Photo of the Week! Entry 3

Comma on guard

Comma on Guard

A comma stands guard

This summer was brilliant for butterflies, which I have to admit are not normally subjects for me. But, because the weather was so good, I ventured a little further than I usually do, into the south of the reserve (all of the hides are in the north, which is where I typically stay) and into the open grasslands there. Boy am I glad that I did! Butterflies, dragonflies and damselflies everywhere! This comma was striking such a pose on this leaf that I couldn’t resist getting close in. I had to be careful because it was the middle of the day, and it could easily fly away (in the mornings they are typically too cold to fly, and have to warm up first). I was using my 300 mm and crept close enough to get the butterfly to fill the frame. I used a fairly common rule of thirds composition (something that I’m probably in danger of over using) and used the one shot drive mode to focus on the butterfly then recompose.

I’m very happy with the result, the butterfly is wonderfully sharp, curtesy of f8, but the long lens gives a smaller depth of field than other lenses, so the background stayed nicely out of focus, despite being pretty close. If I were to change anything, I would probably drop the highlights down a little to show more detail of the leaf that the butterfly is standing on, but honestly I don’t feel it detracts from the composition, and if anything just goes further to remove any distractions from the butterfly.

Interestingly, to take this photo I had to leave the well-trodden path and follow a more desire-line meander through the long grass. About 30 yards in was a bicycle hidden in the long grass, and not too far away I could hear something suspiciously like teenagers having some private time together… Hopefully the sound of my shutter didn’t disturb them (it didn’t appear to) and after capturing the image of the comma, I bravely decided to turn around and head back onto the path. There’s only one kind of birds and bees I want to photograph!

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