The Making of "Butterfly"
How the winning photo of the "Insects" contest was made
By rogi in Photo Contests on Nov 25, 2020
First of all I would like to thank the PentaxForums community for choosing my picture, other pictures were great too. Second I would like to clarify that the picture is one shot and not a composite. I took this picture with a Pentax K-1 + D FA 150-450mm combo towards the end of the summer, about 4 months ago. I was visiting some relatives for the weekend and we went to a local park since they thought I would be able to take some nice pictures.
I spent some time chasing hummingbirds but I gave up since their movements were quite unpredictable and I would only see them every 20 minutes or so. After that, I started taking pictures of butterflies since they were more abundant and easier to follow.
At some point I noticed that one of the hummingbirds was flying by one of the flowers nearby but other plants were blocking my view. I thought it was a lost cause so I went back to one of the butterflies. I was lucky to see that the bird was approaching the same flower the butterfly was on so I quickly snapped a couple of shots. Did I get the moment? Would they be blurry like many of my other ‘perfect timing’ shots? I checked the screen half excited and half worried and saw that the two pictures I took looked pretty good and that everything that I considered important was in focus and sharp.
When I got home I inspected both pictures more carefully and confirmed that they were decent enough for me to be happy with them. I didn’t do much post-processing, only what I do to almost any picture. Some cropping, retouch the shadows and the highlights (with the adjustment brush on top of the animals), minimum dehazing, sharpening and saturation. I think except for the cropping none of these matter much, 90% of this particular picture was a combination of timing and luck.
I normally don’t participate in these photo contests because I feel quality is always too good for what I have to offer. This time I thought I had something especial and that’s why I wanted to share it. The other picture I took with the butterfly and the hummingbird shows more action but I really like the symmetry of this one, particularly because you can compare the sizes of the insect and the bird. I am glad I went with this one for the contest; now I feel lucky not only for capturing that moment but for my work being valued by the forums.