I got the impression that in some of the shots the two wings of the butterfly sort of merged into one, but maybe that's how the wings were.
It could just be the angle from those particular shots.
The shot of the wasp eating the beetle is quite amazing and has plenty of 3-D effect.
It is actually not a wasp, but a robber fly. These particular subspecies mimic the coloration of wasps, but they are predatory hunters who have almost an "icepick" sticking out of their face as a weapon.
The 3D effect of that photo was more a matter of angle. For instance, had I stood directly over these two mating insects they would have had the "flat" look you are taking about ... but because I got down and propped myself up on my elbows, at about a 25-degree angle, it gave much more depth of field ... as well as made the critters look H-U-G-E. With the camera at a similar heighth-level as the robber flies, and with such a close shot, I wanted the impression to be what they must look like "if they were our size"
In fact, the shot I took of the American painted lady on the first page was kind of from a "below horizon" perspective, making this butterfly look almost like an airplane waiting its turn to go down the runway and fly ...
Looks like it would be worth getting a G9 just for its macro capability. You've sure got a lot of butterflies in your garden.
That is the main reason I got the G9, was for macro work for my personal pleasure, and for it to be rugged and capable of being taken and used exclusively outdoors in both my garden and the woods. Many times I have dropped my camera (on purpose), or set it down hard, to go after a snake to catch and add to my collection. So I needed a rugged build on top of the macro and good color.
However, I have also been thinking about designing my own little "Butterfly Field Guide" just for fun, and I need quality photos to do this. I am actually trying to capture shots of each species of butterfly in my area as a more positive way to "collect butterflies" than by sticking them into a wall with a needle. They last longer and look better "alive" and on photo, and I sure do feel better showing them to people this way
As for my garden, yes, I do have lots of butterflies, and that is partially due to geography and partially due to design. I have gone to several nurseries to purchase many different kinds of flower that are known to attract butterflies. However, certain species of butterly do not alight on flowers at all, but in fact are attracted to rotten fruit. So I have also put over-ripe mangos, bananas, etc. out to attract those species as well. Doesn't make for as nice a photo on average though
How close to the front of the lens would these shots be on average?
I would say the average distance would be about 18 inches. I normally take one from far away, just to preserve and document the species, and then try for closer ones from there.
If you go to www.butterfliesandmoths.org
you can look up the species reported to be found in your state, and from there see if it has been documented that these species were actually found in your county. You can even report your findings to this website, and they will assign to you a professional lepidopterist who will confirm the species if you submit the photographs. When I was living in TN, I documented 12 different species for my county that previously had not been identified there, and so butterfliesandmoths.org updated its records accordingly.
In coordingation with this website, and with appointed experts in each state, and with interested fanciers like us, this is how the effective "range map" of butterflies and their habitats slowly becomes understood better.
Just a little hobby of mine