Tailed Jay 1
Socal - Azaleas in Forest 1
Additional images can be viewed here.
When I first started shooting butterflies over 10 years ago, I was exhilarated just to capture an in-focus, properly exposed butterfly. But as the years progressed, and lens auto focus mechanisms became better, in-focus images were no longer a challenge. The next challenge was to find bodies with higher ISO capability that would minimize movement. This would allow a higher shutter speed to reduce wing movement.
Even if you've got the proper equipment, the right amount of sunlight penetrating the glass hothouse is also critical. Under heavy clouds, the necessary amount of light will not be sufficient and the photographer will need to use flash. I don't like flash because you lose depth and my photography is about depth. Light from a flash dissipates very quickly so the background of the images becomes unnaturally dark. This year was perfect as just the right amount of light from a slightly overcast sky, was reaching certain parts of the flora in the hothouse. The trick is to park yourself where the fused lighting hits the flora.
So far so good. The next step is to find foliage that meets your preconceived criteria. In the above image, I really liked the green leaves and just waited around for a certain color butterfly to land on it. I was also able to capture other images with some unique color combinations.
The above image shot was taken with a cropped frame, 24 MP DSLT with 70-400 zoom lens on a monopod.