Fragile and colorful, butterflies are one of the most difficult subjects that I've filmed so far! Here are a few tips:
1) Go to a butterfly sanctuary or house -no, really! Wild butterflies are extremely skittish and difficult to get close to. Wild butterflies are all I have to shoot where I live, and I'd like to get more practice composing and exposing them.
2) Butterflies perceive changes in light as movement, and they are "hot wired" to react. Cast a shadow over them and they're gone -and sometimes using a flash can do the same thing. An E-TTL flash fires a small burst of light before the main flash so the camera's light meter can take a reading, and butterflies are so fast that I've taken quite a few "action shots" because it managed to jump in the few milliseconds between the pre-flash and the main flash firing...
3) If you really want to get close to a butterfly then wait until it starts feeding -if you move slowly you can get very close.
4) Butterflies are on just about every backyard predators buffet table -and they take a lot of damage form near misses. If possible look for a composition that doesn't show torn wings.
On with the images. Minimal post processing and no cropping. All wild butterflies. Canon 20D + 100mm macro.
This one had a torn wing so I got in close.
Disguised as a leaf.
This guy was actually looking at the ground, but I knew from looking at the shadow that I could shoot it horizontally and then just turn the image 90 degrees once I got it on my PC.
Sometimes I just can't get as close as I'd like.
Thanks for looking! C&C always welcome