Clinging On

Critique Style Requested: In-depth

The photographer has shared comprehensive information about their intent and creative vision for this image. Please examine the details and offer feedback on how they can most effectively realize their vision.

Self Critique

What I like about this picture is that it’s intimate, moody and expressive. What could potentially be improved is of course achieving a sharper / technically more sound result , but given the circumstances, this was highly unlikely to happen.

Creative direction

This image is part of a small portfolio I’m working on, which I named ‘Spring Loading’. Given the plethora of colorful images that are created each spring, I decided to constraint and differentiate to some extent, and aim for a more expressive body of work, hence I chose Black and White. So, conveying the change and anticipation at the start of sprint, when things become alive, without color; just with scene selection and form. I also made a choice to only work with intimate close ups, so documenting the arrival of spring using the macrocosm of a rather plain little forest near my house.

Specific Feedback

I know that technically this and all other photos in this portfolio will suffer, as I simply lack a macro lens, or a dedicated lighting setup for close up work. I only recently purchased a 1.6 macro extender which I pair with my Fujinon 16-80 lens (at tele - otherwise the extender won’t work) to get my shots. I’m not particularly phased by this though, as I am viewing this as an expressive body of work. I am here to embrace the technical challenges and shortcomings, with the belief that technical flows are not that detrimental to expressive photography. Then again, achieving artistic value despite technical shortcomings is not an easy feat. So the feedback I aim for is Aesthetic, Conceptual and Emotional. Does this picture work for you, or does it not? Why does it or does it not? :slight_smile:

Technical Details

This shot was taken on a cloudy / rainy day, with a strong breeze that moved the scene around. I had to resort to ISO 3200 to freeze motion.

  • Fujifilm X-T4
  • Fujinon 16-80mm F4 lens @80mm
  • 1.6 macro extender
  • f9, 1/280 sec
  • ISO 3200


This image was taken on a small forest right out of my house. I almost missed this little fellow that was clinging on a small flower, as it was blown around by the evening breeze. It took me half an hour to get this shot, as I was experimenting with various speeds and angles, and also fighting with the restrictions that the macro extender was imposing on focus. At some point, a strong breeze rotated the whole scene and set it at an angle that I really liked, as the little flower was directly phasing me, while the butterfly was on it’s side, outlining the very nice patterns on it’s wings. I already had chosen black and white for all the images on the portfolio, and the clear and contrasty patter on the wings really suited me. During post process I went for low key for the surroundings, as it conveyed the dark and rainy evening environment I was shooting in.

Nikos, I think you did a fine job with the equipment and weather/lighting. I also like that it is in B&W. I have never thought to do B&W with any of my butterflies, but you have made me think about it for future shots, because many of them have colors that would work well in B&W. If you have any room at the top (not sure if you cropped this), I could see having a bit more room about the plant, but not a must. If it was mine, I might would even clone out the out of focus limb in the bottom right corner. Really nice image, with wonderful details where needed, which is the eyes.

B&W is an interesting choice, especially for spring photos that are a sight for sore northern eyes indeed. There is snow on the ground as I write this and is 33 degrees F and I am craving color. Most of us are up here. So you are brave.

As far as this photo goes, it becomes more about the relationship and interaction between flower and butterfly, something that can get overwhelmed by color and light. Both are so small and delicate, but B&W gives them more substance in a way; more strength. I wish you had as much detail in the ‘fly as you have in the flowers, but with windy conditions it is difficult to dial in what you need in a single photo.

A macro lens and flash or LED panel make this kind of photo easier to achieve, but clearly you’ve done ok without them. Use what you have to the best effect - and it certainly looks like you get close enough for sure. These two are tiny!

So yes, on the whole this works just fine and it will be interesting to see more as you fill out your project.