Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly @ 960mm

Here are a few images of an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly from our visit to Davidsons Mill Pond Park. The featured image is a single image shot with a Canon 300mm f/4 lens with a 2x teleconverter on a Canon 7D @ f/11. Image below was a Blend of 2 stacked images, blended in Photoshop with a soft edge on the seam. Field of View equivalent with the Canon 7D (1.6x crop camera) 300mm f/4 lens, Canon 2x teleconverter ~ 960mm. When using a 2x teleconverter your lens wide open will be @ f/8, not f/4 because you loose 2 stops of light with the 2x teleconverter. So I usually stop down at least 1 additional f/stop to help with sharpness because of the added teleconverter. Swallowtail_v4_960mm_7D_MG_2578


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly

These were taken years ago at my pond in our old yard. I did not realize that when we removed a 20×40 ft pool and put in a large pond it would turn into my outdoor Macro & Wildlife Studio. Got lots of interesting images there. Also got to try many different techniques to photograph small subjects across the pond.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly – 400mm w/ 1.4X Teleconverter


Eastern Tiger Swallowtail On Butterfly Bush

I was going through older images to look for some colorful images to post on the blog. These were from my old home by my pond. This was on the other side of the pond probably 20 feet from my camera. Even with a 400mm lens the image would not have filled the frame like I wanted, so I started experimenting with different ways to get closer. So by adding a short extension tube, then a 1.4x teleconverter, then another extension tube I was able actually starting to get what I wanted in the frame. It took hours of experimenting with different sized extension tubes, teleconverters and teleconverter and extension tube placement for different results resulting in a large image on the camera’s sensor.

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More Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

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More Eastern Tiger Swallowtails – Different Location

I was at the Celery Farm Natural Area in northern NJ trying to find an Osprey, but no luck. Hardly any of the usual birds were around. A Black-crowned Night-heron fly by, but mostly Canada Geese in abundance. But the Swallowtails were busy in the bushes by one of the lookout towers. So more Swallowtail photos on a different bush.

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                                                And a blue dasher to add a different color to the group.

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Eastern Tiger Swallowtail On Butterfly Bush

The Butterfly Bush by our pond saw a lot of activity today. The most I have seen with butterfly activity. Between Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterflies and Painted Lady Butterflies plus a lot of bees and wasps, it was non stop activity for a few hours. They were about 14 ft away across the pond, so I was using a Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens with a combination of extension tubes and Canon 1.4X Teleconverters to fill the frame. I also used a Flash to add some fill light to the shadows, from -2/3 thirds to -1 full stop. Using this combination you lose autofocus, but it lets you get some interesting closeups when you cannot get to your subject. The only problem I had with the Butterflies was they were constantly moving and I was trying not to go above ISO 1250, so my shutter speed was about 1/125, so I had some motion blur here and there. The Dragonflies are more cooperative sitting fairly still until they take off. Usually I only use 1 – 1.4X teleconverter plus extension tube narrower in front of the teleconverter and a wider extension tube behind the teleconverter which helps enlarge the image on the sensor. Gives me a lot of dragonfly image on the sensor, especially for the Blue Dashers which are only 1.5″ long. This combination works great out to 8-10 feet, giving me ample dragonfly image on the sensor.


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Canon 400mm f/4 DO lens, 36mm extension tube, Canon 1.4x Teleconverter, 24mm extension tube, Canon 1.4X teleconverter. Target Butterfly Bush in background. Usually I also use a better Beamer Flash Extender, helps batteries last longer. The extension tubes allow using 2 – 1.4 Teleconverters which are sharper than a 2X teleconverter, but also enlarge the image on the sensor more than just the teleconverters. Takes a little practice focusing consistently and adjusting exposure, mainly exposure compensation with shadows and highlights. 
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