Macro Monday

I've been keeping an eye out on my "birding" area in the backyard.  While I haven't seen many birds at all this summer, it has turned into a bit of a butterfly hot spot.  

Probably three months ago I planted several butterfly "attracting" plants.  I started with a Butterfly Bush, added some Brown and Green Fennel, some Parsley and finally some Milkweed.  The butterflies are attracted to the Butterfly Bush, Parsley and Milkweed because they enjoy eating it.  The Fennel they use to lay eggs in.  Eggs turn into caterpillars and another photo op. ;)

I was out taking care of some things in the area this past weekend and noticed a new batch of Black Swallowtail Caterpillars had hatched, then noticed all kinds of butterflies everywhere.  The light was also cloudy and soft, so I grabbed my camera with Macro lens and went back out to spend some time with them.

I did something I rarely ever do when I am shooting macro...I shot handheld.  These guys were OK with me getting very close to them, but they moved frequently and trying to chase them with a tripod was not going to work out well.  I just kept an eye on my shutter speed and made sure I turned on the VC on my Tamron SP 90mm F/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 VC USD Lens.  Those two things in conjunction worked really well and allowed me to hand hold for these shots.

Aperture Priority, 1/100th second, F/8, ISO 200, Exposure Compensation +1/3

I believe this is a Gulf Fritillary Butterfly feeding on Milkweed.  

There are a lot of "butterfly on flower" photographs, and some of them are really, really good, but I  really wanted to see how close I could get to these guys with my macro lens.  Not only did the Tamron lens allow that, but the VC helped my create this image, too....oh yeah, and the thing is sharp!

Image made with Canon 5D Mk III and Tamron 90mm Macro.


Bird Blind

I was able to spend some time in the bird blind this past weekend.  I was trying out a new tripod.  I mean it's new to me, but it's defiantly not the latest on the market.  It is the Vanguard Abeo Plus 323CT Tripod.  I like this tripod for one huge reason...I can completely remove the center column and get to ground level.   Can't you get to ground level with your other Vanguard Tripods, you ask?  Sure, but it requires a bit more work.  I have to raise the center column up and slide it through the bracket that essentially turns it parallel to the ground.  Then I can spread the legs all the way out and I'm at ground level.  With the Abeo Plus model I can just get to ground level by spreading the legs out and not fooling with the center column.  I like that!

Back to the bird blind...

I was setup with my tripod and my Canon 7D with the Tamron 150-600mm lens.  That lens is pretty much the reason I even have a bird blind in the first place.  There wasn't much action on this particular morning, but I did get the chance to photograph a few cardinals. 

This guy in the image above was shot at F/7.1, ISO 1250 and a shutter speed of 1/500th.  Why ISO 1250?  Well, it was a cloudy morning and I needed to bump the ISO a bit to get to the shutter speed I wanted to freeze the action.  Even though he is posing for a portrait here ;)

Since the light didn't change, this guy was shot at the exact same settings as the one above.  Both were shot racked out to 600mm.  I really love this long lens Tamron has pumped out!