A Florida butterfly and some words in photo image quality

A friend on Facebook asked for details of the shot so I wrote out a bit of my technique and criteria for detail photos of butterflies.  Note that for an abstract capture, these ideas can go right out the window!

Florida butterfly photograph

#Florida nature #photo of a Zebra Heliconian butterfly. Taken with the tripod-mounted #Tamron SP 150-600mm VC lens and the Canon EOS 60D DSLR.

Question I was posed:

“Was this shot using a tripod?? so clear.. somehow i need to work on that. mine are almost never this sharp..”

My response(s), hopefully helpful:

Dave BlinderYep, 1/200th F/8 ISO 400, Vibration Compensation (IS), carbon fiber tripod. Sharp butterfly shots not possible near 600mm without tripod. When I shoot butterflies with my 90mm macro lens I do 75% handheld. Average time I spend photographing an individual butterfly is anywhere between 5mins and 1.5hrs. I don’t leave until I verify I have the eye perfectly in focus on the LCD.”

If the butterfly’s eye is not in sharp focus I do not post the photo online.

Same technique for dragonflies. Nearly identical for birds, but if the bird is distant and I don’t think I can fill 20% or more of the frame I skip the shot. My definition of a sharp eye is viewing the texture on the surface of the subject’s eye nearest the camera.

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