Suggestions for a camera for taking butterfly photo's

Anne Kilmer viceroy at
Sat Feb 27 07:35:32 EST 1999

Esther Cornelius wrote:
> Mark: A SLR with tube extenders, ring flash, zoom lens, & monopod stand.
> The ring flash gives pretty luminous shots without any specific shadow.
> You can make plenty of time for closeups if you catch them & put their
> envelope in a cooler for 1/2 hr. then place them somewhere picturesque &
> shoot them while they wake up.
> Bill

You can also take a little squirt and festoon the scene with dewdrops,
if you're into cheating. And, of course, there's always taking pictures
in butterfly houses and zoos. 
There's nothing wrong with using a ring flash, of course; it's the
cooler I'm objecting to. 
Of course the rules followed by journalists are quite different from the
rules for amateurs, but I think "First, do no harm" is a rule you might
at least consider. Trampling host plants, moving plants to make a larva
more visible (and failing to cover the little guy back up when you're
through), and interrupting the butterflies in the pleasant enjoyment of
their natural lives are all on the same moral plane as collecting. 
	That doesn't mean there's anything wrong with any of the above
activities ... 	it's not my job to make that sort of decision ... and
I'm as carnivorous as the next man, and wear leather shoes.
	But it annoys me to see the photographers claiming the moral highground
if they indulge in the tricks you recommend and the other games I
Shooting fish in a barrel, we call it. 
Obviously if you're making a fieldbook, you have a perfect right to rear
butterflies, photograph them at your leisure on emergence, with whatever
props appeal to you, and it'll help us all learn what butterflies look
like, which is, I suppose, your goal. 
But it ain't art. 
Anne Kilmer
South Florida

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