Monday, 3 May 2010

Pearls, showers and flash

New camera or existing Nikon D40 with old 105 micro-Nikkor lens and flash, this is the question I have been contemplating recently. I have been unhappy with my ratio of keepers to junk and have contemplated buying a Lumix FZ38 with close-up lens. However since I haven’t tried all combinations of existing camera and lenses, I decided to experiment with my original Nikon lens purchased 27 years ago. I decided to go after Pearl–bordered fritillaries at Rewell Wood again. I found the site where we had success a few days ago and feel comfortable with the results. I can use my old 105 lens with manual flash. The aficionados of butterfly photography are mostly out of favour with use of flash on the grounds that it changes the colour of butterfly wings. Much of my underwater photography involved flash so I am comfortable with its use. The advantage of flash is that you get increased depth of field and can therefore get fully focused shots that ambient light photographers are denied  The disadvantage is that the background is in focus if the butterfly is near to it which can look untidy. I avoided the black background common with flash by shooting at 1/8 flash power at f11 aperture. Photography always involves compromises, and I am going to persist for with this combination for a time and see what happens.

Paul, another butterfly photographer, joined me at the site, which had yielded three Pearl-bordered fritillaries earlier, two males and a female being observed at one time. The female, considerably smaller than the males, had obviously mated earlier and was having none of it! Sunny spells alternated with showers and there was only one sighting after Paul arrived.
I found  some interesting fungi on route and noticed a lot of Bloody-nosed beetles moving around the lead litter.
Rewell Wood is quite high so there are some good views by the clearings. The bluebells look good in part of the wood.

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