image will feature good to better view of the eyes of your butterfly subject. This is tough to do, and forces us to not use many exposures (many, many exposures).

Keeping this discussion short, consider that all images of dogs, birds, horses, snakes, turtles, cattle, and cats come with good eyes. That is expected and required, for acceptance.

This American Copper Butterfly, perched on hawkweed, met my own threshold requirement for passable eye clarity.

I shoot macro- and that comes with a very limited depth of field. Good eyes, good wings, good body (head-thorax-abdomen), good antennae, good legs, good proboscis and also good eyes? Well, I say Yes. That is The challenge.


PS. If you’re interested in the technique that I’ve developed over time, check out the step-by-step section of the blog.