Butch Mazzuca  

Ready for Takeoff by Butch Mazzuca

November 2023 - Ready for Takeoff

About the Image(s)

I almost never shoot insects but our local botanic garden had a butterfly exhibit - if you call a 20’ x 10’ 200 square foot room with about a dozen butterflies an exhibit - however, I was able to get this shot just below eye level in what looks like a B-52 readying for take off position. Anyway, it was a novelty and fun - Canon R5 - Tamron 90mm Macro ISO 1600 - f11 - 1/200th second for an off camera soft box my wife held about two fee from the subject. Not sure if this is competition worthy but would appreciate comments.

This round’s discussion is now closed!
8 comments posted

Zina Mirsky   Zina Mirsky
I'm novice enough to not understand the reference to "an off camera soft box" but I do understand the immediate likeness to a B-52 in takeoff position! I really appreciate the clarity, crispness, and exquisite colors of the subject and the immediate foliage. I swear that the butterfly is winking at you! An even tighter crop may remove some of the distraction of the lighter-colored foliage at the left pulling my eye away from the prize. As for calling the small space an 'exhibit', I would say yes, an immersive experience is indeed an 'exhibit'!   Posted: 11/12/2023 09:48:52
Butch Mazzuca   Butch Mazzuca
Thanks for your comments Zina - btw, an off camera softbox is simply a blast of light from a flash or strobe that is not affixed to your camera and is softened by a light modifier. Softening the light reduces harsh shadows and off camera light allows the photographer to light the subject from a different angle than head on.   Posted: 11/12/2023 10:27:02

Lori Azevedo   Lori Azevedo
Clarity, color, lighting, and subject framing are perfect. I love the the leaf the butterfly is standing on comes right at you also. Thank you for sharing.   Posted: 11/12/2023 11:29:13
Butch Mazzuca   Butch Mazzuca
Thanks Lori - it was fund trying to get the shot
  Posted: 11/12/2023 12:09:23

Alec Chester   Alec Chester
Very nice capture! Gorgeous butterfly! The only thing I would change would be to pull back the highlights on the body. Here is an attempt along with brightening the wings a bit.   Posted: 11/14/2023 16:53:20
Comment Image

Butch Mazzuca   Butch Mazzuca
Thanks for the comment Alex, thanks for taking the time to respond

  Posted: 11/14/2023 18:15:02

Rick Taft   Rick Taft
Interesting shot of a challenging subject. I agree with the others that it is a nice sharp image, especially for a 1/200 second shutter speed, and also for using a macro lens where a shallow depth of field often causes sharpness to drop off without resorting to image stacking. To my eye, the right wing (as I look at it) is a bit brighter and a bit sharper than the left one...perhaps because of where you placed your off-camera light? and possibly also because it is a little deeper into the field of view than the right wing (macro sharpness fall-off?). Alec managed to fix some of this difference with his visual feedback, but on the other hand sometimes a difference like this across the span of an image is a deliberate effect. Not sure in this case.

The only comment I have about your shot from the standpoint of competition: I would try not to have it cropped quite so dead-center if possible...even if the offset from center is just a little. And also, from the standpoint of a PSA competition in the Nature category, based on some PSA presentations made to our group last year. this image is what the judges would see as a "portrait" as opposed to a shot with two or more butterflies interacting somehow or actually doing something...a portrait shot is at a disadvantage in a category like this because it has a very limited "story" to tell and PSA rules favor the story. In a competition I would suggest entering it in a more general open category and skip "Nature."   Posted: 11/18/2023 10:59:43
Butch Mazzuca   Butch Mazzuca
Yes, I'm aware of PSA competition rules and I appreciate your advice, but I don't enter PSA competitions; I should have been clearer. Actually, I just wanted some feedback because I almost never shoot insects - in any event, if I were to judge this on a 10 point scale as a portrait (and it is a portrait) I'd give it an 8 - uneven lighting, too static and the subject isn't quite straight on and I wanted to see if others saw it the same way - I really appreciate you taking the time to comment.

Best,   Posted: 11/18/2023 12:50:44