Spring has sprung in North Carolina. Yesterday evening, while I was outside with my youngins, one of my daughters asked me to catch a butterfly for them. I told her that if I tried to catch one, I’d likely hurt it. “I can make a photo of the butterfly instead”, I told her. She was happy with that solution so I grabbed my camera and set to chasing butterflies around the Crepe Myrtles in the yard. With a little bit of fill light from a shoe-mounted flash, I got a few decent shots. While I was working on them in Photoshop, I felt a bit artsy-fartsy and so I processed the images to give them an antique sketch/watercolor feel. In the end, I’m pretty pleased with the result. I hope you enjoy them.
Here are the two photos sans antiquing.
I used a Sony NEX-7 with a Sony SEL18200 18-200mm f/3.5-6.3 lens. I also had a hotshoe-mounted flash attached. I had the camera in manual mode. 1/125 sec @ f/8 ISO 100. Any time you’re shooting up towards the sky, I recommend shooting in manual exposure mode so that the camera doesn’t get confused and try to expose for the background sky. I dialed the flash power down a bit so that it was just a light pop that would fill in the shadows. I wanted to get a nice simple white background, completely blowing out the sky. If I wanted to include the color/detail of the sky, I would have needed to increase my shutter speed to the maximum flash sync speed (1/160sec in this case) and decrease my aperture size (higher f/ number) until my ambient (no flash) exposure satisfactorily rendered the background sky. With the ambient exposure set, I would then introduce foreground lighting via my flash, dialing it up until the butterfly and flowers looked correct. Flash powers settings will vary based on your distance from the subject, the aperture you settled on for ambient exposure, and your ISO. Remember that when shooting with a flash, only aperture and ISO will affect how your flash exposes the scene. Shutter speed will only affect your ambient exposure but you have to make sure that it doesn’t exceed the flash sync speed of your camera and flash.