Battered Buckeye


Sony A77II
Sony 18-250 @ 250mm
ISO 800, 1/500 @ f8

For the most part I usually look for perfect specimens in my Flora and Macro shots. This afternoon I came across this little guy and I wanted to experiment with the 18-250 and extension tubes rather than my 70-400G which does give me more reach and faster focus but weighs A LOT more when handholding. I had to crop a bit more but I’m still pretty pleased with the results. Would appreciate your thoughts on shooting less than perfect subjects and if you’re okay with it how much is too much? All comments welcome.>=))>

Please do not critique this image. Galleries are for sharing and discussion only.

Hi Bill. As an Ohio State grad, I at first thought this photo had something to do with OSU’s recent misfortunes on the gridiron. :wink: As to your question, I think that the answer depends on what you would use the image for. In general, I too no longer shoot “imperfect” subjects (whether a butterfly or flower). No matter how great the background and/or light, the subject itself is still, well, the subject of the photo. If you are trying to publish or sell a print of a flower or a butterfly, imperfections are distracting and a negative element. Your photo here is a great example of what I mean. There are, of course, exceptions to every rule. These include a subject that you do not yet have in your stock. If you ever get something better, it can always be replaced. In the meantime, you have something. Another exception that comes to mind if there is some very unusual event or unique condition that is actually the subject - e.g., a battered butterfly caught mid-flight with another. A third exception is when “wear and tear” is what you are actually trying to show or convey in the photo (either by itself or as part of a series). A fourth exception is when the imperfections can be fixed in post-processing. I may still shoot the subject even if it is likely that the image(s) will not be saved if there is hope that the imperfection can be “fixed.” Obviously, the more minor the imperfection, the more hopeful the rescue. As with other post-processing “fixes,” there are use/disclosure issues that may come into play. These are beyond the scope of this response to your Q. Just my .02. :wave:

Bill, while sales of imperfect specimen are minimal, at best. I really like the story and think it’s important for people to understand how resilient “nature” is, especially when it comes to something we think of as being delicate (like butterflies). The challenge for a nature photographer is how do you tell the story of nature’s toughness, when the demand is for perfect images that are designed to make the viewer feel good. I really like the juxtaposition of your two Buckeye posts showing an old bf and a fresh young one. (That difference would be a good way to include both in a show and tell.)

Very nice, Bill. While they’re certainly not as artistic looking, I have no problem with less than perfect subjects. It all depends on the end use of the image. There’s a huge body of work of people portraits that feature aging folk with lots of character and usually a paucity of teeth and everyone thinks they’re wonderful, so I don’t know why other species need to be perfect to be photographed.

I have always felt that “imperfections”, such as this little guy’s tattered wings, add a lot to an image. They tell a story of resilience and will to live at all costs. They may not “sell”, but such images pay tribute to what most living beings go through at one time of another. So - this works wonderfully for me!!

There’s nothing wrong with a few bird pecks on those eye-spots. That’s how they work and they draw a predators eye away from the anterior region of the butterfly. This is a good natural history shot that shows the adaptive significance of eye-spots. Well done Bill…Jim