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African Leopard - My 2nd Butterfly

African Leopard - My 2nd Butterfly
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: 2006-05-06
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 350D, Sigma 28-300mm f/3.5-6.3 HZ DG Macro, Digital ISO 100, UV 62mm Kenko
Exposure: f/13.0, 1/200 seconds
Details: Tripod: Yes (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Insects and Spiders of Southern Africa, Butterflies of the African continent., 70-79 Puntos (chapter 2), Beautiful Butterflies, Butterflies with minimum 50 points & above, Pretoria Zoo 1, A study in Entomology (insects) 1, Macromania [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2006-05-21 17:56
Viewed: 10331
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 74
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
African leopard - Phalanta phalantha aethiopica

The first butterfly I ever photographed Speckled Fire, I had to work for. I mean, I lost weight running after many butterflies without much success. This one, my second, literally fell in my lap when I least expected. There I was, visiting the Pretoria Zoo, to shoot all the scarce and interesting animals which I cannot see in the game park, and what do I get? Hundreds of beautiful butterflies.

My wife and I were visiting the African savanna waterhole where I wanted to photograph some eland, gemsbok, and sable antelope, but they were all lying at the far side of the ±1˝ hectare camp. We walked around the fence, hoping to be able to approach from the other side, only to find the walkway stopped and the bush took over. That was a small handicap for a determined photographer and no reason to stop me in my efforts. We simply proceeded in to the long grass and the black-jacks. True to animal behaviour once we came close they all disappeared. As one, they skedaddled to the other side of the camp where we just came from. I knew this was going to be a game of 'Catch me if you can' and I realised I will be on the loosing end.

Being an eager photographer whose fun had been spoilt, I obviously exercised my knowledge of foreign and exotic languages, but the antelope was not to be convinced and they remained uninterested in my predicament. However, my camera was switched on, the batteries charged, and the memory rather empty so I was not going to leave without something to show. That's when it happened. We suddenly became aware that, in our efforts to approach the antelope, we actually landed in an area that was riddled with beautiful wild flowers and we were surrounded by butterflies and bees fluttering about from flower to flower. So, obviously the camera started working overtime and this is the result of one of those photos. There I was, 700km away from home, running after stubborn animals in the Pretoria Zoo, and I got to shoot insects. How ironic?


Wingspan: 40-48mm. Medium sized, fast flying and agile butterflies. Restive and wary, they sit with wings constantly moving up and down. Both sexes are similar. Extremely similar to the forest leopard and very difficult to tell apart. Forewing marginal line unbroken by paler interneural spots, ground colour with richer orange hue. The male vigorously defends his territory. Both sexes attracted to flowers and wet mud.

Forest edges, flatlands, mountains, hillsides, parks and gardens.

Savanna and woodland from Eastern Cape to KwaZulu-Natal, Swaziland, Mpumalanga, Gauteng, Limpopo, and Northwest Province.

Flight period
In cooler areas, Oct-Apr; in warm areas, all year-round, peak late summer and autumn.

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

Post Processing was done with Adobe Photoshop Elements 2.0.

red45, valy67, eruyanik, livios, manyee, jeanpaul, scottevers7, jcoowanitwong, pauljk, coasties, elefantino, pablominto, phlr, soccer, Zeno, jchemas, SkyF, thor68, marhowie, Snoops, firelord, Luc, RII, aido, Dyker, saeedabbasi, Miss_Piggy, betsie, Rehanna has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To aido: Float like a butterflyloot 1 06-07 20:52
To peter_stoeckl: Complimenting critiqueloot 1 06-07 20:40
To thor68: Who needs lions & tigersloot 1 06-07 20:11
To manyee: Alertness is a virtueloot 1 05-22 23:33
To gerhardt: Workshoploot 1 05-22 07:08
To eruyanik: CGI?loot 2 05-21 19:43
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2006-05-21 18:22]
  • [2]

Wondefful shot of this butterfly ! I'm not as lucky as you, I'm still trying to get some photos of butterflies, without any successs ! :-) I love your note, it is funny and interesting. Photo is excellent. Sharpness, details, composition, POV and particularly colors are fantastic. These wide open winges are very nice. i agree with red45, the butterfly really seems to be floating over the BG, very nice effect. Very well done !

Oh! Wow! What should I say Loot! Perfect shot, but I think there are some cgi works on this:-)How this beautiful butterfly looks like floating and moving on this stable bg! So wonderful, I think this one should be the most beautiful macro I've ever seen! Really congratulations! Superb on this one!

  • Great 
  • gari Silver Star Critiquer/Silver Note Writer [C: 37 W: 0 N: 11] (149)
  • [2006-05-21 19:14]

Hola Loot.Excelente imagen.Destaco la sensacion de primer plano que le induce el fondo desenfocado,asi como el detalle,colorido y posicion de la mariposa.Gracias.Saludos.

Bonjour Loot
Félicitation pour cette trčs jolie prise de vue . C'est vraiment un beau papillon et les couleurs sont justes.Le fond vert fait bien ressortir les couleurs du papillon.
Félicitations pour la netteté et les détails.

Merci pour l'envoie et Bravo....JP

Hi Loot,
For your first butterfly you did extremely well. The frame filling composition looks great. The flash exposure has rendered beautiful saturated colors. Nice sharp detail. I got a good chuckle reading your note and thinking how you looked chasing him around.
Very well done my friend!

Hello Loot,
A perfect shot of this butterfly with wings fully spread. Love your note very much.

Hi Loot,
Very nice image. Love the composition and the slight detail left in the background, contrasts well with the sharpness of the butterfly. Great notes...glad I'm not the only one that gets frustrated chasing wildlife around.

Hi Loot

Ha, ha... great note. I wish I could loose weight chasing butterflies...

Congrats on a super shot. Lovely bright colour. The OOF BG in dark colours really enhances the shot. It has this amazing 3D effect..... brilliant work my friend. :-)

Hi Loot, great macro!
Colors and details are excellent!
BG is good.

Hello Loot,
Great colours and fine details!
I like this composition, with body in diagonal and insect filling most of the frame...
DOF spot on, and another job well done!
Pablo -


The composition, Lighting, DOF, BG and sharpness are extremely good on your Macro. Great work once again. TFS,

  • Great 
  • Zeno Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 483 W: 0 N: 1345] (10867)
  • [2006-05-22 5:25]

Hi Loot,

Not bad for a first butterfly.
The combination of orange and green is very subtile. I like the greenish background a lot. The orange of the butterfly lightens up a bit. Great effect!


  • Great 
  • phlr Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1237 W: 130 N: 882] (2821)
  • [2006-05-22 5:57]

Excellent Loot!
Excellent POV with wings wide open!
Very good DOF, details and colours!
Very good BG too!
5* and TFS!

Hi daar, Loot. Di eportfolio van jou groei net. Ek kan nie glo jy kom na Pte se Zoo toe en bly nie in die area waar jy woon nie. Ek sou.. :)

Anyway... Ek sal sept-okt bietjie daar in die noordelike parke kom 'n draai maak. Miskien 3 weke. Ek sal weer nader aan die tyd met jou skakel, sal graag wil ontmoet.

Very nice butterfly. The POV and OOF BG gives the impression that it is flying. I think the photo can be tad sharper and uploaded a WS in this regard. Please let me know what you think.

What a Great capture of this butterfly Loot.
Love the colors and details.
Good composition and perspective and for you first one, it does not look to bad.
I think you will become I good butterfly shooter beside been and monkey shooter. jajajaja.
Great to see you shooting butterfly now, I have to go and start myself looking for some this year.

  • Great 
  • SkyF Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2234 W: 188 N: 1912] (8073)
  • [2006-05-22 10:12]

Hello Loot,
very nice shot, you got the colors and exposure just right. Excellent POV and very well presented.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2006-05-22 10:40]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
Congratulations on your SECOND butterfly. It is gorgeous! Its markings does remind one of a leopard. Very sharp details and rich colors.
I like the diagonal and full-frame composition. A perfect POV with the wings in full display, and it does have an eerie 3D feel to it with the blurred BG. I also enjoyed your story very much. All in all, a magnificent post. TFS. : )

Hi Loot,
beautiful, thank you so much for this pretty sunny butterfly, I like it very much and it brings me into good mood, bye
Sabine - wishnugaruda

Another great job Loot!
A very soft background and the colors of the butterfly are stunning!

haha, love your story, but that´s how it
mostly is, expect the unexpected.
last time i was in the zoo, i came across
some nice fat bumble-bees - who needs lions and tigers? *g*
your butterfly is beautiful, loot, lucky you,
now you´re 2 in front and i still have none.
is it flying? it looks like it´s not sitting
on anything - such a nice blurred darkgreen bg.
so many great details and colors - i really
like the warm orange of the BF with the dark
dots and lines.
well done & take care, thor.

Hi Loot,
Well this image has a very nice DOF on it, the fiery orange wings of this butterfly sit perfectly on the nice soft green background. Keep those fantastic photos coming. :)

Hello Loot,
A well composed frame, with bright color and good detail..The BG is nicely blurred, and somewhat in shadow, offsetting your subject well..Excellent note.
Well done and Thank You!

wonderful colours and OOF background
Love the Note...lol
TFS mate :)

  • Great 
  • livios Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2150 W: 319 N: 4263] (16942)
  • [2006-05-23 11:15]

Loot, this is a very beautiful image.

I like colors and saturation a lot.

Did you use the blur tool on the bg?

Great pov and composition. I do enjoy sharpness too.

Hi Loot,
very good your second butterfly, seems that is flying: The macro and colors are good, the blurred BG works well.

  • Great 
  • pilonm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 588 W: 90 N: 975] (3321)
  • [2006-05-24 12:26]

Hello Loot,

Here is a wonderful picture of this butterfly! Look at the position of the wings! Are they always opened like that? Colours seems very natural and I like very much all that orange over a green blurry bg! When we look at it, it is like he was flying since we don't see where he is staying! Congratulations Loot! Very well done!


  • Great 
  • osse Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 955 W: 0 N: 89] (7805)
  • [2006-05-24 17:46]

Hi Loot
Great firt butterfly Look. Good colours, details, sharpnes and DOF. Also GOOD note.
Well done


  • Great 
  • red45 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2636 W: 74 N: 9091] (31094)
  • [2006-05-28 4:31]

Hello Loot!
Love your note, very funny and interesting adventures of photographer :-) I know what are you talking about - this is what I've got almost every day during photohunting. Congratulations - your first butterfly looks very good. Sharp, detailed, with good colours and wide opened wings. It looks like floating over blurred BG. Really great work.

  • Great 
  • RII Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 481 W: 0 N: 895] (2862)
  • [2006-05-28 22:28]

Hi Loot.

This butterfly is similary in frontal color and form to american agraulis vanillae, your photo is wonderful, I like the saturated color ,ligth and orange tones, very nice details and contrast, great composition and point of view, is beauty the 3d effect and sensation of floating, is a good photo , a great butterfly postal.


  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2006-05-29 6:31]
  • [+]

Hi Loot,
What a beautiful Butterfly! I never see anything like this in England, I can't say they don't exist here as I don't really know. Beautiful warm colours, absolutely fantastic. A very soft and warm feel to this shot, and agreed with the others, as the plant it sits on cannot be seen it really looks to be floating. Nicely framed and perfect buttery-smooth background, great work!

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2006-06-02 16:33]

Hello again,
One of the most beatiful butterfly I ever saw! Technically outstanding!!
TFS. José M.

Hello Loot,
my congratulations for happily capturing that shy and very agile butterfly!
Beautiful shining colours, perfect composition, well focussed - some slightly blurred areas on body and wings are very likely to have been caused by the butterfly's constant hectic movements - so your shot is an excellent document of that species.
Perfect and well told notes, as always from you!
With thanks, and best regards,

Nice shot.
I like very much how you isolated the subject with the perpendicular POV. Great colours, good use of flash and great composition too. A good one. TFS.


Hierdie is 'n baie mooi skoenlapper en 'n fantastiese foto. Die fokus en komposisie is baie goed. Well done.


Dear Loot ,
it has wonderful colors and excellent compo.
great sharpness and nice light.
a perfect capture and great beauty.
best wishes

Hallo Loot
This is such a pretty photograph with the lovely brightly coloured butterfly. The colours and patterns are just wonderful. A lovely sunny and bright summer scene. I like the slightly shine it has on its wings. You caught this African Leopard in a wonderful aerial position and the details are excellent seen this way. It is a lovely specimen pictured from a great angle. Great clarity and sharpness. Thanks for sharing.

Hi Loot
Ervaring baie duidelik sigbaar in hierdi foto.

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