Usually when you put insects and photography together, the first piece of equipment that comes to mind is a macro lens. I admit that macro isn’t my favourite genre, but Heather is a great fan of macro butterfly photography and often uses the M.Zuiko 60mm. However when we stopped at the Cambridge Butterfly Conservatory (Ontario, Canada), we challenged ourselves to use only the two new Olympus extreme wide angles lenses: the 7-14mm f/2.8 and the 8mm Fisheye f/1.8.
The motivation behind this idea was the very short focus distance of these two lenses. At the conservatory, they have a wide variety of South American butterflies that are far bigger than the ones Heather usually chases in the fields. This means that by shooting very close to these butterflies, they are big enough to occupy a large portion of the frame and therefore create an interesting wide-angle composition.
Many of the butterflies were constantly in flight so we had to look for the ones that were resting on a leaf or on the ground. The light was challenging because often the butterflies weren’t in the right position and we also had to take care that our own shadows or those of the lenses didn’t enter the frame because of the very narrow focusing distance.
Another thing is of course depth of field. Since you are focusing so close at the fastest aperture, the entire butterfly won’t be in focus unless the wings are perfectly parallel to the sensor. But by using a smaller aperture, the shallow depth of field decreases rapidly and the butterfly is less isolated from the background. We tried to find the optimal settings according to the light and composition.
We tried to compile a gallery with a different perspective than the usual macro pictures. It was more an exercise than anything else but we did come up with some interesting results. I used the 7-14mm on the E-M5 mark II and Heather used the 8mm on the E-M1.
Enjoy the gallery and let us know what you think in the comments section below!