Carol Sheppard  


Garden Perch by Carol Sheppard

November 2021 - Garden Perch

About the Image(s)

I took this last week at the Desert Botanical Garden in Phoenix, AZ. The settings were 1/320th sec, f3.2, ISO400, 60mm Macro lens on my Olympus OMD-EM1 M III. It was handheld, so I kept the shutter speed up to counter any camera shake. Because of this, I had to choose a higher ISO if I wanted to also have a higher f-stop for depth, and I chose not to do this. As a result, the antennae are not as sharp as I'd like them to be, but I liked the image anyway. It was processed in PS with minor adjustments to black and white points, but then I added a vignette in Nik. The background was an issue for me, but my system has been on the blink since I returned, so I took what I could get. It is cropped slightly, but not that much.


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




Pat Glenn   Pat Glenn
Nice image. My eye goes right to the head - it is in focus to me especially between the eyes... and the 2 legs that touch the 2 leaves [triangle] , they are all close to focus. then the head and the 2 wings make another triangle and with bits of focus [I like triangles]. so at f3.2 I am not expecting tons of focus, right? The head is the focal point then softness radiates out from there. the only part I feel like I want to do something with is the end of the big wing - downplay the highlights more. the background behind the leave does not seem to bother me.   Posted: 11/07/2021 17:15:47



Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
Yes, it's a well-caught photo, pleasantly constructed with a nice diagonal and triangles, as you say.

Depth of field, as I often say, is the friend and enemy of macro photographers. Within limits it's within our control, so we must assume the photographer meant it to be the way it is. You have elected to have a shallow one, and in some cases that enhances the photo. However here, I think most photographers would feel it spoils the photo. The head isnice and sharp, but we would expect most of the body and wings to be, too. That's quite a challenge with the wings coming towards the camera, unless focus stacking can be done.

Personally, I find that 1/320sec is faster than you need to prevent camera shake at 60mm, especially with sophisticated stabilisation such as your camera has, provided you take care. So I would have gone down to 1/60 sec at most, which enables f8 at this ISO and lighting. That would have given more depth of field, but probably not enough to get all the butterfly sharp. Going on to f11 with ISO 800 would be OK, a little less sharp than f8, but still much better than f3.5, and more DoF. I would have tried that and examined the result. It would be worth a pot at f16 ISO 1600 at the same time. Noise in your camera at that ISO is still minimal. If you have one, a ring flash would allow lower ISO and guarantee no camera shake blur.   Posted: 11/08/2021 15:38:04
Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Yes, all points well taken. I wasn't shooting very intentionally, to be honest. It was crowded and humid in the butterfly house, and I was just coming off a three-day very intensive workshop with Lisa Langell, The Magic of Cowboys. I will select a better image for next time!   Posted: 11/09/2021 13:05:19
Stuart Ord   Stuart Ord
By coincidence, we were in a "butterfly zoo" a few weeks ago, but the butterflies were so large (most 4" wingspan or more) I thought I wouldn't post any for fear of being told "not macro"!   Posted: 11/09/2021 13:39:04



Keith Au   Keith Au
Hi Carol, Nice catch. You are clever adding minor vignetting to let the subject standing out more. Yeah, the background is a challenge as always.. Would be nice to be able to make the background darker and bit blurred.. and also hope for a more colorful butterfly.

Just crossing my mind.. wondering how would it look if you make it a monochrome or b/w image?   Posted: 11/09/2021 23:25:09
Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Yes, Keith, I think B&W is worth a shot. I had never seen a butterfly like this one before.   Posted: 11/10/2021 14:14:02



Carole Kropscot   Carole Kropscot
(Group 12)
Hi Carol from Carole with an "e" (Group 12) - Very nice composition and foliage and lighting situation. It is difficult to get more acceptable depth of field without using a very much higher f/stop. I don't bother with 3.2 when photographing butterflies because this is what I'd get. People want to see it much more in focus. If you're stuck with no tripod or sturdy support, take the photo from farther away and crop down afterward.   Posted: 11/12/2021 14:47:20
Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Hi Carole, I remember meeting you in Georgia many (many) years ago! You actually brought me into PSA! Yes, I agree with your views, and I didn't have a tripod. As I get (sh! older...), it gets harder and harder to get into those awkward positions, too. And I'm less patient when its very humid as it was in there--my glasses kept fogging up from the mask. So I took the suggestions given, and converted to BW, then re-introduced some color, vignetted a bit more...I still don't feel right with this. I would crop in more, but then it might feel too tight. I could vignette more? All suggestions welcome. And sometimes an image isn't worth all the fixes; we call it a day and move on to another photo.   Posted: 11/13/2021 10:35:26
Comment Image
Carole Kropscot   Carole Kropscot
(Group 12)
Wow, what a memory! That was many years ago! I do like your new mostly BW version because the butterfly really stands out and because a black and white butterfly image is so unique. The fact that his/her head is so sharp and also colorful is also a unique element. It's always good to be unique, especially with a popular, much-photographed subject. I think you can always expect someone to mention it when a butterfly isn't completely in focus. Nice to "see" you again! I just happened to randomly choose your group to look at this month. Small world!   Posted: 11/13/2021 15:19:29
Carole Kropscot   Carole Kropscot
(Group 12)
..and I suggest darkening the leaf at the top right. Then I think you've done justice to this shot.   Posted: 11/13/2021 15:20:38
Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Thanks, Carole! I will do that! Great suggestion; I am always so amazed at the things we DON'T see when working on an image!   Posted: 11/23/2021 09:05:58
Keith Au   Keith Au
Hi Carol, great job converting it to BW. It's an amazing image in monochrome as those distracting colour(s) disappear.. Love it.   Posted: 11/21/2021 09:57:01
Carol Sheppard   Carol Sheppard
Thanks, Keith...I appreciate your appreciation of it, LOL!   Posted: 11/23/2021 09:06:30