Saturday, August 15, 2009

Cassius Blue Butterfly

Another little cutie from my back yard. This one is a Cassius Blue Butterfly. The positive ID is by the eye spots on the wings that are circled with yellow/orange. The Cassius Blue is from the Gossamer-wing family and is very small. Its wing span is only 5/8". It can be found in central and southern Florida in fields, woodland edges and residential areas. It prefers Leadwort for food.

Here he is sipping on a Shepards Needle. These daisy-like flowers can be found in most fields.

I especially like making photos of these tiny butterflies because of their beauty, and the challenge. Sometimes the hunt is just as satisfying as the capture. These little guys don't rest on flowers very long. They're fast flyers and like to flit from flower to flower. I've found that if I wait long enough, they'll come back to the same flower over and over.

Settings used for this shot on a bright sunny day are 1/500 of a second to stop all motion of both the flower and the butterfly, and F7.1 the sharpest aperture for my favorite lens. To get the fast shutter speed I moved the ISO to 400 even though it was sunny. It was around 4:00 pm so the sun was beginning to make its descent and was a bit lower in the sky, bringing out the detail in the flower and the butterfly. I used partial metering to be sure the butterfly would be properly exposed and -1/3 eV so I wouldn't blow out the white in his body. In post-processing, I burned in the flower petals just a tad. With my 55-250mm telephoto lens zoomed all the way out to 250mm, I was able to get enough magnification to show the butterfly fairly large in the frame and it also allowed me to sufficiently blur the background. There was no cropping in this shot. It is full-frame.

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