Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Beyond A Butterfly ~ Telephoto Tuesday!

"Monarch In Blue"

I was on a mission. It'd been awhile since I'd looked for the enchanting details of our local parks and gardens. We had a great day for it yesterday, so I jumped at the idea of finding the wonderful amidst the flower beds over at Gage Park in Hamilton. Turns out I didn't have to search for long.

Several perennial flowering shrubs and bushes attract monarch butterflies in the gardens, feeding them for their long journey they're currently making. But I was a little wary. It'd be easy to simply raise the camera and let these beautiful creatures do all the work, but I've been learning about the photographer's intent lately, and this is exactly the kind of scenario I wanted to avoid. I wanted more than just a nice butterfly shot. Now, I know I can't control when and where a butterfly lands, which flowers, for how long, or the angle it sits at. And I can't tell it where the nice light is, the best backdrop, or the best time of day to stop there.
Instead, I kept my eyes peeled for any unique circumstances wherever I spotted the butterflies. I noticed that some evergreens in the shade off in the distance could fill my composition, and at the right aperture, they could be diminished to an interesting smokey bokeh. I knew I'd want this as the backdrop to the monarchs with their brilliant colors if I could get it.
I tested exposures till I got the right look, then waited for a subject to land.

No, not the most remarkable image of a butterfly ever. I can be honest. However, it's the first one for me in the last recent while, that I decided intentionally what worked and how I wanted it to look no matter how long I had to wait. I wanted the light to be the dramatic foil to a common subject. A pretty subject, but common. Now, I always take this approach with B&W's, architecture, and other subject matters... but why was I not applying it to the simpler subjects as well? Instead I'd gotten into the poor habit of letting those shots just fall into my lap. Not that those shots can't be great, and there's definitely a magic to getting those cool spontaneous photos, but sometimes I think we can get lazy with our discoveries. Instead we need to be ready to work at making them everything they could be.

This has been a good reminder for me. And I got two or three shots that proved if I want my photography at a whole new level, I'm going to have to be aware of my intention behind a shot in the first place. I'll post those later on. But for now, I'm pleased to show today's photo.

Thanks for the ramble... have a great day friends!

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