Butterflies at End Point: A Guide to Photographing small creatures

They always hover before sitting

A clear weather during Manipal monsoon is the best time to get out in the wild and explore the nature. Luckily for me it turned out to be very productive. In last four years i never noticed so many different butterflies at the End Point. All photographs were shot at End Point, Manipal on a slightly cloudy but otherwise dry and bright day.

Presume the flight path & capture mid-flight.
Presume the flight path & capture them unconventionally in mid-flight.

 

They always hover before sitting
They always hover before sitting

To photograph a butterfly you need have some serious patience. Usually they dont return to the same flower on which they already sucked the nectar. So you have to lock your focus on any vibrant and healthy flower and then wait patiently until they arrive. This can take anywhere between few seconds to a lot of minutes. If you keep moving impatiently they will try going away from you and will not sit.

Pay attention to details. This butterfly had lost a little part of its wing.
Pay attention to details. This butterfly had lost a little part of its wing.

Once they sit take as many images as you can and if they are still sitting, then try to recompose using creative angles.

If they dont fly, compose  the photograph. Rule of thirds used here.
If they dont fly, compose the photograph. Rule of thirds used here.

Remember to set the shutter speed faster than 1/500th of a second as anything below that would result in a blurry image. Compensate the faster shutter speed with high ISO value and the widest aperture that your camera allows. It is better to use shutter priority mode indicated by S on Nikon and Tv on Canon models. However a shutter speed slower than that may be used creatively to show the motion of its wings as shown below.

Slow shutter speeds
Slow shutter speed can be used creatively to show graceful motion of butterfly

While shooting butterflies you will come across many other tiny creatures, don’t ignore them as they can be a great subject too.

Do not ignore other little things, even they are beautiful subject.
Do not ignore other little things, even they are beautiful subject.

Trying to shoot from unusual angles is the easiest trick to get photographs which are different from the mainstream butterfly images. Here i sat on ground and waited till the butterfly turned and looked on me. If i would have been standing, the photograph would have lost the impact. This is where you separate a snapshot with a photograph.

Try using creative angles. I sat down on ground here to make it look like as if its looking at me
Try using creative angles. I sat down on ground and then clicked here to make it look like as if its interested in me.

While shooting action, it is always good to be in burst mode and take as many images as possible. You might miss a good shot otherwise. If they all are same or don’t turn out good you always have the option to delete. Also follow the butterflies, they usually lead you to locations where you can find their whole family.

Often following a butterfly will lead you to places where you have plently of them.
Often following a butterfly will lead you to places where you have plenty of them.

Often a missed shot is better than no shot. Don’t get disappointed and move on to the next one.

Its good to have a poor shot than no shot at all when luck is not favouring
Its good to have a poor shot of a new species than no shot at all when luck is not favoring

Stick to environmental ethics. Never touch them. Do not harm them or disturb them by any means directly or indirectly. It is advisable to use zoom lenses. All these shots here, were taken on Nikon D7000 DSLR with a Nikkor 18-105mm VR Kit Lens. All images were shot above 90mm. The Honey bee image was shot with 50mm Prime  with a macro filter lens attached. Comments, suggestions and queries are welcome.

Shoot in burst mode. And pick the best one.
Graceful & beautiful

 

“Butterflies are self propelled flowers”- R.H. Heinlein.

All photographs used here are © 2013 Sonal Kashyap for ManipalBlog.com.

 

About Sonal Kashyap 12 Articles
Photographer (facebook.com/UltraPhotography) & Traveler, Foodie, Sportsman, Dreamer.
  • syafique911

    hey.. great photos ive ever seen so far in & around manipal. how did u set ur dslr to get those good images?