Big Monarch

Critique Style Requested: Standard

The photographer is looking for generalized feedback about the aesthetic and technical qualities of their image.


This big butterfly was on a tree near our deck. Must have been 4 inches wide. I like how it seems to have fur or hair on the wings near the body. I also like the orange and blues of the tail.

Specific Feedback

This was cropped in an 8 x 10 format. Maybe other ratios would be better?

Technical Details

600 mm, ISO 640, 1/800 shutter and F6.3. Sony 200-600 lens
I darkened the background and did some LR adjustments. Cropped in to a 8 x 10 ratio.

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Phil: This is a terrific capture of an Eastern Swallowtail. It’s probably pretty young too as it is in pristine condition. I like how you processed this as well. Superbly crafted image. >=))>

PS: How do you like the 200-600? It’s on my short list for my next lens.

The 200 -600 is my favorite lens. Super sharp. I like wildlife and have been really happy with the results.

Gorgeous capture of a beautiful butterfly! Its colors are lovely! I find the bright cluster of leaf stems at the top a bit distracting, and the darkening at the bottom a bit heavy. I think it would be worthwhile to be back to the raw file and do what you can with Shadows and Highlights to reduce contrast somewhat. If that degrades the beauty of the butterfly you could mask it and bring it out more. Maybe tone down the leaf color just a tad, which would need a mask as that will be more yellow than green.

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A wonderful catch, Phil. I think your 8x10 crop ratio works just fine for this. I do agree with @Diane_Miller comments on the background which I do find a bit distracting. If you do use a mask on the butterfly you could brush a bit more light on the left side of it-not enough to be obvious, just enough to bring it out a bit.

Such wonderful details in this beautiful Swallowtail. I agree with @Diane_Miller and @Dennis_Plank as I think it will improve this excellent capture of this beauty. Usually when I have had one to light somewhere that I can photograph them they seemed to have a nick or two to indicate they had a close brush with death, so probably as @Bill_Fach said, he is probably young. Very nice.

I agree with all the positives above. I’d just add that, as well as brushing a bit more light on the left side, as Dennis said, maybe brush a bit over the tail area of the two hindwings, to bring out the gorgeous colors even more and to contrast more with that great black BG.

Thank you for the comments. I have made the adjustments and it does look better.