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-1D 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.

The original imageThe original image

The maskingThe adjustment brush

My adjustmentsMy adjustments

The other image which I didn't useThe other image which I didn't use

Thank you!
- rogi

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