A couple weeks ago I had a brief opportunity to photograph a monarch butterfly. Not an unusual incident in the least but I did something I don’t often do when photographing butterflies, or anything for that matter. I used back lighting to give it a bit of a different look and feel.
Normally I prefer front light hitting the subject. This type of light gives the subject the most color and vibrancy as well as detail. Sometimes, however, I take my normal preferences and toss them out the window and try something different, at least for my style of photography.
Looking closely at the left side of the image one can see the light shining through the top of the monarch butterfly wings. I am well pleased with how well this image turned out. I am not usually fond with many of the back lighting images I see. There is usually too much distortion from too much sun coming from directly behind the image for my personal taste. I prefer detail and color which can only come from front lighting but a soft type of back lighting, as what this image offers, gives a bit of a different feel to the image without too much light distortion. Front lighting on this particular image would have added more color to the monarch butterfly but it could also have put too much light on the light colored flower and quite possibly washed it out.
The more and more I look at this image I do think the back lighting works well with it. It still gives the image a soft, smooth background and softly highlights parts of the flower and the butterflies wings. I guess even this old dog can break old habits and learn something new, or at least try something not commonly done with my style of photography that is. I will use this as motivation to try more images with back lighting when the opportunity presents itself as it did in this case.