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I need butterfly help! (3 photos)

Discussion in 'Macro, Flowers, Insects, and Greenery' started by cajun angel, Jul 15, 2008.

  1. We have a small temporary butterfly house and I want to learn how to shoot them - I went today, but geez, something was always wrong it seemed! I don't have a macro, so if it can be done with any of the lenses I do have, I'd like help on proper settings. The camera body is my D200, the lens used today is the 80-200mm 2.8. I want to learn proper settings if there are any and please critique! I plan on going back tomorrow morning when they release a new batch of butterflies! Oh yeah, I tried to focus on the eyes or head as much as I could.

    Settings were 170mm, aperture priority, center-weight metering, 1/100 sec at F8, ISO 400, WB on auto
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    Settings were 200mm, aperture priority, matrix metering, 1/250sec F8, ISO 400, WB on Flash
    View attachment 221653

    Settings were 200mm, manual exposure, 1/2000 sec F5.6, matrix metering, ISO 800, WB on auto
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  2. Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  3. SteveK


    Mar 16, 2005
    My main comment is that the side of the butterfly house is showing up in your images. If the house is very small, it may be impossible to avoid. You could possibly place a background between the butterfly and the screen on the sides of the building (the butterflies will typically go to the same flowers, so you simply set up the background and wait). If the butterfly is parallel to your focal plane (ie #2,3), you can shoot with a wider aperture (say f4) and that will help blur the background.

    You can also use a flash, but often it will drive some strange shadows in this sort of situation.
  4. Hiya Steve! That butterfly house is quite small! I think it's about 20+ ft long - about the size of a small green house with plants in planters on either side. There were cases where I could avoid the sides of the house, but those photos were horribly OOF because of my settings. And then it was kids constantly coming through, keeping the butterflies in flight. I'm going to try to go back tomorrow morning before the crowds of kids arrive.
  5. Thanks Kevin! I don't have a set of kenkos. I would be happy with a canon 500D as well! I hope to go back tomorrow morning, arriving earlier, before the crowds of kids arrive. I found the more people, the more the butterflies would fly, not landing on flowers or foliage. It was after the kids left that they starting landing/feeding, and me...over-heated.
    Last edited by a moderator: Mar 15, 2017
  6. ps, get a set, they are very inexpensive, they come in a package of 3 or maybe you can find one individually, I just remember that the kenko allows the light meter and auto focus to work versus the nikon. the 300f4 and the kenko's are a great match.
    Kevin P.
  7. Thanks, will do as soon as I can!
  8. I use a 200mm f/4 micro lens - on tripod, although I have some good ones hand held also. I have had good luck with the 80-400mm f4 VR also. I set my camera at shutter priority at about 500-640. I have some recent shots - Aphrodite Fritillary if you want to take a look.
  9. eng45ine


    May 11, 2005
    Chicago, IL
    Dianne, your first and third images would have benefitted from some fill flash. Just a bit of extra lighting would help to eliminate shadows and bring out more detail. Put one of your SB 800 flashes on a sync cord so you can direct the lighting where you want it. Bounce it off the ceiling or use the diffuser dome to soften the power and direct it from the side. In the second image, the butterfly is way out of focus, nothing you can do to improve on that one.
  10. Thanks Frank! I"m taking the sb800 and sync with me today - if it's not raining. We have rain in the area already!
  11. Thanks Birgit! I'm trying to learn to just use what I have for now. Eventually, I'll either get a set of kenkos, canon 500D, or if $$ permits, maybe a true macro. My main goal is getting out of the house more, shoot more, and hopefully improve my techniques.
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