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kcharls

Monarch butterflies cluster



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4 Comments | Report
melodyesweetin PRO
 
melodyesweetin June 16, 2015
I love this shot ...........what a great capture!
kcharls PRO+
kcharls June 16, 2015
Thank you. The enjoyment from taking pictures is sweetened when sharing them brings a comment like yours.
Beegirl
 
Beegirl August 24, 2016
Very Nice and great shot
kcharls PRO+
kcharls September 29, 2016
Thank you.
nettie101
 
nettie101 February 26, 2018
Got to love these moments!
kcharls PRO+
 
kcharls November 22, 2018
Thank you to all for the kind comments.

Same photographer See all

Behind The Lens

Location
During November I visited Natural Bridges State Beach in Santa Cruz, California, specifically to see the Monarch butterflies returning to their winter habitat in the eucalyptus grove at the State Monarch Preserve.
Time
This was taken at 4:00 PM and the day had been partly cloudy with a strong breeze. I had been in the grove twice, earlier in the morning when the sun peeked through the clouds, and again that afternoon hoping for less wind and better light. This was one of the last shots of my visit.
Lighting
A sunny day without a breeze would be ideal for this area. The grove is in a small valley and the eucalyptus provides plenty of shade. My only day there saw clouds and wind. I had to use a slower exposure time and higher ISO than I normally prefer, so the images were not as crisp as I was hoping for.
Equipment
I used a Canon Rebel T3 1100D, lens is a Sigma DG 150-500mm 1:5-6.3 APO, handheld because of the blowing breeze and swaying branches. I used the built-in flash (an attached flash wouldn't allow steady handheld), focal length 439mm, ISO-3200, 1/200 sec at f/6.3.
Inspiration
I hoped to capture the warmth of the butterflies huddled on the branches, wings closed and muted color showing. The one butterfly spreading its wings and showing off the color was the bonus I was looking for.
Editing
I use Adobe Photoshop Elements 13 to reduce noise, sharpen as little as I can, boost the vibrancy and crop to fit. Little adjustments to white balance were needed to help brighten the cloudy day.
In my camera bag
The Canon T3 and a Kodak Z712 IS point and shoot for street photography. The Sigma DG lens, Canon EFS 128-55mm lens and Canon EF 75-300mm lens, tripod and monopod unit, Digital Visions HD 58mm lens attachment for macro and wide angle shooting, Altura Photo AP-FLS-UNV1 electronic flash and a variety of ND, UV and polarizing filters. Micro cloths, bulb blower and usually a bottle of water and a granola bar.
Feedback
When you take that first shot and realize you forgot to set your WB or curse your luck for not having the ideal day for shooting, take a breath, focus on what your image is in your mind and shoot. This picture was taken as I was leaving the grove for the day, away from the main clusters. I stopped in the path leading down to the full grove, apologized to some folks I blocked coming in and grabbed this shot (with a couple more for good luck).

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