Swan & Butterfly #5

I was shooting photos of the pair of swans that show up annually at a pond near my home when a butterfly showed up and was flitting around the swans. The one swan that was awake was interacting with the butterfly and even snapped at it a couple times. I got a sequence of photos of the interaction and processed 15 of them. This one has the best shot of the butterfly so I picked it to post. If you zoom in, you can even see the antenna on the butterfly!

Specific Feedback Requested

Any and all

Technical Details

Sony a6500, SEL200-600G @ 600 mm, ISO-200, f/6.3, 1/4000, hand held, shot a few bursts until the butterfly left the scene.

Here’s a re-post with distractions eliminated. Thanks, David!


Really good job on the exposure here. Tough to get good plumage detail on a snowy background. Both birds are an excellent focus. I think I would clone away the branches in the upper right-hand corner.

Thanks, David! I chose not to do the cloning when I was processing 15 images (due to time restrictions) but I should have done it before posting in this forum for critique. See the re-post above.

Gary, the small version of this does not do the image justice. The bigger one is so good. The detail is great and you have nailed the composition. Stick removal has worked really well.

A good story being told here. Of course, the butterfly is the icing on the cake.

Great image Gary. Superb details all around and nice exposure. Great view of the butterfly and interaction of the bird. Repost helps us focus our attention on that interaction. Well done!

I agree with Glenys that the large view is superb and shows the swan and butterfly nicely. I like the re-post.

Excellent, Gary. Beautiful detail and exposure. The idea of a butterfly in the snow is hard to get my mind around, but it’s really neat.

That’s a real David and Goliath face-off, it seems. It’s great that the swan and bf are both looking at each other and in clear focus. I’m wondering if it would be even more effective if you cut out the other swan? Probably not much; it’s a super catch anyway.

This is SO totally cool!! Who would ever think of a swan and butterfly in the same place, not to mention in the same frame, with perfect exposure and tonal detail! And the one-legged stance is wonderful! Trumpeter Swans??

Now that’s nice, the butterfly being the star of the image. I wouldn’t have though of removing the branches, but now you did I like it even better. Nice work ! Cheers, Hans

This is a wonderful moment and I’m so glad you had the skill to bring it to us. I like the branches removed since it makes the butterfly stand out so much better. The interaction is pretty cool. Glad the swan didn’t manage to eat it though. You could have a go at cropping out the sleeping swan if you wanted. Content aware fill could extend the canvas to balance things.

PS. Now you’ve got me singing Dog and Butterfly which isn’t necessarily a bad thing.

Thanks, Diane! Yes, they are Trumpeter Swans.

Looks like a Milbert’s tortoise shell butterfly interacting with the swans. A very unusual setting for this interaction with snow cover–but its Alasaka. The version with the branches removed is awesome…Jim

Hi Gray
The Swan and butterfly, are truly in a zen moment. Sometime nature shows you how mush fun there is in photographing the great state of Alaska. Very nice photograph.

Thank you for identifying the butterfly, Jim! Yes, it seems odd to see a butterfly in a photo of snow & ice but with the huge amount of snow we get it stays around well into the warmer Spring weather which brings out the insects and wildlife.

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