Butterfly Photography: Sachem Skippers on Boneset

Closeup photos of butterflies make for effective images because these insects are inherently “cute” or “beautiful” to us homo sapiens.  Probably has to do with their harmless nature or being harbingers of warm weather.  An important part of a quality butterfly photo is a clear view of the insect generally with minimal distractions in the nearby foreground and background.  An attractive perch also makes a world of difference.

mating butterflies

A recent butterfly macro photograph taken in Ocean County, New Jersey.

The above image was taken recently at Jakes Branch County Park in New Jersey.  Equipment used: Tamron SP 90mm VC F/2.8 1:1 Macro Lens and a Canon EOS 7D DSLR.  Handheld photo with the lens-based stabilization (VC) turned on.  Camera settings: 1/160 shutter, F/7.1 ISO 200.  More often than not I will shoot butterflies with an aperture of F/5.6 because it is one of the sharpest apertures of my particular macro lens.  With sufficient planing of the camera, this can get a decent amount of depth of field on the subject as well.  In this case, I decided to go with an aperture of F/7.1 to increase my chances of getting the eyes of both Sachems in focus.  Still not an easy task with 2 moving wildlife subjects.

I shot approximately 12 frames very similar to this one, but each time I would angle the camera body very slightly to the left or right and try to get the eyes of both Skippers aligned to my focus point.  When I magnify this particular frame on my computer I can see the detailed cells of the eyes on both butterflies without blur, so for me this is a keeper.

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