Lens on Lake Minnetonka: Photographer Captures Butterfly’s ‘Near Perfect’ Symmetry

by | Oct 2019

A swallowtail butterfly rests on a garden phlox in this Lens on Lake Minnetonka winning photograph.

Photo: Al Whitaker

Al Whitaker tells us about “Swallowtail on Garden Phlox,” which received third place in the Wildlife & Nature category of our 2018 Lens on Lake Minnetonka photo contest.

Each month, we feature one of the winning photos from our 2018 Lens on Lake Minnetonka photo contest. This month, we asked photographer Al Whitaker to tell us about “Swallowtail on Garden Phlox,” which received third place in our Wildlife & Nature category.

When and where did you take the photo?
The photo was taken one August afternoon while in my Shorewood patio garden.

What kind of camera did you use?
The camera used was an Olympus OM-D E-M1 mirrorless camera. The lens used was a Zuiko 40-150mm 2.8 pro, set at 150mm with the aperture set atf7.1. The exposure was 1/200th of a second.

What’s your favorite thing about the image?
I was particularly attracted to the near perfect symmetry of the coloring and markings of the butterfly. All too often the wings of the swallowtail get a little nicked up; however, in this case they were in perfect condition. Also, the purple coloring of the garden phlox and the yellow-colored swallowtail wings are traditional complementary colors, making the overall scene very dynamic and pleasing to the eye. I just had to wait for that right moment when the butterfly fully opened its wings.

What’s your photography background?
Photography has been an off-and-on hobby of mine since the early 1970s…What I find most satisfying about photography is the fact that every time I pick up the camera and go out, I see and learn something new.


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