Thursday, October 1, 2009

Butterfly Photography

Nature has got a lot to entertain the people who love to admire it. A good news for nature photographers who would like to spend whole days clicking on the nature's beauties is that while birds and animals are more active during the morning and evening hours, butterflies are there to fill the hotter mid-day hours for keeping the cameras engaged throughout the day.

In addition, butterflies can also be photographed in the early morning or in the evening times at their resting places such as grass, underneath of leaves or flowers if you are ready to put little effort (as it is a bit difficult to locate those places) and it would be certainly rewarding.

Essential technical tips:
  1. Use burst mode. In DSLRs, shooting in JPEG mode helps to increase the burst rate.
  2. Use faster shutter speeds (on or above 1/250) by inceasing the ISO, widely opening the aperture (keeping 'f' number low) and/or by using a fill flash (better through a diffuser if shooting at close distances).
  3. Since butterflies are small in size, move swiftly and can not be approached, fast telephoto lenses are required for better results.
  4. Careful usage of shallow depth of field (DOF) would result in excellent shots.
  5. Use appropriate lens hood to prevent glare and lens flare.
  6. Move around to get a natural background. Having artificial objects such as buildings would ruin the beauty of butterfly photographs.

Butterfly behavioral tips:
  1. Some flowers with high amount of nectar attract the butterflies. Identify such flowering plants and where they are found in your environment.
  2. Butterflies are sensitive to movements specifically when some one is trying to approach them. It is always rewarding to wait patiently near a bunch of fresh flowers without casting any shadow on them.
  3. Mud puddling is another behavior of butterflies, where flocks of butterflies gather at some points near water resources to obtain nutrients such as salts and amino acids. In some nature parks / forest reserves of tropical countries, hundreds or even thousands of butterflies gather at a single place for mud puddling in the post-monsoon season. So, look for mud puddling points near streams, rivers, ponds, lakes, etc.

Mud Puddling Butterflies @ Khao Kaeng Krachan, Thailand.

See also Bird Photography.

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