Discover your subject By Dirk Dom

Discover your subject

By Dirk Dom


I wanted to see if I could take some insect shots with my Olympus PEN. I took the Kiron 105 macro with me, an extremely good lens which I almost never use, for insects I prefer the Canon 200mm macro which allows me to take shots from a far greater distance. When we arrived, the sun was out and it was around five, so the sun was nicely yellow. I went to the back of the Put, and started looking. I put as a goal to come up with one interesting shot. There were lots of dragonflies, but those weren’t interesting.

I took this shot, just for fun.


While shooting a spider squatting down I lost my balance and rolled backwards in the nettles, and I got nettled all over my body, straight through my blouse. There was another insect photographer, and I went to say hello. He asked if I had seen a certain heidelibel, but since I’m a dilettante who just shoots and has no clue as to names, I couldn’t help him. He pointed out a bush with three small blue butterflies with their wings closed. The bush was dead and brown and he didn’t think it made for an interesting shot. I got to work at the butterflies.

First, a standard shot.


I got up and wanted to walk away, but then I thought: “Hey! What are you doing! Discover your subject!” and I put some real effort into it.


That was already a little better. See how it looks like a little jewel? With the tiltable viewfinder of the Olympus PEN I can shoot at angles an SLR owner can only dream of, and with the 105mm I could shoot at a very steep upwards angle, so I could include the blue sky:


That was getting better. With this lens I can shoot an image 18mm wide, but that gets extremely difficult because depth of sharpness is very thin. But I gave it a try, and one shot came out sharp.


I decided to do a shot at the steepest possible upwards angle, as an ant would see it:


And finally I took a shot from straight forward, because I’ve never shot a butterfly this way. See how pettable and yet alien it looks?


The truly amazing thing is that these butterflies stayed in one place during all of this shoot. I moved ultra slow all the time.

“Discover your subject”: It worked out!



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  1. “Discover Your Subject” is great advice and it really shows in your photos. I like how your shots progressed using different angles and the commentary. I’ve often taken a shot and as I walked away thought, “was that really the best shot? Could I improve upon it?” Many of my favorite shots have been the follow ups. Your photos are well done and exemplify taking the time to discover your subject. Thanks for a post well done!

  2. Great pics…! Butterflies are actually much less frightened than flies or dragonflies. They will land right on you if you’re not careful

    FWIW, both Canon and Nikon make right angle viewers that pivot allowing quite a bit of perspective choice when shooting with the added advantage of using the viewfinder. Though i realize some like the screen, it seems more stable and I can get lower shutter speeds with a three-pint hold than the screen.

    To each their own…

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