Hidden cameras have given us stunning footage of wildlife that we never would have seen otherwise. PBS has employed a pretty interesting one in the mountains of Mexico. It’s a tiny spy hummingbird that has infiltrated into the heart of a huge monarch butterfly swarm. It has filmed the incredible spectacle from up close, and it’s definitely not something you see every day.
There’s a common belief that our loved ones sometimes visit us as butterflies after they pass away. When she photographed a wedding a few weeks ago, Jessica Manns captured the moments when butterflies were released to honor the groom’s late sister. However, instead of flying off, they stayed around during the entire ceremony. Jessica captured the scenes so moving that I doubt it will leave you without tears in your eyes.
Scrim jims, butterflies, overheads, 4×4 frames, whatever you want to call them, are a staple on most film sets – and for good reason. They can be used to turn almost any light into a large soft light source; they can be used to even out the light during outdoor shoots; and you can use them, with a dark fabric, as large flags. They’re versatile, they’re sturdy, they’re portable, and by building them ourselves, they’re certainly worth having one or two in your kit. Matthews and Westcott, among others, make these that you can pick up for $150 – 200, but today we’re going to make our own for around $80.
Every year, on the cusp of true, Rocky Mountain summer, I travel to the high country to photograph butterflies. For a brief couple of weeks, during the height of the alpine meadow bloom, when lupine and mallows turn acres of open space to blue and pink, Montana’s butterflies make the most of their short season.
This year, I test drove Nikon’s flagship dx camera, the D500. I ran it with Nikon’s 300mm f4 PF VR and the TC-14E III, giving me a whopping 630mm of reach, hoping to bring these colorful insects up close and personal and preserve more depth of field than when shooting with my 200mm Micro Nikkor, my usually choice for butterflies.