BUTTERFLIES

These are my best butterfly images, as judged by (my) photographic aesthetics.   Of course the butterflies have their own inherent beauty, so any decent, sharp image of a butterfly should be pleasing to the eye.   You could argue, therefore, that the photographer should just render the butterfly accurately and let nature take credit for the rest of the image quality.   But I have been trying to do a bit more than that.

So what makes a good butterfly image?   First of all, a good butterfly; in that I try to photograph specimens that are in good to pristine condition.   Second, the background should not detract from the butterfly itself.   Here is where arguments might start.   One point of view would place the butterfly exactly in its context, perhaps nectaring on its favourite flowers, perhaps settled on the larval food-plant or a favourite perch for territorial males (see Green Hairstreak for example).   I do not challenge these suggestions, but for some shots I prefer to make the background give contrast to and accentuate the appearance of the butterfly.   This can be achieved by an out-of-focus background, which lacks detail, but provides contrasting or supportive colouration.   The photographic term for this is 'bokeh', which comes from a Japanese word.

The images loaded from the thumbnails below will illustrate this.   For some, such as the Adonis Blue, there is no blurred bokeh, but the buttefly itself is so close to perfect, that I judge the picture to be above average.   In other instances - judge which for yourself - the bokeh makes the shot.

Hover your cursor over each thumbnail to see the species, then click on the thumbnails to access the enlarged image on its own page.   You may need to reduce the image size (cmd- on Macs, ctrl- in Windows) for it to fit your screen.   Hit the BACK button to return to the thumbnails.

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