LuAnn Thatcher  

Northern Pearly Butterfly by LuAnn Thatcher

July 2021 - Northern Pearly Butterfly

July 2021 - LuAnn Thatcher


About the Image(s)

My favorite genre lately is macro photography. I find most of my subjects in my front yard. I was on my way to the mailbox and spotted this little fellow who was patient enough to sit a spell and let me take his photo.

I process all my images in Capture One 21 as it works best for the Fujifilm camera I have. I made layers in Capture One to remove and darken the background. I removed a couple of leaves to simplify the image and brightened the butterfly. I added side light from a Luma Cube I carry when I am out walking; the sun was from the west (in front of the butterfly) late afternoon coming through the woodland brush.

Camera Fuji XT4, Laowa Dreamer 2X 52mm macro lens, ISO 160, 1/125s, f/5

13 comments posted

Mary Ann Carrasco   Mary Ann Carrasco
LuAnn, this is a lovely capture! I like the detail, the sharpness and the color contrast between the green leaves and the "little fellow". I also like how you edited out the distraction of the branch and some of the leaves. I do like the background in the original as there is some green in it that pleases my eye.   Posted: 07/04/2021 18:19:34
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Thank you, Mary Ann, for your comment. You have an interesting idea to leave more of the shadow detail in the background rather than removing it all giving the image a completely black background. I will give this a try!

LT   Posted: 07/08/2021 10:22:26

Michael Hrankowski   Michael Hrankowski
Hi LuAnn! How nice of your butterfly to cooperate! This is a very nice close-up shot with nice detail. The yellow circles on the wings play nicely off the green leaves. Your lighting is your usual "spot-on" and it is exposed well. I do agree with Mary Ann about the background. Also, I found the top-left leaf distracting, especially with the remnant of the brown stem in the original. Similarly, the brown tip of the right hand leaf was drawing my eye away from the subject. Lastly, I felt the crop was too tight on the top. I took the liberty of bringing your image into photoshop. I used context aware fill to remove the distracting elements as well as to add space above the wings. I brought up the color temperature by +24; texture up by +50 and clarity up +25. Let me know what you think.   Posted: 07/05/2021 17:36:29
Comment Image
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
I like your three suggestions, Michael!

I agree. The yellow on the wing and the green foliage do work well together; very natural look. Yes, the remnant of the brown stem was a concern for me as well; I was curious if anyone would notice. And that brown tip on the right needed to go.

This dialogue has been a great discussion! I like your version; it finishes the photo very nicely.

LT   Posted: 07/08/2021 10:31:59

Ruth Sprain   Ruth Sprain
LuAnn, you've captured the butterfly's beautiful wing well. I think that your simplification of the background does help my eyes focus on the butterfly. I agree with Michael about the leaf on the far left being distracting. Also, I'd prefer a better view of the butterfly's head (if he would only hold still a bit longer).   Posted: 07/07/2021 16:40:32
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hi Ruth,

I find woodland photography to be a very challenging genre sometimes. But I am determined to persevere because this is what I have in abundance to shoot. To me, this is important enough to figure out.

I agree that dark backgrounds help simplify an image, especially when challenged with a chaotic woodland floor. I, too, agree with Michael's idea of removing that leaf on the left, and it is an easy fix.

When it is possible, capturing the face and eye of an insect is preferred, but I believe the most attractive side to this butterfly (on this day and at that moment) was what was shown to me on this leaf; the wing. After all, that is what made me stop and take notice.

Sometimes shooting woodland photography, you take what you can get, unlike portraiture, where you have time to pose for the best side. On this day, it was impossible to capture the face in such a tight and constricting space. At the time, I did not think the butterflies head could compare to the beauty of its wing. I was in a very tight position holding my breath he would not flutter away.

I appreciate your feedback.


  Posted: 07/08/2021 11:06:43

Randolph Shine   Randolph Shine
I think your butterfly is right on in sharpness and color.
The back ground highlights the focus to the butterfly.
Michael's crop is a stronger arrangement.
I wish I could get the butterfly around my house to sit still like your did.
  Posted: 07/10/2021 10:30:55
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hello Randy,

Good to hear from you. Yes, there are many ways to finish an image. Michael did create another exciting version of this butterfly.

You, too, can capture a butterfly-like this little guy. I went out with intentions of finding something, and butterflies are all over now where I live. I planned my outing with the lens I wanted to use and chose the basic settings I needed based on the light; then, all I had to do was find something.

I wish we had more rain though.

Best regards,
LuAnn   Posted: 07/11/2021 16:18:09

Lisa Cirincione   Lisa Cirincione
I can never get the butterflys to sit still like that! I like Michael's edit adding a little bit more in the background. To me, the full black was distracting. I was thinking you had put a black bunting behind it. It doesn't seem natural to me with such a black background.
Also, I have a question about macro photography, and the definition. To my mind, macro meant really close-up, in your face views of things, usually insects and flowers. But your photo here, was taken with a macro lens, and is a full-on shot. My photo club this month, the subject is macro, and I am struggling with how to define it. Any quick tips from anyone?   Posted: 07/10/2021 11:44:02
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Hi Lisa,

I am sure many people prefer a natural setting for butterflies; I happen to like black backgrounds. I learned this technique from a workshop I did with an editorial photographer. He had us lying in the ditch along a highway shooting flowers with black backgrounds. He told us not to limit ourselves, thinking we could only shoot insects with a macro lens. The sky is the limit to being creative so just think outside the box!

I like the idea of opening the background up a little, but the sun was bright behind the butterfly, which prompted the dramatic look.

If you want to know the definition of macro for a club topic, you need to get the definition from the club. Every club will have specifics they require for their monthly theme. The clubs I attend write their own definitions every year for their competitions. I have even seen international exhibitions that follow PSA categories, but they change the definitions to meet their needs.

PSA study groups define macro as "images in which the size of the subject on the negative or image sensor is life size or greater."

My macro lens is 80mm and a 1:1 macro. The butterfly you see in the photo is the actual size of this butterfly (1:1). You can photograph anything you want with a macro lens, from insects and flowers to landscapes, portraits, and more. Just be creative, that's all.

  Posted: 07/11/2021 16:46:51
Lisa Cirincione   Lisa Cirincione
Thanks LuAnn, that helps. I'll mention to our club about defining our themes. Last month the theme was shadows, and we got reflections and silhouettes and shadows. It led to a healthy discussion, but our voting was all over the place. Thanks for the info   Posted: 07/13/2021 15:37:32
LuAnn Thatcher   LuAnn Thatcher
Glad it was helpful!

LT   Posted: 07/13/2021 15:39:44

Kieu-Hanh Vu   Kieu-Hanh Vu
LuAnn, You have captured a beautiful butterfly! Its wings have large "eyespots" like an owl, to scare away its predators. The butterfly is very sharp and the lighting works well.
I'd prefer the natural background for the butterfly rather than the black background. Michael's edits and crop work nicely to eliminate the distraction on the leaves at both sides, especially to make the head of the butterfly more visible.   Posted: 07/13/2021 23:06:12


Please log in to post a comment