Butterfly Creek

8 January 2013

In the hunt for easily accessible and somewhat interesting photographic subjects, Dave and I spent some time at Butterfly Creek this morning.

We arrived pretty much at opening time (but not much before the throngs of uncontrolled and enthusiastic toddlers), and I spent about an hour and a half attempting to  get some reasonable shots. Not much success, unfortunately, for a number of reasons–principally the difficulty in achieving a fast enough shutter speed.

Light in the butterfly house is not abundant, and the subjects are not always keen to sit patiently (hence more photos of those that did agree to sit still!) In an attempt to get whole butterflies in focus, I was using an aperture of at least 22. Even with a tripod this meant I needed to hoist the ISO up to the camera’s maximum of 6400. Performance at anything at or above ISO 800 gives noticeable grain, and at 6400 the result is something like you would expect in a newspaper! I guess that good high-ISO performance is one of the things you pay for when you step up a couple of levels of camera. (I have “de-noised” these images in the Camera Raw part of Photoshop, but the grittiness is still very evident.)

Intending to concentrate on close-proximity shots, I took only my 100 mm macro and my do-everything 18-200 mm. Next time I need to remember the 100-400: it would have been useful to get shots of the insects that just wouldn’t come within useful range for the lenses that I had. Using the longer lens at the higher focal lengths may also have helped with depth-of-field issues.

Prior to the butterfly enclosure there is a tropical aquarium, although photographing colourful and moving fish through glass in a darkened room is also something of a challenge!

Results below.

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