Sunbathing Butterfly

by Joe Musselwhite
(Trinidad, Texas)

I captured what I wanted but I wish some of the dead flowers at the bottom of the image were in bloom at the time I took the picture.

Joe first contributed this photo on the history of your digital photography section of the site. Consequently, we know it was taken with a Nikon D50!

It's good to see it has made it to the Photography Tutor pages, because it's a great photo!

So what are the good things about Joe's shot? Firstly, there's the subject. It's not always easy to photograph wildlife, but here's a tip that will increase your chances – get into the "rhythm of life!".

What I mean by this is watch your subject, get into its rhythm. Taking Joe's butterfly as an example, if you watch a butterfly for a few minutes you will notice it flits from one flower to the next, and then sits on that flower for a bit. As they sit there, they tend to open and close their wings, at fairly regular intervals. It's this regularity that I call the rhythm of life.

It's useful to know this, because once you get into that rhythm a little, the chances of getting the shot you want increase.

What else is good about Joe's shot? There's the use of a wide aperture on the lens to create a shallow depth of field. This has kept the butterfly in sharp focus, while throwing the background out of focus. This is good because it concentrates the viewer on the butterfly.

Any improvements? Well, yes. Joe mentioned that he didn't like the dead flowers in the photo. There's a simple answer to this, that will also balance the photo better too – crop!

Take another look at the photograph. Then hold a piece of paper over the left third of the photo. Improves the balance in the photo, doesn't it? It also cuts out most of the dead blooms.

Just my thoughts,


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