Just a quick blog to show what I’ve up to today.
A friend of mine tipped me off to a site in Gloucestershire where there has been a mass emergence of Marsh Fritillaries. An hours drive away from my home in Malvern, I set out at 6.15am to get there before the temperature started rising. Well… I arrived on site and it was 3 degrees above freezing with a light layer of frost on the ground. Couldn’t believe I had to wear my gloves!
Due to the temperatures plummeting and the wind still quite strong, it was an hour and a half before I found the first Fritillary as they were well tucked into the long grass.
With the temperatures warming up, luckily for me they showed extremely well and I got some great photographs for my portfolio. I counted at least 70 on site within a smallish area. The warden had said there has been up to 120 counted in the last few days and a possible 500 estimated over the entire site! I think its going to be a very good year for this little butterfly.
The image below was taken with my usual macro setup; Canon 1D mk4 and Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. I’d noticed this individual basking on this grass stem and after shooting with the sun behind me to get the usual front on image, I decided to shoot with the sun in front of me to get this backlit shot. The background is a distance woodland partly in sun giving this very camouflage type pattern.
Settings for those interested:
1/250sec at f/7.1, -2/3 exposure compensation, ISO400
Subject distance- 43cm
More to follow as I process them so please keep checking back for more pics.
Checking the exif data for the Bee Orchids I photographed last year said I’d taken them between 10th and 27th June. Well I searched and searched and couldn’t find any. It was only when I checked the other night that I found a single really small orchid. I’m not sure whether its been a bad year for this species or not, but I can definately say they are very late flowering around this area compared to last year. Anyway, the next task was to photograph it. I tend to use my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens for most of the macro subjects I find, but after purchasing the Canon 1D mk4 I am finding the depth of field with this lens to be tricky. Due to the sensor being a lot bigger than my old 40D, the subject appears smaller in the viewfinder, which means you have to move closer to the subject which in turn, makes the depth of field smaller. Is everyone still following…? Good! (cus I’m confused and I’m writing it!! lol!) Anyhow, hmm.. because the depth of field is smaller due to being closer, to get more of the subject in focus, you have to increase the aperture. This will have two effects on the image/settings. 1. It will cause the shutter speed to go down (unless you increase the ISO) and 2. It will bring the background more into focus and you will lose the nice clear background that you want in an image. Not good… so… in my bag I also carry a Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS. I also have an 25mm extension tube and a 1.4x converter. It doesnt happen very often but I had a brain wave. I mounted the 70-200mm on the tripod and attached the extension tube aswell. An extension tube reduces the minimum focussing distance of a lens, (25% in this case with a 25mm) so you can get closer to a subject (and therefore have it bigger in the frame). This would also get round the fact that I would be further away than with the 100mm macro (because of the magnification of the lens) which should therefore give a more diffuse background. It worked a treat and the photo below is what I achieved of a plant that was no taller than 15cm. Settings for the top shot were Canon 1D mk4 with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens at 170mm with a Canon 25mm extension tube. ISO200, 100th sec @ f/8.0. The lower image is with the 100mm macro lens at ISO 400, 1/80sec @ f/8.0. Compare the two backgrounds and settings. I know which one I prefer.
Knowing that there are plenty of butterflies to photograph in this area, I had a slow walk back to the car and found two Marbled Whites butterflies mating on top of one of the orchid spikes. The female is the browner looking one on top. I couldn’t resist getting a few pics and heres one that I particularly liked.
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