Swallowtails (Three Photographs) and some Final Words on Sharp Photographs
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These are the largest butterflies where I live, 83-113mm (3.2-4.4 inches). When feeding they have a tendency to move their wings very rapidly. From experience, getting close to them depends on how hungry they are. In an urban environment they may linger in a garden, but in a forest they have a lot of choice and will only infrequently stay put when they see humans. They usually fly quite high and fast. I came across this butterfly when I was carrying a long lens, which allowed me to stand back. 1/1250th of second shutter speed allowed me to stop motion and get these poses before it flew off.
Part VII: Final words on sharp photos
Not everything needs to be sharp and I am speaking about more than just the background. Sometimes soft-focus works in portraits and in nature.
Flash photography involves fast spurts of light that can stop motion and help get sharp photos; insect photography is a good example.
Getting subjects tack sharp is one element of photography, not an end in itself.