30 November 2011

Butterfly Portraits - Yellow Flash

Butterfly Portraits
The Yellow Flash (Rapala domitia domitia)

Nikon D700 ; Nikkor 105mm micro with TC III 2.0x, Manual Mode, 1/90s, f/6.3, ISO 800, No Flash, Handheld 

It was around this time last year that I crossed path with this fast and elusive Lycaenidae - The Yellow Flash. I had encountered this ‘special’ one on a few occasions during that time but couldn’t get a good enough close up shot. This had prompted me to return to the same place every weekend.

It was during one of those weekends that I chanced upon a good opportunity. While I was nearing its usual hangout, I scanned the area attentively and out of the low green foliage I noticed a tiny yellow ‘speck’. This is the familiar yellow ‘speck’ that I have been tracking down during the past weeks. I stopped momentarily, double checked my camera’s setting and proceeded to tread slowly towards it.

From my prior encounters with Yellow Flash, I knew that it was averse to flash and I needed to approach it in ‘stealth’ mode so as not to spook it off. As the subject was perched amongst very low leaves, I needed to be in prone position way before the safety distance. And soon enough I was down on the ground crawling my way towards it like a caterpillar.

As I wobbled myself towards the subject, I took some shots along the way. Surprisingly, this yellow character seemed to be oblivious to my presence as it stood there, perched proudly on the leaf.  Soon, I was near enough to have 3/4 of my viewfinder filled up by the subject. More shots were fired away to capture this special and rare species.

Since picking up butterfly photography 2 years ago, I have made many new friends. And through them I have learnt a lot about butterfly behavioural habits and patterns to really appreciate these marvels of nature. ButterflyCircle members' willingness to share and guide has greatly enhanced the learning experience, from the technical details of photography to the behavioural aspects of these wonderful Flying Jewels. Butterfly photography is all about perseverance, observance and patience and literally to “put your chest on the ground” to get that shot.

ButterflyCircle Photographer : Nelson Ong in his early 40's, working in the finance industry