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Speckled Fire

Speckled Fire
Photo Information
Copyright: Loot Eksteen (loot) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2006-04-26
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 400, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/250 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, Butterflies of the African continent., Butterflies with minimum 50 points & above, Butterfly, I love, RARE or SIGNIFICANT contributions to TN 1, A study in Entomology (insects) 1, Macromania [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-04-28 1:09
Viewed: 7647
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Natal acraea - Acraea natalica

AT LAST!! My first butterfly. I managed to capture this beauty after I literally chased hundreds of butterflies over the past two months. Every time I tried and failed I just grew with admiration for all the TN photographers who so skilfully keeps on producing the loveliest butterfly photos at regular intervals. I don't know how you manage to do it or what your secrets are, but I envy you and you are all such an inspiration to me.

I am sure I lost some weight in my efforts to capture a butterfly. This is a good form of exercise after the hours spend in front of the PC being busy with photographic or TN activities such as post processing, postings, note writing, critiquing, and just working through the gallery. You might notice that my notes are much shorter than normal, but I need to catch my breath first.

I photographed this lovely specimen at the Thulasihleka Pan Bird Sanctuary outside Richards Bay. As a matter of interest I have uploaded a workshop that shows the hide and the surrounding area at the bird pan. You can read more about the Bird Sanctuary in my posting of the elegant grasshopper "Amazing Technicolour Dreamcoat".


Wingspan: 55-65mm. Both sexes are similar, but the male are generally brighter and more active than the female. Orange winged with dark scaling in the discal area of the forewing. The hind wing margins are wide. Upper abdomen surface is blackish with white spots.

Common and widespread in open, lowland forests and forest edges, savanna, and flatlands.

South Africa; from East London in the Eastern Cape all along the coast and inland of KwaZulu Natal, Mpumalanga, Limpopo, Gauteng, and the Northwest provinces. Throughout Mozambique and up to Zimbabwe, Malawi, Zambia, South Zaire (Shaba), Tanzania, and East Kenya.

Flight period
All year-round, with strong peak in late summer.

Source: "Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa", by Steve Woodhall, published by Struik.

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

chiliu, dew77, liquidsunshine, jcoowanitwong, samos, AndyB, phlr, Janice, thistle, aido, TAZ, wkshelton, firelord, honza, Luc, scottevers7, coasties, marhowie, goutham_ramesh, thor68, Harm-digitaal, jeanpaul, SkyF, pauljk, Dyker, Alex99, Miss_Piggy, Aaltjie, betsie, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To EOSF1: Just wonderingloot 1 05-14 02:04
To peter_stoeckl: Postworkloot 2 04-30 07:39
To coasties: Thank youloot 1 04-29 02:17
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Loot,
Excellent shot! Very sharp image, good light and great colours.
Very well done!

  • Great 
  • dew77 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4432 W: 248 N: 4028] (13270)
  • [2006-04-28 2:15]

Hello Loot!
Magnificent close up.I liked POV,vivid colors,cross framing,details,
sharpness and composition a lot.TFS...:-)

HI Loot,
Good detail, colours and sharpness. exposure and lighting are good. Good POV and framing.

Thanks for posting, have a great weekend.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-04-28 2:25]

Hi Loot,
Your first butterfly... and it is just gorgeous. : )
I love the close-up and the POV.
The focus and the exposure are perfect throughout the butterfly, which is somewhat of a challenge, especially with the macros.
The colors are so rich, and the DOF is fantastic.
Congratulations, and TFS. : )

Hi Loot,
Perfect capture of this beauty. Lots of fun in chasing butterfly. This picture is justified your effort. Congratulations.

  • Great 
  • samos Gold Star Critiquer [C: 79 W: 4 N: 2] (39)
  • [2006-04-28 2:32]

Hello Loot very wonterful photo sharpenss colours and DOF are superexcellent nice work thanks regards Stavros

  • Great 
  • AndyB Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1366 W: 32 N: 1351] (3982)
  • [2006-04-28 2:46]

Hello Loot,
Congrats on your 1st butterfly.
Its a beauty too.
A good diagonal composition,nice detail and a good clear BG.
Very nice indeed.


  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2006-04-28 3:18]

Bravo Loot! Good presentation for your first B'fly. There are so many hard acts to follow on TN and I think you've done really well.
Good composition with the pretty one on this angle. Stunning colours, good light and details too. Well done,

Hi Loot
Excellent detail and perfect lighting. Colours are great and I like the POV and composition. Perfect DOF.

Thumbs up.

  • Great 
  • phlr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 130 N: 882] (2821)
  • [2006-04-28 3:41]

Beautiful buttefly!
Excellent photo!
Very good POV with wings wide open!
Very good DOF and details!
5* and TFS!

Hi Loot,
very appealing and well describing shot, very well composed.
The light is beautiful - shaping the vein details very well and making the butterfly look truly three-dimensional.
Very good details on the wings and the abdomen, very well balanced colours. Looks very good. Has the picture been rotated 90 degrees to the right in postwork?
Notes very good to read, charming, amusing, and instructive - as always from you. Thanks for the workshop showing us the place you take your pictures!
I am moved by the introduction you wrote about chasing butterflies. My constant impression was that capturing b-flies requires less skill than capturing mammals or birds - as b-flies let you get very much closer, and I am particularly impressed by people who manage to capture great shots of shy birds. What can be seen from your impressive gallery: you are experimenting in all kinds of disciplines, and you are delivering great results in all of them. Congratulations, my friend.
Thank you, and best regards,

Congratulations for your first butterfly :-)) I'm still trying to do it without sucess ! The butterfly is fantastic and the photo is excellent. Sharpness and details are very good, colors are great, very intense, and composition is very nice. Well done!

Hello Loot,
Lovely shot! I like the framing a lot. Putting butterfly in the diagonal is simple idea, but as we can see it can work great. Superb lighting and colours too.
This is a beaitiful shot and I think it was worth all the effort :)

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-04-28 4:35]

Hi Loot,
Excellent macro shot, wonderful detail, excellent colours and perfect DOF. A nice idea too to compose it diagonally in a square format. Informative and humorous note too :-) Great work again.
Best regards,

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2006-04-28 5:20]

Wow ! What a lovely and interesting butterfly that you have well captured ! I like the great colors and the diagonal composition. I also appreciate the complementary note... Congratulations Loot and thanks for sharing

And an excellent first butterfly shot it is.
Diagonal composition is great. Sharpness and exposure are very good. Don't think I've seen this one before, well done.
Yes it does take time to catch them in the wild, but that's all part of the fun.

Hi Loot, You have creating another great photo here. The framing of this butterfly is perfcet, the colors, are perfect , the details are subperb, DOF, is perfct. gee its another perfect photo fom you my friend, TFS Kyle and ave a great weekend

  • Great 
  • honza Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 533 W: 0 N: 720] (4197)
  • [2006-04-28 9:05]

Beautiful butterfly Loot. Very nice POV, sharpness and colors.

  • Great 
  • osse Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 89] (7805)
  • [2006-04-28 10:33]

Hi Loot
Another great shot from you. Good colours, POV, details, sharpnes and note.
Well done


What an appropriate title for such a fiery spotted butterfly, the lighting is really nice on this beautiful capture. :)

Hi Loot,
I would say the effort was worth it. An excellent butterfly shot. Great frame filling composition. The colors and detail look superb. Very nice work!

Hello Loot

Congratulations on your first butterfly shot. You should be very proud too. A very nicely composed shot. I particularly like the diagonal placement in the frame. The saturation of colour is spot on and the whole image is enhanced by the OOF BG. Well done my friend!

Hi Loot,
Excellent DOF @ F/10, with a perfect POF.
Rich color, nicely OOF BG, and great details..
Very well composed with the full frame diagonal presentation..
Well done.

Hi Loot,
Your first butterfly!!!, great welcome to the club my friend.
I like the diagonal composition. The focus and the exposure are spot on, the colors are superb and the DOF is fantastic.
Goutham R
PS. You have lost some weight!, that implies you ran around a lot to get this fella , that's the secret :-) ha , ha, ha !

  • Great 
  • thor68 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 795 W: 138 N: 1319] (5674)
  • [2006-04-29 13:44]

your first butterfly?!
looks like you have been doing butterflies
your whole life, loot! :-)
a perfect shot with wonderful colors
and sharpness.
excellent diagonal positioning in the frame
and amazing details.
i haven´t tried butterflies yet...
very well done & have a terrific weekend, thor.

Hi Loot,
A beautiful capture and an excellent diagonal composition. Excellent and contrasting details, nice and saturated colours. Good first butterfly capture!
Have a nice week end

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-04-29 18:31]

Hi Loot,
great composition, I love how the wings span from diagonal from corner to corner. Excellent colors and great POV. Sharpness and light are wonderful.

Hi Loot,
A+ capture here. Strong diagonal composition and perfect DOF keeping everything sharp that should be. I like the colours in this image, the greens of the BG compliment the butterfly as do the warm tones of the BG.

Hi Loot,
you have posted a lot of great picture when I was on vacation.
This is a great close-up picture consider you used a very long zoom, Lovely colours, very good details, nice POV and well composed.
Excellent work, my friend.

Bonjour Loot
Excellente prise de vue que ce joli papillon,les couleurs sont parfaitement exposées et la netteté est très bonne.Très jolie la composition ainsi que le BG
Merci et au revoir et bon week end.......JP
Je suis a court de sourire a demain

  • Great 
  • TPAKT Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Silver Note Writer [C: 97 W: 21 N: 20] (89)
  • [2006-05-01 10:41]

Privet Loot.
Beautiful diagonal. At us similar butterflies will appear only in a month. A colourful photo with precise details.

  • Great 
  • EOSF1 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1393 W: 119 N: 5267] (23955)
  • [2006-05-22 21:03]
  • [+]

Great butterfly Loot, sharp, clear, well composed and superb DOF. Thanks for this great work.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-04-01 8:05]

Hi Loot.
It is difficult to believe, that it is your first butterfly photo. You, probably, are very exacting to yourselves, but it is good sigh.

I like your upper POV and excellent presentation of this beauty. Perfect colours, sharpness and details of the butterfly image. You have selected DOF precisely: insect is in focus entirely and BG is perfect blurred. Diagonal composition and size of butterfly/shot are wonderful. Bravo and best wishes.

Hello Loot.

Excellent picture, nice composition and colors.
Very good details and colors.

Jose Luis.

Hallo my friend

Since there is nothing new, and my fingers are itching to give my comments to your photos, I’ll have to go back to some of your older postings that I have not yet visited.

All your efforts were worthwhile with an end result with this beautiful butterfly.

The colours are so vivid and beautifully bright. The black and orange make a great display against the greenish background. Very sharp details and excellent focus. This photo is so neatly presented that it looks as if it has been cut out with a scissors all along the lines. It actually looks as if it has been varnished. I think it is spectacularly done.

Well with you behind the camera, we cannot expect less. Expertly done. Thanks once again for the great educational lesson in your note.

Warmest regards

Hallo Loot
This is an excellent close-up.The colours and patterns on the wings are simply sensational. Light is very well used giving nice bright colour tones. Nice composition due to good position of the butterfly. Nature has given us some amazing beauty, and your butterfly is no exception. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Loot
Ongelooflik hoe jy die verskillende kleure oranje in hierdie foto laat vloei - ongelooflik!!

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