Often in the July/August time period I have opportunities to photograph Monarch butterflies as they visit various blossoms in my backyard. One of their favourite spots is a large butterfly bush that is adjacent to my back deck.
A few days ago I spent some time sitting in a lounge chair on my back deck photographing Monarch butterflies. It was one of the most productive butterfly photography sessions that I’ve had in quite some time.
I spent about an hour photographing Monarch butterflies and literally didn’t even have to leave my lounge chair to capture a good number of images.
At times I had three or four Monarch butterflies all flying around the same butterfly bush that is adjacent to my deck. As various Monarch butterflies launched from a blossom I’d use Pro Capture H to capture them in flight.
I would try to pick out Monarch butterflies that were positioned in decent light, and with a clear shooting angle.
Whenever I use Pro Capture H I very seldom change from my standard camera settings. Pre Shutter Frames and my Frame Limiter are both set to 15. I use 60 frames-per-second. I am very comfortable with these settings… and I’m confident knowing what to expect from my E-M1X.
I love using these settings with Pro Capture H as they tend to produce a good number of potentially useable images without negatively affecting my buffer performance. This allows me to fire off multiple Pro Capture H image runs in quick succession. Using UHS-II memory cards is strongly recommended.
There is something magical that happens when I can capture images of Monarch butterflies in flight. I love the sense of timing and drama.
I very rarely create images of perched Monarch butterflies… unless I can find a shooting angle that provides good subject separation.
The sun angle in my backyard is best in the morning. This affords me good exposure on subject Monarch butterflies, while also providing me with shade under my pergola. At times shadows on subject butterflies can be an issue.
Like many photographers when I begin a photography session I’m not particularly discerning with the position of subject butterflies. Initially it is more important to get my shutter release timing properly coordinated, and to study the behaviour of individual butterflies.
After about 5 to 6 minutes of general practice, I then become more selective and watch for Monarch butterflies landing on specific blossoms.
Until I switched to Olympus gear with its Pro Capture H technology photographing butterflies in flight was always a hit or miss affair… most often miss. I can now go out with absolute confidence that I’ll get useable images as long as there are subject butterflies in my backyard.
I used to explain to some photographer buddies that Pro Capture H expands what is possible. I now realize that this description is not completely accurate. While something may be possible… it can still be quite difficult.
A better way to describe Pro Capture H is to say that it expands what is absolutely achievable. Going from a hit or miss situation to feeling totally confident that I’m going to ‘get my shot’ is a significant performance difference.
I appreciate that many photographers are focused on sensor size and performance due to the nature of their work. And… folks should buy whatever equipment best meets their individual needs.
For the work that I do, a bit better sensor performance in terms of additional dynamic range and colour depth, pales in comparison to ‘getting my shot’. Pro Capture H provides me with the technology I need to consistently capture precise moments of action. For me, that is where a huge amount of joy is found with photography.
Photographs were captured handheld using camera gear as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process. Crops are noted. This is the 1,052nd article published on this website since its original inception.
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