June 2011 - An Experiment with Live View

I have had my Canon EOS 50D now for about 6 months and there are still features I am getting to grips with. One feature I hadn't used at all is Live View - the ability to compose and view the image using the LCD screen on the back of the camera before you take the photo (just like a compact camera). To be honest, it wasn't a feature I could get excited about and certainly wasn't a deciding factor in buying the 50D.


That was until the end of a very damp, and largely unproductive evening at Castor Hanglands, near Peterborough. Most of my evening had been spent dodging very heavy rainstorms. As I was making one last circuit of my favourite area of the reserve, I came across a Five Spotted Burnet Moth sitting motionless in the long grasses. As I set up my tripod and camera it was clear that my ususal close up approach wasn't going to work. I often use an angle viewfinder but this wasn't suitable for this moth - in fact it was at quite a workable height, and the normal viewfinder was at the right angle. The problem was that it was getting dark, making it very difficult to manually focus.


Then I thought of live view - being able to see the image on the LCD screen made life a lot easier. I could move the focus point to anywhere in the image and use manual focus in the dimming light. Even better, I could sit comfortably taking images. I was converted!


Five Spotted Burnet Moths

Spotted Burnet Moths are day time flying moths, making them easier to photograph than some other moths. They contain cyanide, and have bright colours to warn predators that they are toxic. I particularly like their irredescent green black wings and the bright red spots, easily visible as they rest. The Five Spotted Burnet Moth is characterised by five red spots, whilst the similar Six Spotted Burnet Moth has an additional red spot.


This particular specimen sat motionless allowing me to move my camera and create a number of different compositions.

Five Spotted Burnet Moth Five Spotted Burnet Moth




  Five Spotted Burnet Moth

After a while the moth moved along the grass it was sitting on, providing another nice composition. 

Five Spotted Burnet Moth Five Spotted Burnet Moth
























For more Five Spotted Burnet Moth images please click here


Footnote on Live View - Live View drains your battery a lot quicker than using the viewfinder normally so make sure you have a spare with you. My camera manual also warns that excessive use may result in degraded image quality - please consult your own manual before using it. Having said this, used properly I think I have found a bonus feature on my 50D that I have never thought of using before!