10 May 2011

Butterfly Portraits - The Saturn

Butterfly Portraits
The Saturn (Zeuxidia amethystus amethystus)

Canon EOS 5D MkII fill-flashed with Speedlite 580EX II : Tamron 180mm f/3.5 : ISO 2000 ; f/6.3 ; 1/125s in AV Mode, Handheld

I would never have expected myself to be a butterfly enthusiast 3 years ago, much less an avid butterfly photographer! It all began when I wanted to start a project on butterfly conservation and building a butterfly garden for my school. That’s where I had to link up with fellow butterfly enthusiasts to learn more about butterflies and their different habitats. ButterflyCircle provided me the essential knowledge for that.

Butterfly photography came about after marveling at the splendid shots by ButterflyCircle members. I often wondered how these beautiful butterfly shots came about, especially when the butterflies were always fluttering around.

For this shot of the Saturn, the day started with SMS exchanges with Loke on Mothers’ day to check whether he was shooting and determined a common place to meet. Upper Seletar Reservoir Park was chosen as we had shot a very rare Yellow Banded Awl just the day before.

We proceeded to the spot where we observed a few different species feeding on some fallen fruits on the forest floor. This time around, we encountered not one, but four Saturn butterflies! I was quite excited to see them close up because my earlier encounters with them were from afar and they would quickly disappear deep into the forest at the slightest movement. For months, I had been hoping to chance upon one for a decent shot but was often left disappointed.

As we moved in closer, all four took off from the ground. One female Saturn landed itself on the tree trunk which provided a nice perch for photo shooting. Fortunately, the female Saturn looked pristine and tame which provided me time to adjust and experiment with different angles. Immediately, I tried to get as parallel to the butterfly as possible, pressed my arms against tree branches for more stability and quickly took a series of shots.

Butterfly photography has helped me to understand and appreciate nature’s beauty, its serenity and the importance of conservation for our environment. Indirectly, this hobby has also helped to exercise my body, maintain my alertness and most importantly, the friendship of like-minded butterfly enthusiasts. Through the sharing of the different species of beautiful butterflies especially with younger children, I hope to raise their awareness of the things around them and to instill in them the importance of butterfly conservation.

ButterflyCircle Photographer : Koh Cher Hern, in his mid 40's, working in the teaching profession