Throwback Today — 008

The Throwback Today posts are a chance for me to get my D100 and D200 out, make sure the batteries are charged, that there’s a fresh CF memory card waiting to receive photos, and go out and shoot with them old workhorses.

But, sometimes, it’s me revisiting past captures to see how they might benefit from postprocessing techniques and tools that were not available back then. Today, we’re looking back eleven years to photos captured in 2011.

Specifically, to the day when a Tarantula walked from my forearm to my fingertips across my palm.

I should mention all these photos were already shared in THIS post, where I documented our visit to the Butterfly Pavilion in Denver, Colorado.

I always feel weird adding the state when I mention cities. I mean, sure, if I say Marion, there are a number of them strewn throughout the US, so it makes sense to say Marion, Illinois. But, Denver? OK, there are 19 places named Denver in the US, but how many readers know the other 18?

Anyway, let’s continue.

These photos were shot with the D200, and either the excellent 105mm f/2.8 Macro lens or the equally excellent 70-200mm f/2.8 zoom lens.

You can read the original post for more information about the visit.

Back to the photos . . . Tarantulas have gotten a bad reputation thanks to movies. For example, Dr. No.

Poorly researched, that movie was, as Tarantulas are not very aggressive, and their bite, while painful, isn’t typically fatal to humans. Given the size of the fangs, I can believe the ‘painful’ part . . .

But, you know, if you wake up facing this across your pillow . . .

. . . I can see how someone — even the mighty Bond, James Bond — might be taken aback, and shit themselves.

The place is a butterfly pavilion, but they also have various aquariums showcasing denizens from the deep . . . and shallows.

Starfish . . . weird name; it’s neither a star nor fish.
Overrated and expensive meal.

Next, I’m going to channel oneowner (LINK) . . .

“What in tarnation is that?”

Does this help?

“That’s just the same image without the frame!”

Ooops! Sorry, I meant to post this . . .

Yes, they have Horseshoe Crabs.

. . . and fish.

Those lines are scratches on the glass of the aquarium container . . . annoying that. By the way, did you notice the teeth on that fish? Here’s a bit of a closeup.

It reminds me of piranha fish.

But, the place’s name is Butterfly Pavilion.

Again, the scratches on the case are an annoyance, even more so because they seem intentional.

Obviously, these are all dead. There were three large cases of pinned butterflies from around the world.

I could have spent a fair amount of time just photographing the cases, but I wanted to get to the live specimen.

I promised myself we would return and I would photograph more of the displays, but we never did return.

Worse, it would’ve been smart to spend a bit longer photographing the mounted specimen because the butterfly enclosure was very warm and humid, and my camera and lens hadn’t yet acclimated to the ambient temperature (it was much cooler in the car). The result was instant condensation on all parts of the camera and lens, and most of all, the actual glass.

It took a good 15-20 minutes for it to clear, with a number of initial photos not being usable. But, eventually, I got into the shooting proper.

Hint for photographers: if you plan to visit, make sure your camera and lens are at least room temperature, and preferably warmer.

This butterfly landed on Melisa’s shoulder. Notice the proboscis being wound up . . .
. . . and here it is, fully retracted and wound.

I don’t remember how long we were there, but I had a pretty good time getting as many shots as I could. If I remember correctly, they also had hummingbirds, but the ones there were not as accustomed to me as the ones at our house, so I didn’t even bother snapping any photos. . . .

I shot 170 photos, of which I shared 66 in the original post. Here, I’m only sharing 45; the ones I consider the best.

I should have taken better care of my settings, as I think I shot almost everything in Program mode. That means I did not control the Aperture and hence did not control the depth-of-field. If I had, more of the butterflies would have been in full focus.

If it were today, I would have no problem shooting at f/22or higher because concerns about noise are almost a thing of the past. But, this was eleven years ago; noise was very much a concern.

So, we get shots like the above . . . everything in focus except the eyes . . . unless I took care to ensure the shot was composed with the butterfly parallel to the plane of the sensor.

When that was not the case, I got shots like this . . .

Not awful, but parts of the wings are not in focus.
Unless the butterfly happened to sit fairly flat, as the above one did.

Even with the telephoto, some of the butterflies were far enough that there’s a limit to cropping . . . still usable, though.

This is an excellent idea for feeding butterflies . . . using a shallow dish with a piece of the non-slip material used to either line cabinets or keep carpets from sliding. I’ll have to remember that for next year

I should have photographed some of the vegetation and flowers. Lots of great textures I could’ve captured in addition to the butterflies.

But, the butterflies were the main attraction, and that’s what I concentrated on.

It was only later that I saw how capturing more of the environment sometimes made for a better shot.

I did, however, try to be clever and get different poses . . . in the end, I probably wasn’t all that clever.

However, whether intentionally or not, I really like some of the compositions . . .

Anyway, I had fun then, and I had fun revisiting these photos. Hopefully, they’ve entertained.

There were moths there as well, but they were more difficult to photograph because they were usually tucked in nooks and crannies and in poor light. Sometimes, probably because I don’t see them as often, I think I’m more enthralled with moths than butterflies . . . but, yes, I enjoy photographing butterflies.

If you happen to live near Denver — or have occasion to travel through the area — you could do worse than stopping at the Butterfly Pavilion and letting Rosie walk across your hand . . . and get a reminder of it.

And that’s all the photos I processed, so, now, here’s the . . .

. . . slideshow of the Throwback Today 008 Gallery.

Remember, you can pause it and manually scroll through it. Also, if you want to see the original size versions of the photos, here’s the LINK to the gallery.

That’s it. This post has ended . . . except for the stuff below.


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