20 April 2011

Butterfly Portraits - Elbowed Pierrot

Butterfly Portraits
Elbowed Pierrot (Caleta elna elvira)

From this month onwards, this blog will feature the works of ButterflyCircle's members in weekly short feature articles. It will basically showcase a portrait of a butterfly taken by one of our photographers, with the photographer sharing his/her behind-the-scenes anecdotal experience in getting that precious shot that made his/her day. Technical photographic data will be included so that readers can have useful information about the equipment used, and how the shot was achieved.

Canon 500D with Speedlite EX420. Tamron 180mm f/3.5 ; ISO800 f6.3 1/100s in AV Mode; Handheld

"Singapore's hot humid weather is not something that a shopper in Orchard Road would hope for. However, it is exactly the kind of weather that I always look forward to during my weekends. A hot and sunny day usually signifies higher butterfly activity.

On this particular Saturday afternoon, I was at my favourite butterfly puddling haunt within the Central Catchment Nature Reserve. I was having a frustrating time chasing the hyper active butterflies without results so I decided to try my luck on an Elbowed Pierrot puddling quietly on the ground. I crept towards it cautiously, and got down on all fours. I closed in slowly and finally got into full proning position when I was within shooting range. A look through my viewfinder showed that neither the background nor the composition were up to expectations. Disappointed, I got up, just as a cloud hid the sun and covered the area in shade.

The butterfly, having had its fill of puddling, flew away to a nearby bush during this change of lighting. Sensing a new opportunity, I approached it again in squatting position this time. A look through my viewfinder this time showed a clean, green background with a relatively nice perch. Not forgetting to increase my ISO for the shady lighting condition, I positioned myself as parallel to the butterfly as possible, rested my elbows on my thigh for more stability and took a series of shots at 1/100s, f/6.3, ISO800 in AV mode.

I checked my camera eagerly to see if I was shooting blanks and to my great satisfaction, I got two direct hits! After that, it was pure bliss for the rest of the day."

ButterflyCircle Photographer : Benjamin Yam, a Senior Executive in his early 30's, working in the book retail industry