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Assorted Extremes

Assorted Extremes
Photo Information
Copyright: Alexei Alyokhin (Alex99) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-14
Categories: Insects
Camera: Konica Minolta Maxxum 7D, Minolta AF 100-400 F4.5-6.7 Zoom APO, Hoya HMC Super UV(0) 72 mm
Exposure: f/19, 1/500 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-09-30 0:25
Viewed: 4095
Points: 116
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
My wife often says – "When will you calm down at last?" I answer her – "When I will calm down it will be any more not me."

I have the lightest in the world 400 mm monster (Minolta AF 100-400/4.5-6.7 ZOOM APO). It is rather slow lens with actual maximum aperture value F6.3 at long end. I also have teleconverters Kenko AF 1.4x TelePlus Pro 300 DG and Kenko AF 2x Teleplus MC7 DG. Only one converter can be connected with this telelens. It is Kenko AF 2x.

Finally, I have very slow optic system with huge focal range 200-800 mm that can be used at manual focusing mode only.

At forums, I have read statements, that it is necessary to be abnormal to use this lens combination. After my last post Extreme, it is clear that I am such person.

Last year was very poor for butterflies (I mean my countryside). Despite your cordial welcome of my butterfly pictures I had not been satisfied by rare meetings with them. I am amazed with butterfly photos taken by Peter Stoeckl), my dear friend and Great Expert of butterflies and Master of butterfly shooting. He takes his pictures often using long end of his ultra-zoom (as well as some TN members, which use 400 mm zooms or primes)...

Added 10.02.2007.
I should apologize to Peter Stoeckl that I has studied its techniques of butterfly shooting insufficiently completely and have cited inexact data on it. You can find a detailed statement of the basic receptions of this kind of shooting in Peter's brilliant response to this picture.

... My mentioned above telelens has too long minimal focusing distance (2 m) and small enough maximal magnification but nice image quality performance. That is why I decided to try to use teleconverter with it.

When the first butterflies had appeared this spring, I had gone on hunting. Now you can see one of my trophies.

For increasing DOF I have used small aperture value (F19). I have been compelled to use manual focus and monopod. And, of course, I have used high enough ISO speed (ISO 800). But I could photograph timid butterflies from the long distance.

After shooting during almost whole day I have taken some nice (IMHO) shots even at focal length 800 mm but I have made a final decision, that this method is very inconvenient and subsequently has refused it. Its weak points are: difficulties with getting sharp images (even with tripod), necessity to apply a tripod (or monopod) with moderate efficiency, slow manual focus and aperture value, necessity to have excellent light conditions and/or to use high ISO.

Later the spring gifted me many various wonderful butterflies and I have found optimal (for me) set of equipment for butterfly shooting. However, after these experiments, I still had feeling of satisfaction and a number of good pictures.

Butterfly info:
As you can see on the picture this is a fine specimen of Scarce Swallowtail. I had met this species last year only once on the ground and post a picture (On Envy to Fashion Women). There you can also find some info about Scarce Swallowtail and proper links.

Some shot info:
Full frame shot.
Kenko AF 2x Teleplus MC7 DG.

Note: I have noticed that PS CS2, ver. 9.0, produced worse resized jpg-image than ACDSee Pro, ver. 8.0. However, application of both editors to full frame image has been accompanied by the significant loss of details. What do you mean about this? Usually I convert RAW files to TIFF-format (by Capture One) and PP with PS and/or ACDSee.

jmp, Silvio2006, ellis49, pablominto, anel, horia, cicindela, cataclysta, Adanac, marhowie, Silke, fartash, peter_stoeckl, Maite, fyapici, Jamesp, uleko, Argus, jcoowanitwong, demeve, SelenE, JORAPAVI, jaycee, sily, jeanpaul, mlines, oscarromulus, Luis52, cecilia, hester, thor68, izler, ridvan, star74, Juyona, nainnain, Isu, Finland_in_Eton has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ellis49: Good advise. Thanks.Alex99 4 03-27 12:25
To claudine: AllegoryAlex99 1 10-02 11:20
To peter_stoeckl: My mistakeAlex99 1 10-02 11:12
To Argus: Shooting distance & Thanks.Alex99 1 10-01 06:55
To jesst: Good luck.Alex99 1 09-30 12:21
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-09-30 0:40]

Hi Alexei,
Aggressive composition with the branches reinforcing the delta wings shape of this wonderful butterfly. Even the angled and inclined pose works in this address! Perfect exposure and great details. It seems that your equipment is right for chasing butterflies, at least while you won't calm down :-)
TFS and best regards,
José Miguel

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2007-09-30 0:40]

Hello Alexei,
in most cases there are several ways to achieve a goal. Most people use the easiest. Alternatives, however, are more exciting - for me and obviously also for you - because we can learn of them and they are proofs of principle.
The result you achieved is excellent. The butterfly is well focused and sharp - details can be seen clearly. That's just what you intended to get. That's it!
Best wishes, Peter

hello alexei,
this is very impressive capture, the pov is very good, nice oof bg, you have managed the exposure very well, nicely composed shot,
tfs & regards

Hi Alexei, my today neighbour:) beautiful butterfly with wonderful colors, splendid details and excellent sharpness, your equioment works very well, have a nice sunday, ciao Silvio

Hi Alexei,
a pleasent picture with good details and the noise under control. I like the colours and lighting.
About close distance; try a 36mm extention tub and and the lens set to around 200mm then you will have a great butterfly "wapon". And you avoid the extra lenses and will only lose one step aperture.
Well done, my friend.

Hello Alexei,
A wonderful capture and a beautiful subject!
The pattern, the silky-coft yet crisp texture, all makes this a very attractive capture...
An interesting composition, where the criss-crossing branches make a nice background!
Pablo -

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-09-30 1:35]

hello Alexei,
Interesting composition of the Scarce Swallowtail between the two converging branches. And then in opposition, the sprig it is sitting on, with these marvellous fresh leaves.These butterflies are so impressive with their elegant flight..
Thanks also for the interesting note
have a nice Sunday

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-09-30 1:38]

Hello Alexei,
a stunning shot of this rare and wonderful butterfly.
+++ Very sharp with defined edges. Brilliant detail showing each scale on the wing. Brilliant composition.
--- Nothing :)
Well done,

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-09-30 1:59]

Hello my dear insane friend :))

What a magnificent capture! I'm having difficulties getting razor sharp photos at 300mm with AF...you are getting them at 800mm with MF and also with a much much heavier lens. My hat is off to you!
You did great to increase your f-stop here and it surely helped at getting the entire body+antennae of this lovely Scarce Swallowtail in full focus plus it also gave you great details.
The exposure level is spot on and the colors it resulted in are natural, very beautiful and superbly saturated.
I also like the positioning of the butterfly in the frame and the composition you created and since this is a full-frame shot, i admire your judgement about aestetics "in the field".
All-in-all, my dear friend, you are an inspiration and an opener of ways.

Bravo and TFS

Dear Alexei!
Maybe there was not many butterflies in your region last year, but this one is perfectly presented. Lovely colours and contrast between insect and BG. Great control of DOF and light and an interesting composition :) Maybe only BG is a little to dark in some areas (especially in place where butterfly's antennae are) but really it is less important :)
TFS and have a very nice Sunday!

  • Great 
  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2007-09-30 4:49]

Hello Alexei,
What a beautiful subject you have captured amazingly well with your excellent camera work, thank you for sharing.

Hi Alexei,
As always, you've provided an excellent note on how you got this one. Really helpful information supporting the mission here at TN, i.e. "Learning about nature through photography" :)
Excellent results with the long lens mf.
Very well done.

Hi Alexei,
wonderful shot with splendid sharpnes and colours

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2007-09-30 5:49]

Fascinating notes!
I love the capture and the colours and details here are truly grand!
Amazing composition with the branches forming the perfect frame

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-09-30 10:04]

Hello Alexei

A wonderful shot of this beautiful butterfly.The POV is very good.the focus and details are sharp showing very good textures.The lighting is well managed revealing lovely colours and details.The entire butterfly is in perfect focus.TFS


Hello Alexei
What a great shot of this Swallowtail,
Great focusing,DOF and lighting,Superb shot.

Good luck

  • Great 
  • juanjo Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 167 W: 8 N: 27] (1142)
  • [2007-09-30 10:28]

hello Alexei

nice close up picture, the butterfly is wonderful.
contrast and colours are very well in the picture.



  • Great 
  • jesst Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 368 W: 0 N: 172] (2441)
  • [2007-09-30 11:54]
  • [+]

Wonderful shot!
My dream this year - to take picture of butterfly. I have camera, I have lens - but I couldn't see any nice butterfly...

Dear Alexei,
good to read about your open minded and clever technical experiments, and a great pleasure to see results like this one. Your portrait of I. podalirius is very clear, strikingly well composed with those rhythmically set twigs, and with the young, fresh green leaves it contains a lovely clear hint of the early time of the year it was taken.
As for me, I have to confess that I do very little technical experiments. Macro photography of butterflies has become some kind of passion for me as I love to watch and to study these insects. And, as most butterflies are very volatile and wary targets, I am depending on easy to handle, quickly operating equipment that allows me to concentrate on my stalking techniques - concentrating on the object, and approaching the target as closely as possible. For that purpose, I am quite content with the Sony compact model DSC-H5 which is quick and easy to handle, and works precisely well and reasonably quickly with autofocus.
I almost never use manual focus.
The H5 delivers its best - most detailed - macro results in its medium zoom range of 70 - 100mm focal length equivalent to SLR, and for that a close approach is required. So, most of the time, I prefer a very close approach to my targets - quite often less that 20cm, and that is also a kind of sport that I like.
At maximum zoom (equiv. 435mm) that allows me to take close-ups from a safe distance of about 2 meters, the results tend to be less precise, and - with the Sony DSC-H5 - they also tend to suffer from chromatic aberrations. That is the reason why most of my butterfly portraits have been taken from very close distance, and some of them even with wideangle settings.
The image of P. podalirius that I submitted on 2007-04-14 was taken with full tele zoom (435mm equiv.) - but that was a rare exception.
I have to add that for most other purposes such as landscape, or long distance telephotography of mammals and birds, I would never recommend the compact DSC-H5, but would go for a decent dSLR.
Again let me say that I very much enjoy your clever and creative approach to photography that is both scientific and artistic, my dear friend.
With thanks, and my best regards,

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-09-30 13:26]

What a marvellous capture!!
I love the details of the scales in the hind wings. Yet it is hard to compare with our dear Peter. I am also 'hung-up' with it.
Nevertheless you cannot complain too much with such a marvellous specimen.
Magnificent job, dear friend.

  • Great 
  • Jamesp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1369 W: 9 N: 6334] (18906)
  • [2007-09-30 23:54]

Hi Alexei

A wonderful composition - great detail and colours. I would not expect anything less from you Alexei ;)


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-10-01 0:30]

Hi Alexei,
Outstanding shot of this beautiful Swallowtail with sharp details and lovely colours. Superb lighting and expsoure and you have captured a fabulous pose here. Great BG and POV and the DOF is precise. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

Hi Alex
Great shot of beautiful butterfly. I like contrast, dark buckground and light butterfly. Sharpness is very good. Exposure is almost perfcet. Great homogenous buckground. I like the composition with object on the right side and POV.
As always great note
Best wishes

Un tout beau spécimen intact et bien net.
Bonne journée.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-10-01 4:58]

Hello Alexei,
Wonderful composition showing the beautiful Scarce Swallowtail sharply against the dark background with the diagonal branches and the green leaves. Excellent focus and sharp details.
I appreciate your technical approach while I must confess that for macro photography I love the light compact cameras that you can carry with you anywhere and that are easy to operate. To me the artistic approach is more important and you're certainly showing your skills here as far as that is concerned too!
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-10-01 5:20]
  • [+]

Hello Alexei,
Beautiful capture of a springtime I. podalirius in a fine composition against a dark BG. this completely sharp and well exposed. I wonder what the distance was for this lens combination. The quality is amazing for ISO 800 and perhaps the tripod gave the slight extra sharpness.
Great shot and interesting exif.
TFS and best wishes, Ivan

Hi Alexei,
Beautiful shot of this scarce swallowtail. Perfect focus and very nice color clarity. Lovely composition.

Bueno Alex, con un traductor automático he leído todo lo que pones y la mayoría de cosas las entiendo. Aquí casi todos os expresais en Inglés y yo no se nada de ese idioma : --- )
Mi idioma materno es el Español, aunque hablo y escribo correctamente el Catalán y me defiendo en Francés.

Tu foto es preciosa , veo que estás introduciéndote en los insectos. Yo siempre hacía fotografías de plantas ( tengo archivos con más de 30.000 fotos de plantas ) pero hace pocos meses , al venir a TK empecé con los insectos y es un mundo fascinante; lo que pasa es que aún me falta mucho que aprender.

Espero que sigas presentándonos tan bellos especímenes y contándonos cosas de tu tierra ya que es muy interesante.

Un abrazo y hasta pronto Alexei : J. Ignasi

  • Great 
  • demeve Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 586 W: 12 N: 1682] (6165)
  • [2007-10-01 22:49]

Hello Alexei,
Such a beautiful butterfly needs a equally impressive
BG and you got it! Wonderful composition and great POV
my friend, lovely macro.. Well done


  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2007-10-02 1:17]

Hello Alexei,
Nice capture of this beautiful butterfly. I liked the light, colors, composition and details. TFS
Best wishes,

Hola Alexei,
Bonito ejemplar capturado, gran definíción con mucho detalle donde nos muestra muy bien, las formas, colores y dibujo de las alas, saludos
José Ramón

They are such wonderful creatures, “flying flowers” like our friend Scott says :) What a beautiful allegory isn't it? And it applies so well to this beauty! Contrarily to you, I had the chance to see many butterflies this summer, maybe because of the hot weather and long summer we had. We are in October and summer seems that it will never end... There are no many butterflies left though and the Juncos are back even if we still have 20-25 Degrees Celsius temperatures. Thanks for this nice, detailed and well composed picture!

  • Great 
  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2007-10-02 9:27]

Hi Alexei,

A beautiful and unusual looking butterfly. The colors and shape are wonderful. Not sure I understand all the technical stuff but I certainly can appreciate the picture.


  • Great 
  • sily Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 239 W: 6 N: 395] (1934)
  • [2007-10-02 15:40]

HI Alex!
Another real beauty and razor sharp,
the butterfly is in perfect focus, vivid colour and details, as always,well done and useful note!

  • Great 
  • mlines Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 556 W: 26 N: 668] (3116)
  • [2007-10-02 18:03]

Hi Alex, This is very clear and well coloured photograph. The specimen is superb and is well presented. Interesting notes attached on your lens. TFS. Murray.

Mr. Peter Stoeckle may be an expert; and, I believe he is.
However, you are not too far behind, at least in registering them ... your images.
I find that ALL of your work is very well organised.
You are also an OUTSTANDING teacher.
Am glad I met you.
Mario from COLD, COLD Canada. ( Winter is almost here.)

Salut Alexei
Ce macro est très bien réussi avec une très jolie présentation et de belles couleurs et un beau BG
Merci et a la prochaine...JP

bonjour alexei
je reviens juste a temps sur TNpour ce beau papillon,l'exposition est un peu trop forte je pense mais j'aime le POV et le BG est bien fait.
c'est encore une reussite.

Hi Alexei,
Well I must admit seeing as though I don't have all the fun lenses to experiment with that I don't understand alot of what you are talking about..as I am one who learns by doing. But I like the finished effect. This is a different angle then most on the butterfly and a nice one. I've never seen this particular one either a very beautiful shot with the minimal branches it is resting on. TFS and I'll keep learning from you!

  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2007-10-03 10:49]

Hola Alexei.- Muy bella la Foto. Exelente composicion. Agradables y finos detalles de las alas de esta Mariposa. Muy hermosos sus tonos de colores. Saludos Luis52.

wow!!! excelent macro photo.. wonderfull composition, color and deep sharpness!!

Superb capture Alexei, you've built up a lovely collection of images in your portfolio.
Well done...

  • Great 
  • hester Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1515 W: 18 N: 3165] (11638)
  • [2007-10-04 12:16]

Hi Alexei

I am always amazed by your dedication to learning and experimenting. You have caught a wonderful shot with your extreme combination of lenses. Wonderful note as well



Hi Alexei,
this one is beautiful, excellent sharpness and a wonderful arrangement, congrats, you catched a noble butterfly, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • izler Gold Star Critiquer [C: 1387 W: 3 N: 9] (44)
  • [2007-10-07 2:41]

selam my friend
i see wonderful close-up working again from your great portfolio
i like this beautiful scarce swallowtail and i was captured like this before as you know
composition, point of view, depth of field, dark background, lighting, colours, sharpness and details are great
thanks for sharing

  • Great 
  • ridvan Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 498 W: 0 N: 1136] (5205)
  • [2007-10-07 18:40]

selam nick, excellent shot and very good composition of this s.tail .nice pov with splendid colours.well presented pose
Well done my friend!
Regards ridvan

  • Great 
  • star74 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 211 W: 3 N: 598] (2474)
  • [2007-10-08 10:49]

Hello-Merhaba Alexei
Perfect clarity,
Colors and details are great

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-10-08 15:34]

Hola Alexei,
precioso trabajo,
la nitidez es total,
color e iluminación perfecta...
(gracias por tus consejos técnicos sobre mis fotos)
saludos amigo

  • Great 
  • ddg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 867 W: 24 N: 1008] (5507)
  • [2007-10-10 1:12]

Bonjour Alexei, the position of two branches with the butterfly inside is perfect as composition. Great harmonize with BG and dark part of the wings. Congratulations, Didier.

Privet Alexei,
I'm so sorry, for this late. This guy looks very aesthetic. You have done it very very well as everytime. You are my favourite and first number macro photograph artist. I will not critize your photo. It doesn't need any word to critize. You took it as well as possible. Congratulations and with my compliments.
Greetings from Turkey.

bonsoir alex
couleurs parfaites et bonne netteté,bravo et merci

  • Great 
  • Isu Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 313 W: 0 N: 21] (1663)
  • [2007-10-22 14:37]

Hola Alex, efectiva combinación perfecta de color y detalles. Saludos Sira

  • Great 
  • pvb Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 385 W: 16 N: 531] (1981)
  • [2007-10-23 10:38]

Hi Alexei,
Very nicely done. Very well focused and good sharpness. I am always having difficulty with white objects but you manage very well.
TFS Paula

What wonderful composition. The repetition of lines is perfect.
Great sharpness...just perfect!

And I understand about calming down.
My husband makes fun of me - I'm a little bit hyper. ha ha But like you, if I'm not full of energy, I'm just not me.

Absolute magic ! Everything just holds together in this - the composition, the subject, the colors, the focus and DoF... it's perfect. TFS.


  • Great 
  • mrcrow Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 422 W: 98 N: 194] (3008)
  • [2007-11-29 11:20]

i have come to the conclusion either the ukraine has some hidden tropical area or you shot this magnificent collection in a few short months...a mammoth task
i like this because it tells me again things dont happen by chance..the markings here arent random progressions on skillful animals escaping the predator to go on to generate more animals who 'perfect' the camouflage design in their genes purely by chance and the passage of time
this is the beauty of creation...creation itself..and the creator

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2007-12-30 12:04]

Thanks for this great great pic !! I wish a happy 2008 to you and your family,Luciano

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2009-05-24 5:48]

Hi Alex,
excellent composition. The BW is really outstanding. The shiny leaves look lovely and some more beauty to the astonishing shot of this butterfly.
The graphical effect is seen here very much.


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