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butterfly

I photographed this grey hairstreak (Strymon melinus) with my Canon 7D and an adapted Micro-Nikkor 55mm f/3.5 lens over the past weekend. I used a diffused 580 EX Speedlite to provide fill light.

As expected for a 30+ year old lens, the focus is manual; but this is not an issue for macro work as autofocus is often useless for very small subjects. The other major issue with this lens is the manual aperture; this means I had to stop down the lens before focusing. This resulted in a darker viewfinder while I was focusing which was not too great an problem given a sufficient level of ambient light. Overall, I was very pleased with the sharpness of this lens; this 100% crop gives an idea of the sharpness:

I have been considering buying a focus confirmation chip for this lens – this would aid in focusing with the stopped down aperture – but that’s just a thought at the moment. For now I will continue enjoying this little gem of a lens – any thoughts or experience with this lens?

One last image – this American snout (Libytheana carinenta) was too neat to leave out.

These stunning green-patterned wings are those of Callophrys gryneus gryneus, the “Olive” Juniper Hairstreak. I was experimenting with some old Canon gear, a FD bellows and 35mm bellows lens, hoping to create a composite image of a butterfly’s wing. But, creating a clean series turns out to be impractical as the focus differed too much between shots. I instead focused on the patterns of green, white, black and brown on the wings, examining the melding of and contrast between the different colors.

The minute scales are arranged in such fine, detailed patterns which I always find it quite fascinating. But is not just the arrangement of these scales which catch my eye, rather the green color; it is not merely a smooth, consistent color across the scales, but instead glitters, as light reflecting off a rough surface. Though quite familiar with this iridescent, structure-based coloration in tropical butterflies, for whatever reason I had not quite expected to see it in this species.

Below a 100% crop of the image gives a better idea of the magnification achieved; the green color of the scales is also more evident.

After seeing the rough, glittering quality of the green scales I wanted to get a closer look. Using an old microscope, I focused on a single scale, first illuminating it from below and then from above. The difference was quite remarkable; lit from below the scale lost almost all of its vibrant green color, replaced with a mottled, muddy brown instead. But, lit from above, the startling green color reappeared, now glittering more than ever.

First two photos taken with a Canon 7D, FD to EOS adapter, Canon FD Auto bellows, 35mm macro lens, and 580 EX lens. Third image taken with a Canon 7D, homemade microscope adapter, and 580 EX flash; top image using transmitted light, bottom with reflected light.

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