Autofocus on good cameras work well, but not well enough to focus on a monarch in flight! So what do you do when they are moving through your frame so fast you can barely even see them?

I just pick a manual focus point and fire away, either in long bursts or looking through the viewfinder and clicking away when one flies in and looks reasonably sharp. I use a high ISO to get both a fast shutter speed and more depth of field.

I shot hundreds of images to just get a few that “work”, but one is all you need, right? (And no, I have no desire to clone in what I want in Photoshop – I want to get it in the camera). This image was shot with a wide angle lens with the monarchs probably between 3 and 10 feet away and moving quickly past me.

Monarch Butterflies in Flight

Monarch butterflies in flight against blue sky and clouds, El Rosario, Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Canon 1Dx. 35mm. ISO 3200 f/16 @ 1/800 second. EV + 1 ⅔.