Worldwide, there are nearly 20,000 species of butterflies and about 2,000 of those can be found in Malaysia. Some weeks ago, I packed up my camera gear and headed to Kuala Lumpur Butterfly Park, a butterfly zoo inside Perdana Botanical Garden.
I was particularly interested in butterflies because they're colourful and not too skittish. It was my first time shooting 'real' macros, so I needed insects that would be easy to capture and wouldn't fly away while I was finding my way around the camera settings. Surprisingly, under the baking Malaysian sun, I managed to capture some pictures that, to me at least, turned out quite well.
I started shooting with a tripod and ended up going handheld because I had to move fast and having to readjust the legs cost me some good pictures. All pictures were shot with FE 90mm F2.8 Macro G, Godox v860iii and a diffuser.
Did I say butterflies are not too skittish? Well, I was half right (I am a half-full kind of guy). Many flew away as soon as the camera lens got close. Some, however, seemed unperturbed. They remained still, almost as if they were posing for the camera.
Butterflies primarily feed on nectar, reaching into it with a tube-like tongue known as a proboscis. The conservators at the park thoughtfully serve a variety of fruits and flowers on a tray as an additional food source. While I didn't manage to capture any butterflies feeding on nectar from live flowers, I got some feasting on these served fruits. Intriguingly, I noticed that the butterflies feeding on nectar from live flowers were noticeably more skittish than those enjoying the fruits.
End of Life
In the first year of my secondary education, I was introduced to "MR NIGER D", a mnemonic for the characteristics of living things. The "D" stands for death. From an evolutionary perspective, death is necessary for the adaptation of species. As older generations die off, newer ones come into being with potentially beneficial genetic variations.
I found some butterflies that had reached the end of their lives, ultimately paying the price for the continual adaptation and survival of their species.
As with most ecological habitats, KL Butterly Park has more than just butterflies. The butterflies have some neighbours like dragonflies and grasshoppers.
Overall I had fun shooting these beautiful insects. I learnt a lot about macro photography and my camera equipment. For example, camera flashes like the Godox v860iii I used cannot keep up with the burst mode of the camera. So I ended up with some very under-exposed images.
I am looking forward to my next macro photo session!