This morning I was at Central Winds Park, my favorite birding local birding location in the fall, and a Tiger Swallowtail landed right in front of me. In fact, I had to back up in order to get these shots. In the background were cypress trees and bare sky, and these three shots were taken with me standing in slightly different places.
I think you can see the difference it makes where you stand. The first image below was the shot I took right when the butterfly landed. I wanted to get the shot before I re-positioned myself, but I don’t really care for this shot at all. The sky in the background is making me alter my exposure, and I still have bright spots that compete with the subject for attention.
So I started moving around to see if I could find an angle on the butterfly that would be only distant trees. The second image below was the result I was able to achieve if I moved to the left–a little better, but still the background is pretty bright and now the right wing is a little blurry. So I moved to the right and found my spot.
The cypress trees in the background are far enough away to be blurred, and they also give me a smooth and relatively evenly-lit background that doesn’t compete with my subject. I only had to move a couple feet, but the difference is substantial.
Wildlife does not always cooperate with me long enough to compose my shot like this, but when it does, I’m very thankful.