When asked "Why butterflies?" I really
don't have a straightforward answer. And yes, as a child
I already was chasing butterflies (and caterpillars),
and over the years I took several pictures of butterflies
on holidays, but only in 2002 I started to photograph
butterflies in a more serious way. And to be honest the new
fire started more or less by chance when I took some
pictures of a common blue (anything but common) to try
out my new digicam. Since then my fascination has been
growing rapidly again. If anything, butterflies make me realise
how fragile we really are: life is a miracle!
Although the digicam had a good lens
and an unbelievable depth of field, the colors and pixel-count
weren't up to par in that time. So in 2002 I decided to buy a macrolens,
a Sigma APO macro 180mm F3.5, which I mounted on my
old Canon EOS 100. The Sigma crashed within a month,
so I had to buy a second macrolens, a Canon 100mm F2.8.
Most of the pictures I made that year are made with
the last lens, handheld or on a monopod. In 2003 I started
photographing again with my (repaired) Sigma on a new
Canon EOS 3, and in almost all cases I used a tripod.
In 2004 I bought my first digital SLR, a Canon 10D, soon followed by a 20D, and later a 40D. In 2010 I switched to my current full frame Canon 5D Mark II. The Sigma 180mm is still my favourite lens, but it seems Sigma has discontinued this lens in favour of the 150mm lens. On a full frame I need the extra mm's and I really like the bouquet of the Sigma 180mm. I am still waiting for Canon to introduce a digital equivalent
for the EOS 3. The new Canon 5D Mark IV looks promising, and hopefully Canon finally will come with a successor for their old 180mm macro lens too.
stopped experimenting with flashlight. It is a rather sophisticated matter, and apart from a darker background, the colours seem less natural, so so far all pictures are made with available light! My
Canon 5D Mark II delivers more or less noise-free images at 200
ISO, but early in the morning and later in the evening
this still can lead to exposure times between 1/60 and
1/15 of a second and that leaves little room for moving
targets..... In my opinion, despite the before mentioned
problems, the best times to photograph are in the early
morning or the late afternoon. The light is beautiful
and the butterflies are more easy-going! However you definitely
need a tripod under these circumstances.
Unfortunately enough I don't live in an
area or a country with an abundant butterfly-life. In
the Netherlands you may find about 70 different species.
However in my direct neighbourhood (within a range of
100 km from Amsterdam) you can encounter about 35 different
species. Most of them can be found in the dunes west of
Amsterdam. The woods and heathlands east of Amsterdam
are not as rich as the dunes. So to get to see less common
butterflies I will have to travel at least 100 kilometers.
It won't be a surprise that most pictures on this site
are made elsewhere in Europe. France has been my favourite
destination for a long time, but the last few years I
have been in Hungary, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Romania, Portugal, and Austria
After photographing for more than a decade I still have a huge list of wishes.
Naturally I hope to improve the quality of the pictures
on this site. I also would like to photograph all Dutch
species in the Netherlands itself. And one day I hope
to have a complete list of all European butterflies...