Alners Gorse

I had the pleasure of visiting Alners Gorse – a Butterfly Conservation Reserve in Dorset on Saturday.  It was my first visit to this reserve and on this first visit I was impressed with the reserve and the amount of insects present.

The weather was almost ideal for an afternoon photographing butterflies, with early sun to warm them up, and then, the temperature slightly dropping so they were not as active.  Only at the end of the day did the wind pick up to make them harder to capture.

The following shots (all at ISO 400, some used flash ) of three of the species I saw on the day are the best that I captured, though I did see and attempt more species on the reserve.

Firstly a small skipper on a flower – Taken on a Canon 100mm Macro Lens.

Small Skipper - Thymelicus sylvestrisCanon EOS 50D (100mm, f/6.3, 1/200 sec, ISO400)
Small Skipper - Thymelicus sylvestris

A ringlet – also on the 100mm lens.

Ringlet - Aphantopus hyperantusCanon EOS 50D (100mm, f/8, 1/160 sec, ISO400)
Ringlet - Aphantopus hyperantus

I also had a patient couple of male Marbled Whites that sat for the following shots.

Marbled White - Melanargia galatheaCanon EOS 50D (100mm, f/6.3, 1/250 sec, ISO400)
Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

Wings open on a flower – Canon 100mm

Marbled White - Melanargia galatheaCanon EOS 50D (100mm, f/6.3, 1/160 sec, ISO400)
Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

A side on profile shot at rest Canon 100mm.

Marbled White - Melanargia galatheaCanon EOS 50D (100mm, f/8, 1/160 sec, ISO400)
Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

Another example in profle on Canon 100mm Lens.

As this particular Marbled White was resting for a while and co-operative to the lens I managed a series of close up shots on the Canon MPE-65mm from 1 – 3x magnification.

Marbled White - Melanargia galatheaCanon EOS 50D (65mm, f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO400)
Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

1x Magnification.

Marbled White - Melanargia galatheaCanon EOS 50D (65mm, f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO400)
Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

3x Magnification.

Marbled White - Melanargia galatheaCanon EOS 50D (65mm, f/13, 1/250 sec, ISO400)
Marbled White - Melanargia galathea

3x Magnification.

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Chris

I've been taking macro photography from 2004. I use both Canon film and digital cameras.

2 thoughts on “Alners Gorse

  • July 27, 2010 at 2:09 pm
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    A lovely set of pictures. Stand out one for me is the ringlet and the wonderful lighting. What F stop do you use, and does it dramatically change the background if you were to stop down?

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    • July 28, 2010 at 12:08 pm
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      With the Ringlet shot I used an aperture of F8. And that one I used flash with the exposure set manually to 1/160 second – so the flash was for fill lighting only.

      For the higher magnification shots I used F13 and all the others apart from the last 100mm macro lens shot were taken at F6.3. The last 100mm was taken at F8.

      The wider open the lens the more stand out the subject is due to bokeh (blur) produced by the lens, especially the closer you get to the subject. So it makes quite a difference to the shot. This I find needs to be balanced with enough depth of field in the shot to get the subject in focus. You’ll notice the tiny small skipper fore-wing is slightly out of focus due to the small depth of field. Getting the subject into a magic plane helps so you can use smaller apertures and keep the subject in focus. I’d say the first two marbled whites in this series illustrate this best.

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