Archive for the 'butterflies and insects' Category

10
Nov
10

11/10/2010: Green Malachite, Rio Grande Valley TX

As you read this, I am on my way to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Harlingen, and the RGV Birding and Nature Festival. I always try to spend an afternoon at the NABA Butterfly Gardens near Bensten State Park and the World Birding Center. And I always hope for a Malachite. Two years ago, Malachites were fairly common and I got several good shots, though I am still hoping for the perfect one.

Sony DSC H50 at 468mm equivalent, f4.5 @ 1/100 @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

Processed for Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen in Lightroom.

Watch this space for this year’s crop of Rio Grande images. I hope. I hope. 🙂

25
Sep
10

9/24/2010: Monarch

Another of those quick shots in passing. I chased this guy from rose to rose among the beach roses at Parson’s Beach while there to do some HDR work…who could resist. This the full tele macro on the Canon SX20IS…which always gives amazingly sharp close-ups and interesting bokeh.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent, f5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Blackpoint adjustment in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

31
Aug
10

8/31/2010: English butterflies

Predictably, I spent my first day in England in a meeting room at the Greetham Valley Golf and Country Club (it was a working trip after all). We only got let out for lunch…and only 30 minutes at that due to a tight agenda. Still, when I got to the dinning room and looked out the window to see my first ever European Peacock butterfly, I had to run back to my room to get a camera with a longer lens! (Simon King, well known British naturalist and film-maker was among our number, and he identified the butterflies for me.) The wind was blowing hard and the rainy day light was subdued. The butterflies were hanging on the flowers for dear life as they tossed wildly about, and staying closed up tight most of the time in the wind. Still I managed a couple of more or less record shots of the Peacock (top) and the Little Tortoiseshell (bottom)…both life butterflies for me. And yes, I still managed to get my lunch down and back to the meeting room in time!

Long-tel-macro threw the background well out of focus for both shots. In the  top shot the butterfly is framed against the hill 300 yards behind, but even the leaves inches behind the Tortoiseshell show good bokeh. That is the magic of the long-tel-macro.

Canon SX20IS @ 560mm equivalent and macro @ 1) f5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 160 and 2) f5.7 @ 1/200th @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

A bit of Recovery in Lightroom for the flowers, more than usual Fill Light for the colors in the wings in the subdued light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Germany and England 2010.

31
Jul
10

7/31/2010

Wood Nymph

Along the Bridle Path where I have been doing a lot of digiscoping and general photography this summer, there are hundreds of these Wood Nymphs. I have never seen so many. In fact, until a month ago I am pretty sure I had never seen any…I had to look my first one up in the New England Nature Guide on my iPhone…though it must be a common butterfly in Southern Maine. Just not looking I guess. They rarely sit still long enough for a good portrait.

Canon SX20IS at full zoom and macro, 560mm equivalent field of view. F5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

A touch of Fill Light in Lightroom, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Around Home 2010.

18
Jul
10

7/18/2010

Painted Lady! (and the nature of grace)

Happy Sunday.

When this is posted, I will be somewhere in the air between Portland Maine and Philadelphia, on the first leg of a day-long (14 hour) trip to California. At least I don’t have to go by wagon train.

And, of course, the Painted Lady is a long distance traveler too. This butterfly, if I understand it correctly, came up from Mexico this spring. They used to come through Rehoboth, New Mexico (where I lived for many years, many years ago) in waves. You could stand in a field and watch them pass, 150 or more in a line across the field and lines hitting every few moments for most of a day. And that was just our soccer field.

I was out digiscoping, still learning my new camera, when this Lady lit on the blossoms. I still had the the camera at –2EV exposure compensation from attempting to photograph a Snowy Egret and it metered correctly for the sunlit butterfly and blooms, but threw the shadowed background completely black. I could not have achieved this effect if I were trying. It looks like a studio shot. Sometimes you just get blessed beyond your deserts…which is why photography always keeps me aware of grace.

And, what more could you ask for on a Sunday?

Canon SD4000IS Digital Elph behind the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. F5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 250. Programmed auto. –2EV.

Some Recovery in Lightroom. Blackpoint just right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. Cropped for composition.

From DiaScope 65FL. View it as large as you like on Wide Eyed In Wonder by clicking the image.

22
Apr
10

4/22/2010

Palamedes Swallowtail

These beauties were all over the Guana River Reserve on Tuesday when we spent a morning hiking there. They did not sit much so we learned to watch for the thistle.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent and macro. F5.7 @ 1/320 @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, just very basic added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped slightly for composition.

And, as a special treat, some video from the SX20IS. To view in HD, press the expand button to pop it out to full screen. Press play, and then select the 720 option where its says 320. On my laptop I have to pause it to let it completely download or it will keep pausing during play.

16
Nov
09

11/16/2009

 

Heavenly White Peacock

I saw this White Peacock (petty worn fall specimen) perched up high on a bush along the trail at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, TX and was impressed by the light through the wings. To shoot it with the PhotoScope I had to back off to the minimum focus of about 16 feet. Exposed for the wings, the background went too dark and had to be brought up in Lightroom with the Fill Light tool.

 

Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at 40x (1600mm equivalent field of view). 1/680th @ ISO 100. Metered at about f5.0.

In addition to the Fill Light in Lightroom, I added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance and used the Sharpen Landscapes preset.

From Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL.

18
Jul
09

7/18/2009

Happy Harvester

Happy Harvester

Of course the happy part is pure anthropomorphism. Can bees be happy? I certainly don’t know, but the sight of one busy in a flower makes me happy, once I get by my diffuse fear of stinging insects.

It was a brilliant day at the Coastal Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Maine, and the high sun cast strong shadows, but picked out all the subtle detail in both petals and bee. One of the advantages of the articulated LDC on the H50 is that I can hold the camera one-handed, well away from me, out over a bed of flowers, for this kind of close in and personal shot.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide and macro. F5.6 @ 1/400th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Just my basic added Vibrance and Clarity and Landscape sharpen preset in Lightroom. There was a bit of purple fringing along the bottom petal edge which I also removed in Lightroom.

From Coastal Maine Botanical Garden.

And a second bee in flower from the same day…this time in open shade.

Happy Harvester 2

Happy Harvester 2

05
Jul
09

7/5/2009

Who Knew? Green Bee on Blanket Flower

Who Knew? Green Bee on Blanket Flower

Who knew?  There are green bees! Tiny. Very strange. Maybe even the original of the Green Hornet (though, outside comics, there is not such actual insect.) It took me an hour of searching to find a name for this critter on the internet…or rather to confirm the name that popped immediately to mind. Green bee. Genius Agapostemon. Appears there are many species and I am not certain which this is, but it is without doubt, a green bee…tiny and jewel like in its metalic splendor, posed on this Blanket Flower, right in our front yard.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide and macro. F3.2 @ 1/60th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

In Lightroom, just a slight crop from the right for composition, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Landscape sharpen preset.

And here without the bee, an even closer view of the Blanket Flower.

Extreme Blanket Flower

Extreme Blanket Flower

From Around Home, Kennbunk ME.

29
Jun
09

6/29/2009

Black Admiral

Black Admiral

The thing about butterflies is that they have two sides. The upper side is beautiful, and the underside can be two. The second thing about butterflies is you take what you can get. Some never sit with wings open, so open wing shots are almost certainly collected samples, and some only sit with wings open. The Black Admiral is one that does both, though closed wing is more common. When this one lit beside the trail, I was able to get one tel-macro shot of it open winged, and then it closed, and, though I waited, and though I worked the equally beautify closed wings, it never sat open winged again for me.

This shot is taken from about 2 cm. using the H50s macro setting on full wide. In this case the butterfly was perfectly posed, with background foliage far enough behind to be well out of focus (and some interesting bokeh). I like the way the light, slightly from the side, catches in the furry surface of the wing and brings out the detail.

Sony DSC H50 at full wide and macro. F4.0 @ 1/160th @ ISO 100. Programed auto.

Cropped slightly from the right for composition in Lightroom. Some Recovery to bring down the brightness of the sunlit leaf. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Landscape sharpen preset.

From Around Home: Kennebunk.

And for those who wonder, here is the open wing shot, cropped slightly to make the subject larger in the field.

Black Admiral (open wings)

Black Admiral (open wings)