Butterflies & Mistflower

One of my 2019 goals was to improve my camera skills so I could take better garden pictures. I have a Nikon D80 and two lenses (regular zoom and a fixed micro lens), and generally shoot in aperture priority. But I still wasn’t getting the kind of results I wanted in less than ideal lighting situations, even after investing in a tripod and remote shutter release gadget. Plus I’m a total sucker for magical backlighting, but my pictures would always be either blown out or way too contrasty.

All hail my ultra-talented photographer friend Cat, who has answered ten million camera questions this past year and leant me her fantastic book, Understanding Exposure by Bryan Peterson. (I will give it back, I swear!) Now I am finally at the point where I understand WTF to do with the ISO.

One of the things I really wanted to document properly was the #1 butterfly magnet in my yard, the climbing tropical mistflower, Chromolaena odorata, which I have on twin trellises flanking my shed window. I wait all year for it to bloom, usually timed to the monarch migration, and once in bloom, it’s completely covered in clouds of butterflies and other pollinators. One magical morning, I ignored my to-do list and spent some quality time half-hanging out the window with my camera:

2020 camera goal? Full manual, y’all! Fingers crossed.


About The Gardener of Good & Evil

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2 Responses to Butterflies & Mistflower

  1. I am impressed! I can’t seem to get around a major mental roadblock in understanding all that camera/photography “stuff”.

    • I had the hugest mental roadblock too, despite having learned to shoot manual with a film camera back in college. I managed to completely forget every damn thing I learned! But I was getting really sick of trying to fix less than ideal shots with Photoshop, which never really worked the way I wanted it to.

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