Tag Archives: butterfly

“Purple Pillar”

“Purple Pillar”

“The possession of knowledge does not kill the sense of wonder and mystery. There is always more mystery.” 
― Anaïs Nin

An unknown butterfly on an unknown flower. It really bothers me not to be able to identify the subject matter of my photos, but I can’t figure out what either is. The purple flowers grow in a small cluster in a single location. I’m wondering if it’s an escapee from somebody’s garden. Standing over a meter tall this plant has six leaves coming from a central node and beautiful stalks of purple flowers. It may be Culver’s Root, but it seems out of place.

The butterfly may be a skipper, but I don’t recognise it from below.

It was, however, a brief opportunity to get a photo of the butterfly feeding on the flower, quickly composed and shot before the butterfly took off and the moment was gone, leaving me with a mystery to solve.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/80 sec, f/16.0 ISO 200

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“Skipper”

“Skipper”

“Dream high, beyond the sky; no matter wings so small, keep vision bright; just dare to learn, for you are born to fly.” 
― Vikrmn

I don’t get tired of these plentiful, colourful butterflies. When trying to figure out the exact species, which I was unable to do, I discovered that there are over 250 species in North America alone and close to 3500 worldwide, each slightly different from the other.

This one posed patiently for me, as I made this single image, before it darted off to its next resting spot. The name ‘skipper’ is so appropriate for this small, brightly coloured wonders.

I’m also enjoying looking at them closely with macro photography and seeing the structure of the antennae and the wooly jacket of its abdomen and thorax, such complexity in something so small. It’s a real wonder to behold, each and every time.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/9.0 ISO 800

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“Air Traffic”

"Air Traffic"

“He imagines a necessary joy in things that must fly to eat.”
― Wendell Berry

A final look at this fleabane plant and accompanying wildlife. The Crescent butterfly, now satisfied, flies off to its next destination, while a small bee arrives to repeat the cycle.

I like the movement in this image. It nicely illustrates the activity that goes on, even around a single plant, all day long. Each visitor, in its turn, partaking of what the plant has to offer; in return, the plant sends its pollen along to neighbouring plants, a hitchhiker tagging along with the hungry visitors, anther cycle. It’s quite a thing to watch, and much of it is missed, since the smaller flies and bees are so small and fast, that they are merely blurs to the naked eye, frozen here, to enjoy and wonder at.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500sec, f/7.1 ISO 400

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“Crescent Posing on Fleabane”

“Crescent Posing on Fleabane”

“Silence

It has a sound, a fullness.
It’s heavy with sigh of tree,
and space between breaths.
It’s ripe with pause between birdsong
and crash of surf.
It’s golden they say.
But no one tells us it’s addictive.”
― Angela Long

I’m revisiting a Crescent which posed on a clump of Fleabane. My previous post had the butterfly drinking nectar from the flower, with an accompanying bee. In this image, the butterfly simply sits, its wings spread wide, warming in the sunshine. The image also serves to illustrate that even slight changes in a composition can change the whole feel of the image.

While the prior post was filled with activity, this one is quite serene and just pretty to look at. It brings a sense of calm with the pink flowers and the soft green background. Plus, there seems to be something about butterflies at rest that invokes that same restfulness in the observer.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500sec, f/7.1 ISO 400

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“Orange Skipper on Dogwood Leaf”

“Orange Skipper on Dogwood”

“You lift your head, you’re on your way, but really just to be walking, to be out of doors. That’s it, that’s all, and you’re there. Outdoors is our element: the exact sensation of living there.”
― Frédéric Gros

By far the most common of local meadow butterflies are skippers. Once you spot one, you suddenly see dozens. The name skipper is so appropriate too, as they move quickly from flower to flower. They do sit still long enough to snap a photo or two, then they are on the move again.

Like I said, once you see one it seems the meadow is filled with them. If I stand and carefully observe, there are time where a single plant may have two or three on it at any given time. I’m not sure of the precise species and have not done an exhaustive study of them. They have become a fallback when the dragonflies are too active.

As in previous shots, this is my first foray into outdoor macro photography of insects and I have to say it’s a lot of fun, yet has its own challenges. When I photograph butterflies with my 70-300 zoom, I don’t have to be overly close and depth of field is not such an issue. With the macro, I have to move close and hopefully, not disturb by subject. I’m sure other insect photographers are smiling at this point. It’s not as easy as it seems, but I’m learning and loving every minute of it, especially when processing the images and noticing all the fine details.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/400 sec, f/11 ISO 400

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“Perching Blue”

“Perching Blue”

“There are 365 days in a year and you will meet all the colours of life throughout the year: The blue, the black, the pink… Only blue is not a life, only pink is not a life, only black is not a life! Life is all the colours!”
― Mehmet Murat ildan

The outdoors is filled with unexpected gifts. As I set out to photograph the Lady Slipper Orchids last Saturday, that was my only goal. I had no intention of stopping on the way in, nor on my way out of the forest where they grow. I suppose such is the nature of a fixed agenda, no room for anything else.

As those who follow this blog on a regular basis will have noticed, there has been a recent shift from flowers to insects. Fear not, I will continue with flowers as well, but there have been great opportunities presented to photograph some of the local wildlife, primarily insects as well. I photograph because I enjoy being able to share my experiences and learn new things along the way.

One of those learning opportunities occurred when I photographed this “Blue”, or more precisely, a Spring Azure butterfly. These tiny, quick moving, and skittish butterflies are often sitting on the trail, but seldom stick around long enough to photograph. This one was considerate enough to pose on a blade of grass, long enough to get this image, as well as a side shot, which helped me identify it when I got home.

The learning piece of the story comes from having a clear macro image of the butterfly, revealing the fine blue hairs on it’s torso and being able to see the tiny, blue, iridescent scales on its wings, which give it that slightly metallic look. If I had to do it again, I would have narrowed the aperture a bit more, but I was also fighting a breeze that day, which limited me to a higher shutter speed and I did not want to bump the ISO much more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/11.0 ISO 400

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“Morning Feast”

“Morning Feast”

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”
― Joseph Addison

Yesterday morning, my son and I went for a hike to see how a patch of Showy Lady Slipper orchids were coming along. More on that in a future post. On the way into the forest, the wildflower lined path was abuzz with nectar seeking insects, crowding onto the blossoms dining and sunning themselves.

We’ve had yet another wave of rainy days and I’m sure the wildlife is also feeling the effects of wind and downpour. So, when the day dawned bright and clear, the opportunity to feast opened up.

In the image above, a Pearly Crescent butterfly works its way around a fleabane blossom, a small bee dines next door, the the next visitor arrives from above, to share in the bounty of this single plant. The pattern repeated throughout the meadow as the world eagerly greeted the sun once more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/7.1 ISO 100

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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