What Jeff Tries To Capture

Close Up of Pipevine Swallowtail  Butterfly photographed by Jeff Zablow as it perched on Bergamot flower at Raccoon Creek State Park in Pennsylvania, 7/31/14

Let’s use this Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly, in part because last month in Georgia I met a good number of these winged beauties. As the years go by, I am happy to share that more and more of us are out there, capturing butterfly images. That is very good news.

When I view your shares, mostly on Facebook, I am often tempted to offer my encouragement, and to . . . offer some suggestions. We know that when a fine butterfly comes along, the excitement is real, and we rush to get some pictures of it.

Let me share what I work to achieve in a photo capture. First and foremost, my goal is to share, so I carefully consider the background. This image had a very yummy! background, and that was a Go! Next I remind myself that the flowerhead or leaf platform ought to be sharply defined, to enhance the overall. Those considerations happen lightning quick, time being sooo limited.

Now to the butterfly. My priority is capture of the eye or eyes. Long ago I thought this through. A good image of a Great blue heron, or a grizzly bear, of a lion, no matter which, they all share sharp eyes. Photos of horses are very beloved, and the eyes are always crisp and defined. My image here met my own threshold of acceptability.

Next, and critical, the wings. We admire butterflies largely because of the extreme beauty of their wings. I have never seen a butterfly whose wings, if well  captured, are not beautiful or beyond beautiful. Wings inspire, connect us with our Maker. When this image came back from the slide processor, the wings assured me that I would be pleased to use this image.

Eyes, wings OK, then on to other goals, I try for good head capture, especially the head coloring (think those Wow! big white spots on Monarch heads) and if it’s doable, the antennae and the tiny palps.

Abdomen improves the whole package, and here the Pipevine’s abdomen boasts white spots and flashes of that extraordinary blue! Legs are one of my last considerations, knowing all along that good legs always please.

Every once in a while there’s a bonus, and that bonus is an unfurled proboscis. My experience is that folks enjoy seeing a curled proboscis.

These objectives meld with time enabling you to respond almost effortlessly to produce images that gain those Oohs! and Ahhs! that so Thrill! us.

What do you think?