Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House

“So, where are we going?  To see Sophey having sex?” my wife questioned me when I woke her early on one of our shared days off during the past holiday break.

No, I replied.  “We are getting up early to get some breakfast and then on to the Sophia M. Sachs Butterfly House.  We have to get there by 9:00 to beat the crowds of older and younger people that will surely be troublesome as well as everyone with a camera phone who is trying to take a masterpiece of a butterfly.  We have to get there early so that the butterflies are not fully warmed by the slow winter sun and become too active to shoot easily.”

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 160,  f/14, 1/30 sec

These subjects at this location are definitely a challenge.  What makes it even worse is that on a colder winter day you cannot expect to go directly in to the high temperature and high humidity environment and start shooting.  You will find that your cold equipment has condensation all over it.  Sure, you could try wiping the glass surface of your lens over and over until the condensation is all but gone, but you shouldn’t.  Think about it.  If the moisture is building on the outside of your camera and lens, then any moisture that is suspended in the air inside your equipment will also condense – condense all over the intricate electronic circuits that make up your expensive camera and lens package that you saved for so long to purchase.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 200,  f/14, 1/30 sec

So what to do now?  Well, if your equipment is much colder or warmer moving from one environment to another you only have a couple of options.  You could do nothing and wait for all signs of condensation to dissipate before powering your equipment, thereby being relatively certain there is no condensation on those electrical connections that you do not want to short.  Or, you can seal your equipment in a zip-lock bag.  Leave your equipment in the bag and allow it to reach the temperature of the new environment.  The air in the bag will not be nearly as humid as the air in the greenhouse, or whatever warmer environment you have moved to.  Once the equipment has reached the same temperature, take it out of the bag and you will not see the condensation.  This second option would be the most desirable, if you remember to pack appropriate-sized zip-lock bags.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 320,  f/16, 1/40 sec

There are many techniques and equipment combinations one can use for macro photography and I have used several different combinations and techniques.  For insects, distance is obviously important and focal length and focusing distance should be a primary consideration when making your decisions about what equipment to purchase.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 200,  f/11, 1/40 sec

I would love to see the Butterfly House have one or two “photographers hours” a week.  I picture a day where they open the house early for an hour or so for only photographers.  There would be no school groups, no kids trying to rip the animals wings off.  This could be a great opportunity for us to get some great practice in for the summer insect season.

Technical details: Canon EOS 7D camera, EF100mm f/2.8L Macro IS USM lens, ISO 320,  f/16, 1/60 sec
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