Playing with low f-stops when doing macro photography can be tricky. Anything that is not in the same plane as the sensor becomes out of focus, and the tack-sharp image that so many strive for becomes harder to do. But the benefits of shooting with a larger aperture are that the background become soft and creamy, creating an almost dream-like impression. Larger apertures can help soften a distracting background: this particular shot was done at f9 with a Tamron 90mm macro lens. While the eyes are sharp (considered essential), the tail region, and the antennae are slightly out of focus. The lighting, and the soft out-of -focus effects make this striped hairstreak (Satyrium liparops Le Conte 1833) seem like it is riding a flowing green wave. The pink blush in the background is caused by wild roses, now softened enough not be a distraction. An aperture of f3.5 would have left little except the eyes in focus, and an aperture of f22 would have had the full butterfly in focus, but with distracting blobs of pink roses in the background.
The tail on this butterfly is a bit tattered. The striped hairstreak has a false head at the end of the hind wings–with eye-spots and the tiny tails which looks like a pair of antennae. Does the bent tails on this hairstreak mean that it has perhaps already escaped the attentions of a predator, or is it just a bit travel worn?
(Photographed in our north Edmonton garden. 11 July, 2012)