One of my favorite places on earth is the Monarch Butterfly Reserve area in Mexico, northwest of Mexico City, where millions of monarch buterflies fly south and spend the winter before flying back north in the spring.  It is just amazing to see.  They should be down there now, and I hope they are well.  I have photographed them a few times and hope to do so again soon.  Here is an image that gives some feel for what it is like.


Canon 1Ds, 16mm lens. Aperture Priority.   f/20 @ 1/40 second.  ISO 200.  -1EV.

I wanted to shoot the image as a wide-angle environmental portrait.  So at 16mm, I got maybe 6 inches away from the Monarch to make him prominent, and framed the background to tell the overall story of the place. That is the beauty of an environmental portrait.

In hindsight, I am not sure what I was thinking with the f/20 aperture.  I probably just wanted to slow the shutter speed down a bit to put some motion into the wings of the background butterflies.  If so, I congratulate me, because I like that.  I underexposed one stop to get a proper exposure because the background trees were in shadows, and I only wanted the sunlit butterflies in the foreground to determine the exposure.