I finally caught a Monarch Butterfly on our butterfly bushes last night, and was able to get a few shots that I liked. I did a bit of cloning to get to this, but I’m still not sure about the crop. I feel like there’s too much empty space, but I also can’t find anything else I like. This is the most zoomed out I can go. I look forward to crop suggestions, as well as any other comments or critiques.

7DII, 100-400 @ 400
f/5.6, 1/40s, ISO100
Crop, cloning, TK curves adjustments

Craig: Really nice catch of this male monarch against a good complementary BG. I would just crop this tighter top, left and right. >=))>

Craig, wonderful capture. As Bill started I thing the cropped is the only thing there. The colors are perfect. I have never tried that lens wide open at 5.6 but it did very well. Great wing capture. Sometimes I thing butterflies like to play with photographers by teasing us with the wings. They open and close instantly and other times open very slowly just to close them fast again. Great color photo

Craig, the back lighting has done an outstanding job of setting the wings aglow. (Looks like a stained glass window.) The flowers add nicely as well. Bill’s crop does a good job of letting the butterfly and flowers dominate the scene. While f/5.6 gives you a smooth green background, the butterfly’s wing tips are just a touch soft, which is the standard trade-off between background softness and subject sharpness.

Craig, I’m glad you were able to get some shots of the Monarch. I too love the backlighting on this. Bill’s crop works well for this, I think. I agree that another f-stop or 2 would have put him a tad sharper throughout. If the background is far enough away from the subject, and you are closer to the subject than the background is, using a 400mm should render a pretty smooth background, even at f7.1. A fine capture.

Lovely backlighted butterfly well captured. Love the glow on the wings. Bill’s repost makes it more beautiful. Love the perch and the flowers. Great image for the first catch.

Thanks all for the comments!

@Bill_Fach, I like the crop. I was having trouble with that, thinking it was either too tight or too open, but I think this is a good balance.

@Dean_Salman, I agree about the wings…no way to guess when to hit the shutter!

@Mark_Seaver and @Shirley_Freeman , thanks. I don’t do a lot of this kind of shot, so I just set up and started firing away. I need to think more about DOF with these. I also should have bumped the ISO up as well, because I had a bunch of motion blurred shots as well.

Thanks @ravi, I love the lighting as well, and I’m happy with it as a first attempt. I have a lot to learn with this type of photography.