Sometimes the simple things in life are the most rewarding. It’s the same with photography. Keep it simple and sometimes you are rewarded with shots that are really pleasing.
Last weekend whilst strolling though Tinchi Tamba wetlands not far from where we are staying in Brisbane we came across a pair of Common Crow butterflies behaving strangely. One was perched on a stick; the other was constantly hovering around. The butterflies blended well with the dry brown bush and the light was not bad, so with nothing else to photograph I decided to try my hand at some butterfly in flight photography. To be honest it is easier said than done. Butterfly wings move at an incredible rate and their flight is erratic to say the least. It took a while to get the shutter speed adjusted to get crisp wing shots, and get the hang of tracking the flying butterfly. Any shot with both of them in the frame was going to be a bonus, so with the shutter speed sorted I just concentrated on focusing, all the time moving steadily closer. But each time just as I was getting within good range they would both up-sticks and flutter off to a new location and I’d have to trample off after them. What started out as a simple happy snappy event was becoming a bit of a mission. I had to shoot nearly a hundred frames before I started to get some acceptably clear and crisp shots. Even then they were few and far between in between a pile of dud’s.
The whole show between the two butterflies was obviously a mating ritual and I was hoping that I would get them together, but they were not exactly rushing it. Finally it happened and I was close enough to record the event which was repeated a few more times about a minute apart. Once done with, the male in typical male fluttered off, probably looking for his next conquest!
The highlight of the afternoon was sitting down at the computer to process the shots to find that the male of this species puts on quite a colorful show to impress the ladies. You don’t see this with the naked eye as as his fluttering is just too fast, but the camera caught it perfectly! Such is the wonder of modern technology.
For the purists interested in technical details I used a mono pod supported Canon 1DX with EF 300 mm f/2.8 IS II USM lens with aperture of f/3.5 and ISO 1600 to get a shutter speed of 1/640/sec.