Over the last couple of weeks I’ve had the opportunity to get out in my backyard a few times to photograph some wild monarch butterflies in flight. This short article shares some of the hand-held images that I’ve been able to capture. At this point I’m still experimenting with technique.
NOTE: Click on images to enlarge.
During my time-limited photo sessions I often used a fast shutter speed as I was also attempting to photograph some bees in flight. When trying to photograph wild monarch butterflies in flight one needs to work very quickly as the butterflies are quite skittish.
I chose a particular part of one of our flower beds that was attracting the monarchs on a frequent basis. It was also important to select a shooting angle that gave me good light as well as a decent background.
The monarch butterflies would only land on a blossom for a couple of seconds. I’d have to quickly frame my image, acquire focus, then half depress my shutter release to engage the E-M1X’s Pro Capture mode.
The minimum focusing distance on the M.Zuiko 40-150 mm f/2.8 Pro zoom lens is fairly short. This allowed me to get in reasonably tight to the subject butterflies while still allowing some flight room in my compositions.
When the monarch butterflies took flight from the blossom I fully depressed my shutter release. This locked in the images that had been spooling in memory with the Pro Capture mode, as well as giving me a few additional frames.
Photographing wild monarch butterflies in flight can be challenging since the flight paths they take are unpredictable. If the butterflies flew either directly away, or straight at me, they would almost immediately go out of focus. This made many Pro Capture runs basically unusable.
Over the next few weeks I’m planning to do more experimentation photographing wild monarch butterflies in flight, and fine tuning my technique. Shutter speed and aperture will be two settings with which I will be making adjustments. Hopefully my back-ordered MC-20 teleconverter will arrive soon. I’d like to see how that piece of gear can be used for this subject matter.
The Pro Capture mode in the Olympus OM-D E-M1X and E-M1 Mark II is an outstanding feature to use for this type of photography.
All photographs were captured hand-held using camera equipment as noted in the EXIF data. Images were produced from RAW files using my standard process.
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