Butterfly on Thorns

Butterfly on Thorns

You may remember this photo from my Instagram/Blog a while ago. It has been quite successful in some challenges/competitions lately, so I think it deserves some self-critique. This is the beautiful Swallowtail, one of the most impressive butterflies in Israel. It's quite large, and the colors are amazing. Here we have it from a side-view, standing on some dry flower that has turned into thorns. This was taken the end of May 2018.

What do I like about this photo? The side view is a bit uncommon for butterflies, and not something we usually see with our naked eye. The amount of details here is wonderful. I used an open aperture (f/6.3 - the most open my lens supports at the focal length of 400mm that I used) to have a shallow depth of field, so the butterfly and the flower it stands on are sharp, but the background is completely blurred. The sun is somewhat to the back, so light is coming through the butterfly and flower, giving them a nice glow.

What would I want to improve? I should have gone for a less shallow depth of field - the right wing (the one going in our direction) is out of focus. The background is far enough that this should not have impacted the blur significantly. Also, a darker background would have created more separation and contrast in the photo.


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