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Learning from Howard

Learning from Howard
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: 2010-08-22
Categories: Insects
Camera: Nikon D700, AF-S Nikkor 70-200mm f/2.8G ED VR II, Kenko AF 1.4x Pro DG, Hoya PRO1 DMC UV(0) 77 mm
Exposure: f/10.0, 1/1600 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): Karatash's other favorite -I-, Butterflies in flight, CeltickRanger's favorite photos 2 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2010-08-29 20:42
Viewed: 5787
Favorites: 9 [view]
Points: 126
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I have been bewitched by Howard's (Howard Cheek (marhowie)) magnificent in flight pictures always. See for example his last outstanding shots of butterflies in flight: Almos There… and Colors Rising.

This summer there are many butterflies in our places. (It seems to me only insects prefer so hot weather.) That is why I have decided to learn a technique of this kind of shooting. Many hundreds attempts and I have few good enough shots.

All summer I worked hard on my research projects in a small countryside house without almost any communications with outside and only wild creatures surrounded me and my camera fixed some pages from their life. May be I will have some time to share few of them with you, my dear friends.

I hope this is Berger's Clouded Yellow Colias alfacariensis.

Miss_Piggy, Argus, Heaven, maurydv, cloud, livius, haraprasan, marhowie, ramthakur, MMM, anemone, goldyrs, uleko, boreocypriensis, CatherineD, siggi, Amelia, rousettus, glazzaro, eqshannon, Noisette, KOMSIS, marius-secan, flashpoint, CeltickRanger, oscarromulus, cataclysta, anel, meyerd, Luis52, Tamrock, tuslaw, Dis. Ac., peter_stoeckl, Adanac, Hormon_Manyer, kapildk, Emi_1987 has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To devildoc: Thanks a lot.Alex99 1 07-31 10:01
To Argus: Cooler weather,Alex99 1 08-29 21:58
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Critiques [Translate]

Dear Alexei
Bravo for the end result you achieved here. What a beautiful macro, filled with lovely "Spring is in the air" colours as well as "Spring is in the air" atmosphere. Yes, Howard is indeed a great photographer and I think we can all learn from him a technique or two, but even before I fancied your style of work and could not find fault. The image is indeed very pretty and has an attraction to the eye that cannot be missed. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

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  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2010-08-29 21:51]
  • [+]

Hello Alexei,
Congratulations on acheiving this superb sharp in-flight! The colours, BG and composition with the flower are faultless.
I think you are right in the ID, this is a female C. alfacariensis.
As all species in the Colias genus never open their wings when they settle, it has always been my ambition to take an in-flight with the wings in the open position, which I have done, but never with the sharpness that you have in this shot, even though the wings happen to be closed here.
Thanks and my best regards to you. I trust the weather is cooler now in your country!

Beautifully done. This shot is amazing. I love the sharpness that you managed to capture in this moving subject. DOF is perfect to maintain sharpness and detail throughout the butterfly and flower, while providing a nice blurred background. Wonderful shot. Thanks for sharing.

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  • Heaven Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 996 W: 123 N: 2341] (7912)
  • [2010-08-29 23:09]

Dear Alex!

You are a great and beholden "student"! One would not believe this is one of your first tries! This summer I have tried to take pictures of flying birds... I won't be able to present one here... It's so difficult. In your picture, the flower and the butterfly form a superb couple and the great clarity and sharpness add to the value of the picture.

Kind regards


Hallo Alexei,
a great dedication and thankfulness to our friend Howard; a fantastic capture of the Berger's Clouded Yellow in-flight, outstanding sharpness and marvellous colours, excellent POV, DOF and BG, the composition is simply wonderful.
best regards

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  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2010-08-30 0:48]

Privet Alexei,
I see very successful shot. It look very interesting but the same time unnaturally because we don't see with eyes such situation. It's new experience and attractive.
Regards, Pawel

Ciao Alexei, amazing capture of inflight Colias, fantastic macro, fine details, lovely blurry BG, splendid sharpness, wonderful light and beautiful natural colors, excellent sharpness, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Stunning shot. The BG is simply amazing and allows the sharp clear details of the butterfly and flower stand out magnificently :)

Hello Alex
oggi ci regali uno scatto davvero eccezionale. Non è facile congelare una simile scena ed allo stesso tempo mantenere un'ottima definizione in quanto il soggetto in volo, come la piccola Colias, spesso distrae la messa a fuoco dal soggetto secondario. Nitidezza e colori al top per un'immagine di altissimo livello.

Hi Alexei,
A very nice attempt to capture this Clouded Yellow in flight. It is not an easy thing to capture a butterfly inflight. But you have succeeded very well here. Just superb capture. Thanks lot for sharing.

Hi Alexei,incredible nice picture.Congratulation.TFS

Hello Alexei,

a very good shot and you have it been captured it very well.
Grat pov, dof , sharpness with both the flower and butterfly framed in the picture.
Fine colours.
Well, first class shot.


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  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2010-08-30 4:20]

Hello Alexei,
This is for me the best photo since a long time.

Very nice Alexei, and who's your teacher?
It could not be mere mortal man, no..
I think it's the "man" upstairs, because your capture is inspirational.
The settings optimized, the results sublime.
It's like that text I added from Emerson on the hummer that was pulled from TN.
"Adopt the pace of nature, her secret is patience"
One needs a lot of patience for this kind of work. Then persistence, skill, and just a bit of luck does the rest :)
Very well done!

An outstanding coloured macro shot with razor details and perfect sharp. Impressive efficent flying capture. Very well done dear Alexei.


You have taken a leaf from Howard's book with tremendous success, Alexei. This butterfly captured in mid-flight in as good as stationary. This is the last word in nature photography, in my opinion.
Congratulations on capturing such a stunningly sharp and beautiful picture.
Best regards.

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  • MMM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1114 W: 0 N: 2546] (11425)
  • [2010-08-30 5:40]

Hello Alexei
This is an outstanding in flight capture.Beautiful composition and razor sharp image with excellent detail.Colors are beautiful I also like that nice OOF BG
TFS Michel

Hi Alexei.
Super catch a flying butterfly. Beautiful colors, details and composition. congratulations
TFS. Kind regards,

great capture, TFS Ori

This is a fantastic shot!
Very Difficult and executed to perfection, nothing to criticize, just a great job!
Ciao, Melania.

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  • nagraj Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1618 W: 106 N: 3208] (15166)
  • [2010-08-30 6:20]

Great timing for this wonderful image of beautiful butterfly approaching the flower, good composition and colors. tfs.

Alexei, my friend,
You're right, Howard's shots are stunning, perhaps the best.
But this is a shot even Howard will love.
Very well done!

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  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2010-08-30 7:39]

Hello Alexei,
What a fabulous in-flight capture of this pretty Cloude Yellow! Fantastic sharp focus on both the butterfly and the flower showing super sharp details and wonderful colours. How do you do it??? Brilliant work!
Many thanks and all the best wishes, Ulla

hello Alexei
this is a first class picture with great sharpness and good details
the colours and light are beautyful
greeting lou

wowww.. Alexie! this is absolutely the winner of the day MF!
A superb in-flight capture of a b-fly which i saw till now!
Very nice placement of the subjects, with good use of DOF too.
Congrats MF!
TFS and have a nice week!
TC and cheers,


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  • Ena Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 324 W: 61 N: 594] (2454)
  • [2010-08-30 8:53]

Hello Alex,
Amazing shot!
We should all start learning from Howard!

Hello Alexei,
Fantastic capture and impressive timing. The sharpness and the colours are magic. Congratulations,

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  • siggi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3097 W: 109 N: 12399] (52850)
  • [2010-08-30 12:39]

Hello Alexei.
This shot has lovely colour tones. Very good in flight capture with excellent detail of the Colias in approach the flower. Well done on this excellent shot.Best regards Siggi

In the past, I have always used the excuse that my butterfly photos were of poor quality because they were always flitting around too quickly. After seeing something like this, that excuse is no longer valid!

Such a pretty photo, perfect focus and a beautifully uncluttered BG that complements the photo so well.

Thank you for sharing this with us Alexei.

Greetings, Amelia

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  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2010-08-30 15:18]

HI Alex...impossible to comment an incredible and professional work like that...this is a page of the book of the best pics of the TN history...i hope one day to be able to make a pic like that....right on my predered! Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano.

Hi, Alexei,
Excellent composition. The butterfly seems suspended in air. Art and nature are often the same. Congratulations.
Salutacions cordials,

my dear friend Alexei
congratulations on such a excellent and first class work. I am always pleasured to see your posts in master quality.
This is one othem again. amazing work, with perfect sharpness and light using. exposure, coloration and timing exciting.
awesome work indeed. This is great dedication to another master photographer, Howard.
thanks for sharing this beauty. have a good night

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  • jaycee Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2454 W: 10 N: 8044] (25460)
  • [2010-08-30 16:23]

Hi Alexei,

Wow - I would have expected this to be one of Howard's marvelous shot. What a fantastic job you did. This in-flight butterfly is just perfect. You even captured the butterfly in a wonderful position showing off both sides of the wings. Excellent focus of both subjects, excellent details, and magnificent colors. The background and composition are both marvelous.


  • jignasi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2118 W: 0 N: 3424] (27917)
  • [2010-08-31 6:17]

Nos dejas con la boca abierta Alexei !
Como en otras ocasiones, tus trabajos marcan diferencias por su originalidad y buen hacer como en este caso.

Un abrazo: Josep Ignasi.

Brilliant capture, nice work Sir.


Howard is a "killer" photographer Alexei and this does indeed show a bit of his style. I thank you for your words of welcome back.

Hello Alex
it's one of the most beautiful image i have ever seen, it's like a dream, colors sharpness, composition are absolutely superbe,
this butterfly looks like hanging in the air,
thanks a lot for sharing and have a good night

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  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2010-09-01 2:31]

Hi Alexei,
Perfect timing ...
Excellent shot with amazing sharpness and stunning colors.
Best wishes,

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  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2010-09-01 5:15]

Hi Alexei

Nice to see you here again old friend! I hope you all doing very well.
This does indeed remind me of Howard's photos and has the same impeccable quality to it.
Your timing here was fantastic and gave you a perfect angle for both the wings and the butterfly's face and long toungue - getting ready to taste some juicy nectar.
Very well controlled in terms of depth and overall exposure, too, this photo is indeed a true masterpiece of yours. My hat is definitely off to you!


Hello Alexei,
Fantastic shot! Oustanding details and clarity and amazing moment.
Great capture with perfect focus and very good sharpness.
Lovely composition! Congratulation!

ciao Alexei!
learning theory of flight ended..
splendid performance in flight capture of Colias
Howard certainly happy for the result .. congratulations excellent shot sERGIO

Hello Alex
Congratulations. Wery good picture.

Hello Alexei,
Great moment taken with nice colours, fine details, excellent sharpness POV and BG. Well done!

hello Alexei

great close-up photo of this butterfly in-flight, i have to tell
youi that i loved more like this a little bit small and with him
in the image his environment than bigger and closer,
the foreground and the butterfly in-flight are superbly
focused with great sharpness and details, very beautiful
luminosity and colour tones, TFS

P.S. merci beaucoup for your kind words on my last photo

Dear Alexei,
Have always said that you are a DEDICATED TN contributer.
Congratulations on this one.
Most unfortunately here in Calgary we have a limited supply of insects moreover BUTTERFLIES.
Of course this MACRO is simply put OUTSTANDING. Am intrigued the subject is flying towards an almost dead flower.
Best regards from Canada.

Hi Alex
Beautiful. Perfect shot. Fantastic frozen butterfly. Perfect exposure, perfect sharpness, great natural colors Nothing to critique ;-)

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  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2010-09-05 2:31]

Hello Alexei,
How cute and fine this shot, good idea to try to follow Howard's example!
Perfect in all senses, light, natural colors and perfect too the pose of the butterfly. Sharpness all over insect and plant. A great achievement indeed. Bravo again!
kind regards

Hy Alexei
PERFECT!!!!Excellent timing, light, sharpness,bg!
My kind regards

Excellent in flight shot! It is difficult to take such clear pictures of flying butterflies, but you have done it perfectly. Beautiful colours, dof and composition too. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Alexei,
that's the spirit! Larning from Howard, hat 's what I thought just today for myself. How does he do the flying Dragonflies, Butterflies and Hummingbirds? And now I found a new source of inspiration, Alexei from Odessa! Still, all is not explained. Let me guess: you used tripod and flash, you waited, you had to throw out a lot of useless shots? Whatever, the result is stunning, my Compliments!
best regards

Another beauty from you , hoe did i miss this yesterday :-) amazing shot and everything is perfect about this , lovely once again

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  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2010-09-16 10:14]

Hola My dear friend Alexei.
Everything here here is just perfect.
I still have a lot to learn fron You, and from so many excellent and great photographeres here in TN.
TFS Alexei.

hello alexei!
A great situation!
very beautiful!

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  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2010-09-17 20:54]

Awesome shot Alexei,
I too have been inspired by Howards images, but unlike you haven't had much luck yet. I see you managed to capture a real beauty this time!!! Great stop action with incredible detail. Super job!!

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  • mamcg Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 333 W: 13 N: 91] (9843)
  • [2010-09-21 20:05]

Hi Alexei,
Beside the shot I look to the equipment, that is my intrest and the missing thing is the teleconverter, I'll test this it is an experiment for me too.
Well timing nice froozen shot, well done, TFS.


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  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2010-09-24 5:17]

Hi Alex,
this is really a splendid one. Very classical and very well manifested skills in this presentation.
Wow factor is purely seen in great ectasy of a beauty.
well done and congratulations for such a wonder to be shared.


Dear Alexei,
learning from great master Howard - yeah! And what an excellent result! Increadibly sharp details, wonderful capture of that pose of approach with proboscis in the process of unrolling. Thank you!
With all my best wishes to you,

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  • Adanac Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1273 W: 1 N: 6188] (21378)
  • [2010-10-12 7:50]

Hello Alexei,
Your images have always amazed me Alexei, you are truly a cut above most photographers.
Thank you for sharing this piece of perfection.

Privet Alexei,

This is simply fantastic. Composition-, color- and sharpness-wise also, while timing / settings were excellent. A brilliant masterpiece indeed. Bravo.

Howard is a great teacher without doubt. But you're as good pupil as good teacher he is. :) No doubt, from now you're also a teacher. :)

Tfs, friendly regards, Vladyslav

Hi Alexei,

Some of the pictures just happen to be milestone in photography, this is certainly one of them. You have actually frozen a great moment in your picture. No words are enough to praise this catch, I don't know how I missed it when you posted this.

Heartiest congratulations for this.


Hello Alexei,

For every image with an approaching butterfly there are hundred where it has already landed..!
A wise choice, difficult but impressive when succeeding, like here...
No more to say but impressive!

Pablo -

Hi Alex,

Outstanding camera work here!
The POV, sharpness & composition are superb. The next two post of 'insect paradise' & 'flying blue' are also excellent.
I'll definetly try to capture such pics.
Thanks a lot for sharing.


Dear Alexei,

As if you need another "critique" on this photo ...! She is coming in with "landing gear" preparing for landing and proboscis (almost)at the ready. Hard to believe you took that "macro" with a 70-200mm ... outstanding. Did you use any external lighting? The only way it could have been better is for the "landing gear" to have been extended out in reaching for the flower. A friend told me he only keeps about 4 out of every hundred pictures he takes ... mostly of landscape and larger wildlife. They are much easier than arthropods! Congrats. TFS Have a wonderful summer.


Wooooow now that's what I call a difficult photo, especially with these butterfly's moving fast, very beautiful. Job Well done!
Regards Hedesan

Dear Alexei,there is nothing that I can add except my sincere congratulations.Just beautiful.

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