Ad
Ad
Ad
Pages: « 1 [2] 3 »   Bottom of Page
Print
Author Topic: ~ 2010 Butterfly Collection ~  (Read 14854 times)
kpmedia
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 57



« Reply #20 on: August 17, 2010, 09:15:48 PM »
ReplyReply

I don't have a true macro lens, and I don't like getting that close to the bugs. To me, it doesn't feel natural. I want to include some breathing room, so I can take in a little more of their environment. I'm going for art, not ID photos for a book.

I would disagree that these are snapshots. You can't get that close with a P&S camera, nor a starter lens on a cheap SLR, and maintain the sharpness, focal depth and bokeh that I'm going for. There is also some skill involved in angles and approach -- you can't just amble up mindlessly and whip out a camera phone like most would do, or their P&S/DSLR Rebel in "P" mode.

I also insist on natural light for these -- no flash. (Flash adds contrast and shadows that I don't want.) Again, it's about being natural and true to the environment.

I would suggest the images I've been taking have an emotional impact. It's not about "see, here's what a bug looks like".
Logged

Long time Nikon user. Currently using D200 + D3s for sports photography.
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #21 on: August 18, 2010, 08:27:55 AM »
ReplyReply

I don't have a true macro lens, and I don't like getting that close to the bugs. To me, it doesn't feel natural. I want to include some breathing room, so I can take in a little more of their environment. I'm going for art, not ID photos for a book.

Well, that is probably why you can get "the whole butterfly" in focus, as you're not very close to it.

A true macro lens has a very shallow DOF and it is almost impossible to get "the whole butterfly" in focus at a very close range. The only way to approach this is to use an f/22 (or beyond) f/stop ... and the only way to do this is to make use of a flash. Thus your statements about getting the whole butterfly in focus just show an inexperience with true macrophotography. Anyone can take a 50mm lens and get the whole butterfly in focus from 3' away, but it's quite another matter to do this at 1:1 magnification from 6"-10" away.

However, that said, I do understand and respect the desire to step back and get part of the environment with certain butterfly shots. I also understand and respect the desire to achieve an artistic expression with the thoughtful use of the environment. However, again, if that "environment" is comprised of your own brick wall in the background, and a bunch of branches directly behind the subject, then your photo can't realistically be called "natural" and it won't qualify as "art" either IMO. By contrast, a photo like the one Dwayne Oakes took does effectively accomplish those ideals you mention.




I would disagree that these are snapshots. You can't get that close with a P&S camera, nor a starter lens on a cheap SLR, and maintain the sharpness, focal depth and bokeh that I'm going for. There is also some skill involved in angles and approach -- you can't just amble up mindlessly and whip out a camera phone like most would do, or their P&S/DSLR Rebel in "P" mode.

Your statements regarding a P&S are false. My Canon Poweshot G9 P&S can take a photo just a few mm from the subject and can fill the frame with only the butterfly's head and foreparts. What it can't really do is achieve the same degree of photo quality that my 7D can, but I could take a far more detailed shot of a Monarch with my P&S than you presented here in the above image. I do agree with you that a truly artistic butterfly shot is all about "skill of angles and approach," which is preceisely where your own posted image fails to impress. The angle and approach is such that there is a wall in the background as well as branches sprouting-out directly behind your subject, spoiling the very effect you were trying to achieve. Thus the angle was unsuitable to capture an artistic mood. Your lighting and the bokeh were very nice, but the angle IMHO was not.


I also insist on natural light for these -- no flash. (Flash adds contrast and shadows that I don't want.) Again, it's about being natural and true to the environment.

Well, I admire your perspective, and in many ways I agree with you (for artistic purposes); yet in many ways this is isn't how natural light pans out. In far too many instances, natural lighting doesn't allow the true colors of the butterfly to be seen. For this reason, every professional butterfly photographer (meaning those who have actually created any kind of field guide or species reference text) relies on the use of flash to take the vast majority of their photographs. And the reason for this, again, is stated in my previous sentence. For example, on the image I just presented of the Long-Tailed Skipper, I will illustrate the point because I took a photo with the available "natural" light, as well as with the use of flash, and I will now juxtapose these two images to illustrate the difference:



(Taken with available light)



(Taken with flash)


First of all, let me be the first to admit neither of my images qualifies as "art." The background is simply mundane. Further, the top image is slightly out of focus, and was taken from a bit farther back, so let me be the first to admit these flaws as well. The point of the juxtaposition is this however: The natural light I was presented with was a shady tree canopy. I had to use both 400 ISO (not 100) and even then, not all of the butterfly's natural colors were captured. The inside coloration of the Long-Tailed Skipper is a scintillating mixture of blue-and-gold, forever shifting and changing based on lighting conditions. Had I followed your credo and only relied on natural light, I would have failed to capture the "true essence" of this butterfly's exquisite coloration. However, by making judicious use of flash (in the bottom photo), I was able to capture the true essence of this butterfly's coloration and appeal.

Therefore, it really depends on the purpose of the photograph (and the nature of the background) to determine whether or not to use a flash as well as to determine if the background enhances (or detracts) from the image. In your case, the lighting was excellent, but the background hurt your image. If presented with the same lighting conditions as you, I might not have have used a flash either, but I also wouldn't have positioned myself so that my wall and a bunch of branches were directly behind my subject. But if yours was the only angle I had, then making use of the flash would have "blacked-out" the poor background, allowing only the butterfly to shine.

In my case of the Long-Tailed Skipper, the background behind my subject wasn't bad, but there was nothing "artistic" about it either. My own goal was to get as detailed a shot of the butterfly as I could. With the available natural light this was impossible, as the iridescent gold coloration would not come out under the shady conditions. However, with the use of flash, all of the scintillating coloration in fact did come out, making the second image a far more effective presentation (for my purposes).

Had I been looking for a "fine art" shot, I simply would have had to pass on that instance altogether.




I would suggest the images I've been taking have an emotional impact. It's not about "see, here's what a bug looks like".

I would respectfully disagree. Dwayne's image carries such an emotional impact, but IMHO your image simply does not. The only emotion I got when viewing your image was, "Why was the wall in the background?", as well as, "Why did he not move so the leaves and sticks were out of the way?"

I also disagree that some images are not, in fact, exactly "Here's what this bug looks like."

The entire point of macrophotography is to bring a tiny subject up closer to view than can be seen with the naked eye so as to appreciate the intricate beauty of the tiny animal that we cannot normally see with our naked eye. The "emotional impact" from my own butterfly pic comes from the butterfly's own scintillating colors, not from me or from some magical angle I created.

I do understand that great photographers are those who create these "magical angles" that evoke moods and emotions in us. I did nothing close to that with my image, I merely captured the butterfly's own beauty with my camera, as I am nowhere near being a "great artistic photographer."

And while I do sincerely appreciate and respect your efforts in trying to get such an artistic angle with your own shot, I don't believe it was a very effective effort, unfortunately, for the reasons already mentioned.

Best regards,

Jack




.
Logged
kpmedia
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 57



« Reply #22 on: August 18, 2010, 10:26:30 AM »
ReplyReply

The DOF and focusing with a near-macro focusing lens, using a 2x extender, is just a challenging as 1:1.

Using flash is simply artificial. Any colors it might pull out are unnatural to the environment -- you didn't see those colors anyway. I want to capture the moment that was observed, not jimmy and jack around with it via camera tricks. I can think of far more interesting subject matter for playing with lighting and augmenting natural color.

If I wanted to get closer, I could always crop the image. But I don't want that. At full size, my image is quite sharp and detailed.

You really come across as an ass, so I don't think I'm interested in any further conversation with you. For me, this is all impromptu fun photography. It's a way for the camera to still be fun, instead of always being used solely for work. So I don't need some wise acre telling me that my shots should be deleted. I think your flash work is terrible, but I don't feel the need to give you a verbal raping over it. If I wanted harsh criticism, I could just ask my last editor for opinions -- he was needlessly rude, too. (And to make things worse, he couldn't shoot himself out of a paper bag.)

Enjoy your butterfly shooting, all the same. Thanks.
« Last Edit: August 18, 2010, 10:28:56 AM by kpmedia » Logged

Long time Nikon user. Currently using D200 + D3s for sports photography.
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #23 on: August 19, 2010, 10:13:58 AM »
ReplyReply

Using flash is simply artificial. Any colors it might pull out are unnatural to the environment -- you didn't see those colors anyway. I want to capture the moment that was observed, not jimmy and jack around with it via camera tricks. I can think of far more interesting subject matter for playing with lighting and augmenting natural color.

Really? IMO, you simply delude yourself. The truth is you simply fail to acknowledge the fact that using a camera is itself artificial. The whole concept of achieving a "bokeh" in your style of photography is itself artificial. That is not how one "naturally" sees an image. Therefore, you didn't capture anything "natural" at all either, you merely prefer your style of distortion of what was actually there through your own style of modifying your own camera's adjustments. Your adjustments are no less artificial than mine.

The truth is, I didn't "jimmy and jack with camera tricks" (by turning on my flash) any more than you did setting your f/stop and ISO. I simply used another tool at my disposal to pull out the full potential of the available presentation.




If I wanted to get closer, I could always crop the image. But I don't want that. At full size, my image is quite sharp and detailed.

Cropping the image isn't "getting closer." Nor is it as effective as buying a better tool for the job. For your purposes, however, what you're using is just fine. For the best possible close-up macrophotography, a true macro lens is best.




You really come across as an ass, so I don't think I'm interested in any further conversation with you.

LOL, I don't remember calling you any names. Yet here you are calling me names and yet you say "I" am the ass.

The truth is, you're yet another weak person who can't take blunt criticism. You can offer criticism, but you can't take it.

The blunt truth of the matter is, if achieving "skill in angles" is the defining point of an artistic image, then you simply failed in precisely this skill set. Even by your own admission.




For me, this is all impromptu fun photography. It's a way for the camera to still be fun, instead of always being used solely for work.

Butterfly photography is fun for me too. So is debating the merits of image quality with overly-sensitive types who are easily butt-hurt.




So I don't need some wise acre telling me that my shots should be deleted.

I didn't say your shots "should" be deleted; I said *I* would have deleted that shot. There is a difference.

For that matter, I have deleted these last two shots of mine also, as they have served their purpose and I really have no long-term use for them.




I think your flash work is terrible, but I don't feel the need to give you a verbal raping over it.

LOL, true to hypocritical form, you just did give me a "verbal raping" Smiley

Unlike you, I my feelings are not hurt over your reactive opinion. BTW, what do you feel is terrible about my flashwork? I didn't struggle too hard in the post-processing, and I do think the saturation is a bit much, but other than that the colors came out wonderfully. Especially on the full-sized .tiff.




If I wanted harsh criticism, I could just ask my last editor for opinions -- he was needlessly rude, too. (And to make things worse, he couldn't shoot himself out of a paper bag.)

It seems your last editor didn't like your images either ... and it seems you feel the need to insult him too ... are we noticing a pattern here?  Wink

In my case, if you didn't want criticism, then you shouldn't have first given it.

Myself, I actually welcome criticism, the more open and honest the better, but I also want to see if the person who criticizes can first show he can "walk his talk." I think this is fair. In your case, you first spoke to me of "perfection," and when I asked for a sample of your own perfection, you presented to me a poorly-composed shot, taken from 3' away, as a model of macro-focus perfection. I think that the images I posted on the first page, and of the moth photos above your first post, are light years better quality macro shots (compositionally, color-wise, and qualitatively) than your image. Now then, to show I am not just proud of my own images, I think SolarDarkroom truly does have many exceptional butterfly images too, many of which are better than my own, images which show true skill in macrophotography. I likewise appreciate Dwayne Oakes' "Tiger in the Sun" artistic butterfly portrayal. So I am not afraid to give compliments when they are due, nor am I afraid to admire another man's work (nor to learn from any man who knows more about a subject than I do).

In your case, however, the truth is your image is simply a discard-level image IMO and does nothing for me. That you achieved "sharp total focus" of the butterfly is only because it was a speck in your viewfinder and not a true macro shot. And that the bokeh was nice doesn't change the fact the shot was poorly-composed with a severely-flawed background. In my honest opinion, your image is neither suitable as "fine art" nor is it suitable as a model of species identification. Either of these could have been done much more effectively.

I am sorry if this offends you, but you put yourself in this position by speaking of "perfection" and then offering as an example a severely-flawed image. Still, I never called you any names, as you called me. I merely called your attention to the fact that your image failed in precisely the "skill in angles" requirement you yourself said was the defining line between a work of art and a snapshot.




Enjoy your butterfly shooting, all the same. Thanks.

I always do---and you do the same Smiley

Take care, and don't take the simple truth so hard, it is unbecoming.

Jack




.
« Last Edit: August 19, 2010, 10:33:44 AM by John Koerner » Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #24 on: August 20, 2010, 06:57:14 AM »
ReplyReply

For those who prefer "artsy" photographs, I am curious if you think the following image qualifes as "butterfly art"? I think it does





Gushing praise (or hurled tomatoes) welcome

Jack

BTW, the species of butterfly is a Viceroy.




.
Logged
Rocco Penny
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 483



« Reply #25 on: August 20, 2010, 05:31:56 PM »
ReplyReply

hahaha
there might only be 4 of us here-
Cheesy
anyway I want to say yes I love the colors.
Reminds me of all the ling cod skin shots I have.
Tons of just fun color from fishes, all kinds not just lings.
I have cabezone, abalone, urchins, well all sorts of crazy colorful sea life shots.
I liked the color more than the fish, so I have tons of partial shots like the one above,
do you see?
OK Hey thanks for the direction and effort,
I am learning alot,
bye
Logged
k bennett
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 1417


WWW
« Reply #26 on: August 20, 2010, 08:11:20 PM »
ReplyReply

I'm not a nature photographer or a macro specialist, so I hate to jump in here, but I kinda liked this one.

Shot with a GF1 with the 20mm lens at f/2. (Told you I wasn't a nature photog.  Wink ) Shot a bunch of images to get a few that I liked. These were taken on a trail up to a fire tower on the Blue Ridge Parkway last week. Tens of thousands of butterflies on the Joe Pye Weed along the trail.
Logged

Equipment: a camera and some lenses.
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #27 on: August 21, 2010, 06:51:57 AM »
ReplyReply

hahaha
there might only be 4 of us here-
Cheesy
anyway I want to say yes I love the colors.
Reminds me of all the ling cod skin shots I have.
Tons of just fun color from fishes, all kinds not just lings.
I have cabezone, abalone, urchins, well all sorts of crazy colorful sea life shots.
I liked the color more than the fish, so I have tons of partial shots like the one above,
do you see?
OK Hey thanks for the direction and effort,
I am learning alot,
bye


Thanks Rocco!

RE: Fish: that would be a truly interesting experience as well as a never-ending study in form and color. Wow, didn't even consider fish before.

Here I was trying to step outside my usual "full body" photos and try for a different looks and feels with the shapes and colors.

Jack


.
Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #28 on: August 21, 2010, 07:31:05 AM »
ReplyReply

I'm not a nature photographer or a macro specialist, so I hate to jump in here, but I kinda liked this one.
Shot with a GF1 with the 20mm lens at f/2. (Told you I wasn't a nature photog.  Wink ) Shot a bunch of images to get a few that I liked. These were taken on a trail up to a fire tower on the Blue Ridge Parkway last week. Tens of thousands of butterflies on the Joe Pye Weed along the trail.

Nice shot of a Pipevine Swallowtail Ken.

I know what you mean about throwing away images, because I have thrown away thousands myself. While I do like your photograph, and while the Pipevine Swallowtail is one of the most attractive species there is IMO, I have two friendly criticisms: One is that that the butterfly's eyes were out of focus. I have taken (no telling how) many shots where the wings were gorgeously-displayed ... but the eyes were blurry ... that I have discarded for this reason. (Take my own shot of the Long-Tailed Skipper above, in natural light: the wings show nicely but the head was blurry and so I let it go.)

On the other hand, certain "soft-focus" butterfly (and flower) shots are very pleasing to the eye and can allow this sort of thing to happen. In fact, this was what I was trying to demonstrate in the Viceroy shot above, where I didn't even include the head

I am no expert in soft-focus shots, but IMHO in order for those kinds of shot to work their best, there has to be simplicity of shape and color in the background, not busy-ness of shape and color. In your case, shooting at f/2 guaranteed most of the image would be blurry and that there would be a lot of bokeh, which is great. In the case of the background on the left, this worked wonderfully: both the green color and the simplicity of blurred shapes really made your butterfly stand out nicely. In the case of the Joe Pye Weed on the right, however, my other friendly criticism is that this was a little too busy to work well with the concept of a soft-focus bokeh shot IMO. The pinkinsh color and the busy-ness of this blurred weed compete with your butterfly for my eye's attention. I want to keep looking at your butterfly, but the size and busy-ness of the Joe Pye Weed keep pulling my eyes away from your butterfly.

IMO, for a bokeh shot to work as it was intended, the blurred background should draw full attention to your subject, not take attention away from it, and for that to happen the background has to be simple, in both shape and color, and that color should enhance your image not clash with it.

Thanks for sharing!

Jack




.
« Last Edit: August 21, 2010, 09:39:43 AM by John Koerner » Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #29 on: August 23, 2010, 03:39:49 PM »
ReplyReply

A couple more that I like ...



American Lady



Gulf Fritillary


Enjoy,

Jack




.
Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #30 on: August 27, 2010, 09:48:01 PM »
ReplyReply

Haven't seen a Great Purple Hairstreak in more than 2 years ... finally ran into one today and was able to get some nice shots of it:




Great Purple Hairstreak



I again took one shot with natural lighting, and another with a flash, to show the totally different effects of each. It's hard to say which shot is "better" ... on the one hand, the texture of the butterfly's wings is much silkier and pleasant to look at, while on the other hand all of the tiny color fragments of the butterfly pop-out when the flash is used.

Both photos were taken from the same basic perspective, hand-held.

Enjoy,

Jack




.
Logged
wolfnowl
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 5698



WWW
« Reply #31 on: August 28, 2010, 07:51:03 PM »
ReplyReply

Of the two I prefer the natural lighting - for this image, Jack.  Of course, one doesn't always get the opportunity to shoot both!

Mike.
Logged

If your mind is attuned to beauty, you find beauty in everything.
~ Jean Cooke ~


My Flickr site / Random Thoughts and Other Meanderings at M&M's Musings
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #32 on: August 30, 2010, 08:50:42 AM »
ReplyReply

Of the two I prefer the natural lighting - for this image, Jack.  Of course, one doesn't always get the opportunity to shoot both!
Mike.

Thanks for your views Mike, as always Smiley

Jack




.
Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #33 on: September 13, 2010, 07:04:25 AM »
ReplyReply

Saturday morning I had the good fortune of having an absolutely flawless Tersa Sphinx land on the trunk of an old tree outside my back door ... and just sit there letting me take as many photos as I wanted. Perfecto!







Enjoy!

Jack




.
Logged
Eric Myrvaagnes
Sr. Member
****
Offline Offline

Posts: 7791



WWW
« Reply #34 on: September 13, 2010, 10:06:40 AM »
ReplyReply

Jack,

I suspect you are paying your models more than the going rate!

Eric
Logged

-Eric Myrvaagnes

http://myrvaagnes.com  Visit my website. New images each season.
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #35 on: September 14, 2010, 02:57:22 AM »
ReplyReply

Jack,
I suspect you are paying your models more than the going rate!
Eric


Well, that's the beauty of it, Eric, they do it for free

Jack


.
Logged
solardarkroom.com
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 78


WWW
« Reply #36 on: September 16, 2010, 04:38:47 PM »
ReplyReply

John,

The profile shot of the Tersa Sphinx is hands-down my favorite ever. Awesome! That's what I call art. I'm also envious of your mint condition Purple Hairstreak. I recently drove 250 chasing that bug and came home empty handed. Yours looks like it emerged that morning. As for flash I could go with either one with all the various pros and cons. If you'd taken one with just a touch of fill flash for sparkle I'd be interested in seeing that too for comparison. One day I'll shoot with a flash.

Regards,

David
www.solardarkroom.com
Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2010, 06:31:13 AM »
ReplyReply

John,
The profile shot of the Tersa Sphinx is hands-down my favorite ever. Awesome! That's what I call art. I'm also envious of your mint condition Purple Hairstreak. I recently drove 250 chasing that bug and came home empty handed. Yours looks like it emerged that morning. As for flash I could go with either one with all the various pros and cons. If you'd taken one with just a touch of fill flash for sparkle I'd be interested in seeing that too for comparison. One day I'll shoot with a flash.
Regards,
David
www.solardarkroom.com


Thank you very much David, that means a lot coming from as dedicated a butterfly shooter as yourself! And,interestingly, both shots of the Tersa Sphinx were taken with a tripod and natural lighting Smiley

Don't feel bad about the Great Purple Hairstreak, as I have lived here in FL for several years and have only seen it 2x previously. When I reported my finding to Florida lepidopterist John Calhoun (co-author of Butterflies Through Binoculars, Florida), he has lived in his home for more than a decade and only seen the GPH one time himself on his own property. They are scarce! So thrilled was I about my photographic opportunity, that I wrote a little passage on my blog about it ... which I think that you (being a fellow fancier) will get a kick out of:

http://johnkoerner.org/Blog/2010/08/31/great-purple-hairstreak



And, as a matter of fact, I just had a similar experience yesterday regarding another rare (to me) species, the Little Metalmark. In precisely the same fashion, I have only seen 2 of these tiny jewels previously also, but never had my camera. This time I did and was able to get some pretty decent shots of it:




This opportunity was much more fleeting, however, and I was only able to get 5 shots of this specimen (from my knees, propped on my left elbow) before he took off. Still, the find made my entire day yesterday

If you'd like to see the others, check out my Internet Butterfly Collection: http://www.johnkoerner.org/ButterflyCollection/littlemetalmark.html

Cheers!

Jack




.
« Last Edit: September 20, 2010, 06:52:32 AM by John Koerner » Logged
solardarkroom.com
Jr. Member
**
Offline Offline

Posts: 78


WWW
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2010, 01:26:54 PM »
ReplyReply

John,

I hope your appointment wasn't a job interview! I understand completely of course.

Scale is integral to perception and insects the size of postage stamps are just not that interesting to most people. When one sees that same little creature through a macro lens it fills the entire field of vision and commands much greater attention. I shoot a lot of small butterflies and people are always amazed when I tell them how small it actually is. Most plants and flowers we capture our subjects on lack a definitive scale in the final image. A single cluster of buckwheat blossoms can seem like a bouquet of Lilies to the casual observer of a macro photograph. That Western Pygmy Blue can look as big as a monarch which is the main scale refererence people have.

Your Little Metalmark is a beauty for sure. It looks a bit like my favorite from out here: Wright's Metalmark (Calephelis wrigti) which I blogged about last year:

http://www.solardarkroom.com/blog/2009/04/15/metalmarks-in-the-movaje-deep-gravel-and-snakes/

The top shot on your page is my favorite. Nice work!

Cheers,

David
www.solardarkroom.com


Logged
JohnKoerner
Guest
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2010, 06:58:06 PM »
ReplyReply

Very nice images David, and once again great perseverance in getting your desired end.

Your remarks about the coloration of the Wright’s Metalmark matching the desert terrain is spot-on (almost the color of clay and American Indian pottery Smiley ). Great shot of the Neumoegen’s Checkerspot too. I had never heard of this species, but enjoyed the photo. Even though it wasn't close, it reminded me of hiking in the southwest and seeing the various butterflies land on the rocks and such on the trail. Butterflies actually seem to "fly different" out there than they do here in Florida, they flit more and seem more restless ...

Anyway, thank you for your comment about the top image on my page of the Little Metalmark ... that is my favorite image also Smiley

Here is a nice natural light image I captured of an American Lady that you might enjoy:




Cheers!

Jack




.
Logged
Pages: « 1 [2] 3 »   Top of Page
Print
Jump to:  

Ad
Ad
Ad