October 1, 2013

Visit to Cockrell Butterfly Center at Houston Museum of Natural Science—Part 1

Recently, Bill, a friend, and I went to the Cockrell Butterfly Center at the Museum of Natural Science.  I wanted to do something different; something that made me think about the basics of photography—focus, composition and lighting.  
Equipment wise, I used my Nikon D800 with either my 105mm f/2.5 macro or my 80-400mm f/4.5~5.6 with an extension tube (so that I could focus closer to my subject).  All the photos in this series included the use of flash—Nikon SB800 mounted on the hot shoe of my camera, but generally pointed at an angle to the subject and dialed down 1 to 3 f-stops.  I used the flash to add a little fill to the subject.  I tried not to have the photos look “flashed.” 
Today’s photo is about form and color.  I had taken several close-up photos of this butterfly and then decided to do a more environmental portrait; so, I moved my tripod back a little and zoomed out to 200mm.  I like how the leave provides a soft line across the frame so I angled my camera to make the leave form a diagonal line.  To me the three colors—green, red/orange and black—work very well together. 
Camera settings:  Nikon D800 on a tripod, 80-400mm f/4.5~5.6 lens with an extension ring attached at 200mm, ISO 1600, f/13 at 1/90th of a second. 
Post Processing: 
Lightroom 5—applied Nikon Standard preset, set white and black points, added vibrance and clarity.