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Tiger and Black Swallowtails on Buttonwillow blossoms


Pentax k-1000 70--280 zoom /f? 1/500th


© -do not use w/o permission

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With 200+ butterflies swarming the buttonwillow blossoms at nearby

Lake Darbonne, I had the opportunity to select almost any pose

I wanted. This is one of the better ones in my opinion. What is your


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Overall the image is a little dark - I'd like to see you use a reflector to bounce some of the ambient light to the underside of the butterflies. There is a loss of saturation and sharpness which may be attributable to your scan.


Next time try this - take a friend and a big piece of matte black posterboard and have the friend provide a black background for your image.


It's a nice image though.



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Nice shot, Richard. My suggestion is to crop it a little

from the left (something in the left upper corner) and from

the bottom (a horizontal line). You could also compensate for the scan

with a little sharpness and brightness in PS.Blago

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No offense, but I find the picture far from "perfect". First, the picture appears to be soft or out of focus. Given your listed shutter speed, I doubt it was due to hand shake, so I'm guessing that the picture was simply not scanned well. Second, the vignetting is severe and uneven. I'm don't know what the cause of the vignetting is (an extender?), but the darkness seems to encroach on the black swallowtail and yet leaves the buttonwillow blossoms untouched, which shifts the attention away from the butterflies. Third, the lack of detail in the black swallowtail is disappointing, but that could also be due to the scan.


Some suggestions. If you can't manage a reflector, you may want to try using a fill-flash, or perhaps a flash manually set to a low output. And remember that the DoF when trying to get close to butterflies is really tight. I've done a good deal of trying to photograph butterflies (see this folder for four pictures), so I realize how difficult it can be. But it is crucial that the butterflies are well lit and sharp. If these problems are due to the scanning process, you probably want to work on that. No sense in showing off a bad rendition of what may, in fact, be a perfect picture.

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--thanks for the critique fellows!!! I will delete this one, follow some suggestions and see if can make some alterations in PS. ;-), Jeremy,

these 'flying murals' indeed will not pose for you unless they are cold --and they don't exist in the late fall and winter. ;-)

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i really love the way that the butterflies are almost inverse reflections of one another in terms in terms of colour...i love the way that the plant with its spores gives the picture balance and a sense of softness even though the butterflies are pretty dark and rigidly shaped...this picture really appeals to me...brilliant!
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I would never have guessed that this appealing photo had so much "wrong" with it :)


I really believe the image should remain just as it is. It certainly is not out of focus, as at least one person has suggested. It does have a very pleasant muted quality. The black butterfly is matched in color by the shadows in the background. Very nice.

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