October 2, 2009

A Little Change of Pace

I thought that I would offer everyone a little change of pace from what I previously presented this week. Between a portrait session and a meeting with a perspective client, I dropped by the Houston Museum of History. I wanted to see what was new at the Butterfly Collection. Since Chloe is in school full time now, I do not go to see the butterflies as often as when she was not in school—she loves the butterflies!

For this photo I was presented a perfect situation—beautiful green, soft leaves and a black and orange butterfly gently perched on the leaf. The only technical problem was putting a little extra light on the butterfly. I chose to use a snooted flash so that I could control precisely where the light was falling.

I must thank the butterfly, he/she was very cooperative while I dialed the level of light I was hitting him/her with. I took about 15 photos before the butterfly flew off. This one was pretty much what I wanted.


Camera settings: Nikon D3, Nikon 70-200mm at 200mm with an extension tube attached, shot at ISO 200, f/7.1 and 1/250th of a second with snotted Nikon SB-800 hand held to the right of the camera and triggered by Nikon SU-800 using CLS.

Post Processing:

Lightroom—Set white and black points, added mid-tone contrast, clarity and cropped image.


  1. Wow. Great colors and great lighting. I love the way the light moves you directly to the butterfly. Very lovely photo.

  2. Beautiful nature photo. You controlled the two things needed in a shot like this, the light and depth of field. Really fine photo.

  3. Well done Patrick!

    I wouldn't have known you used a flash if you hadn't told me! The results are completely natural looking!

    Beautiful photo!


  4. This image has such a beautiful color combination, the oranges and blacks of the butterfly stand out so well from the soft greens of the background. I do not know how you or Chloe can take the heat in that place! Like Barry, I would never have known you used the flash...butterflies don't have catchlights in their eyes as far as I can tell. Did you use a gel on the flash?

  5. Good photo. More up to your standards.
    Charles M

  6. A very well done photo. Nice composition, pleasing colors, good DOF, OOF background and perfect exposure. I knew you used a flash. I figure you don't ever pass up an opportunity to use one. Great job balancing the light with it.