Black swallowtail

Discussion in 'Birds' started by Bob Coutant, Aug 13, 2005.

  1. Bob Coutant

    Bob Coutant Moderator Moderator

    May 17, 2005
    Pleasantville Ohio
    I shot these about a week ago, and I've been going round and round with the color balance ever since. I finally went back outside this morning and studied two more up close and personal. There was enough color variation from one to the other that I decided that what the camera saw was better than my imagination of how they should look. I was metering off the butterfly and blew out some of the flowers -- any suggestions on how to do this better? [D70, 70-300G]
  2. Flew


    Jan 25, 2005

    I don't know any real good way to capture a mostly black butterfly (or any black subject) next to such a light foreground object without having the problem that you experienced here. About the best you can do is to frame the shot with as little of the light flowers as possible, or crop them out in PP.
  3. Bob Coutant

    Bob Coutant Moderator Moderator

    May 17, 2005
    Pleasantville Ohio
    Thanks Frank.
    I doubt that I can exclude the flowers competely as that's about the only place I ever see them sit still. Maybe I'll try metering off the flowers to see how poorly exposed that makes the butterfly. I have some of a different black butterfly (red-spotted purple) that came out rather nice -- with those, I was able to catch the butterfly in a shaddy area.
  4. Lisa


    May 3, 2005
    Hi Bob:

    I have the D70 also and have experienced situations such as this. I see that you used center weighted metering and a +1/3 exposure compensation. What I do in cases like this is spot meter on the flowers....your butterfly will most likely come out very dark but I'll bet it will clean up nice.

    Another thing I do, is use the display on the back of the D70 to show the blinking highlights and adjust the aperture or exposure accordingly.
  5. Bob Coutant

    Bob Coutant Moderator Moderator

    May 17, 2005
    Pleasantville Ohio
    Thanks for the suggestions Lisa. These critters move about more quickly than my brain can function sometimes, so I try to anticipate. That doesn't always work. I think you're right about spot metering on the flowers -- that's my plan for tomorrow morning. I also considered bracketing exposures, but I'd have to be very lucky for them to stay still long enough for that to work.
    Yes, I knew the shots were over exposed before I took them out of the camera, but, by that time, the moment had passed.
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