Archive for the 'butterflies and insects' Category


11/10/2010: Green Malachite, Rio Grande Valley TX

As you read this, I am on my way to the Rio Grande Valley of Texas, Harlingen, and the RGV Birding and Nature Festival. I always try to spend an afternoon at the NABA Butterfly Gardens near Bensten State Park and the World Birding Center. And I always hope for a Malachite. Two years ago, Malachites were fairly common and I got several good shots, though I am still hoping for the perfect one.

Sony DSC H50 at 468mm equivalent, f4.5 @ 1/100 @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

Processed for Clarity, Vibrance, and Sharpen in Lightroom.

Watch this space for this year’s crop of Rio Grande images. I hope. I hope. 🙂


9/24/2010: Monarch

Another of those quick shots in passing. I chased this guy from rose to rose among the beach roses at Parson’s Beach while there to do some HDR work…who could resist. This the full tele macro on the Canon SX20IS…which always gives amazingly sharp close-ups and interesting bokeh.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent, f5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Blackpoint adjustment in Lightroom. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.


8/31/2010: English butterflies

Predictably, I spent my first day in England in a meeting room at the Greetham Valley Golf and Country Club (it was a working trip after all). We only got let out for lunch…and only 30 minutes at that due to a tight agenda. Still, when I got to the dinning room and looked out the window to see my first ever European Peacock butterfly, I had to run back to my room to get a camera with a longer lens! (Simon King, well known British naturalist and film-maker was among our number, and he identified the butterflies for me.) The wind was blowing hard and the rainy day light was subdued. The butterflies were hanging on the flowers for dear life as they tossed wildly about, and staying closed up tight most of the time in the wind. Still I managed a couple of more or less record shots of the Peacock (top) and the Little Tortoiseshell (bottom)…both life butterflies for me. And yes, I still managed to get my lunch down and back to the meeting room in time!

Long-tel-macro threw the background well out of focus for both shots. In the  top shot the butterfly is framed against the hill 300 yards behind, but even the leaves inches behind the Tortoiseshell show good bokeh. That is the magic of the long-tel-macro.

Canon SX20IS @ 560mm equivalent and macro @ 1) f5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 160 and 2) f5.7 @ 1/200th @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

A bit of Recovery in Lightroom for the flowers, more than usual Fill Light for the colors in the wings in the subdued light, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Germany and England 2010.



Wood Nymph

Along the Bridle Path where I have been doing a lot of digiscoping and general photography this summer, there are hundreds of these Wood Nymphs. I have never seen so many. In fact, until a month ago I am pretty sure I had never seen any…I had to look my first one up in the New England Nature Guide on my iPhone…though it must be a common butterfly in Southern Maine. Just not looking I guess. They rarely sit still long enough for a good portrait.

Canon SX20IS at full zoom and macro, 560mm equivalent field of view. F5.7 @ 1/320th @ ISO 400. Programmed auto.

A touch of Fill Light in Lightroom, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Around Home 2010.



Painted Lady! (and the nature of grace)

Happy Sunday.

When this is posted, I will be somewhere in the air between Portland Maine and Philadelphia, on the first leg of a day-long (14 hour) trip to California. At least I don’t have to go by wagon train.

And, of course, the Painted Lady is a long distance traveler too. This butterfly, if I understand it correctly, came up from Mexico this spring. They used to come through Rehoboth, New Mexico (where I lived for many years, many years ago) in waves. You could stand in a field and watch them pass, 150 or more in a line across the field and lines hitting every few moments for most of a day. And that was just our soccer field.

I was out digiscoping, still learning my new camera, when this Lady lit on the blossoms. I still had the the camera at –2EV exposure compensation from attempting to photograph a Snowy Egret and it metered correctly for the sunlit butterfly and blooms, but threw the shadowed background completely black. I could not have achieved this effect if I were trying. It looks like a studio shot. Sometimes you just get blessed beyond your deserts…which is why photography always keeps me aware of grace.

And, what more could you ask for on a Sunday?

Canon SD4000IS Digital Elph behind the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. F5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 250. Programmed auto. –2EV.

Some Recovery in Lightroom. Blackpoint just right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. Cropped for composition.

From DiaScope 65FL. View it as large as you like on Wide Eyed In Wonder by clicking the image.



Palamedes Swallowtail

These beauties were all over the Guana River Reserve on Tuesday when we spent a morning hiking there. They did not sit much so we learned to watch for the thistle.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent and macro. F5.7 @ 1/320 @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, just very basic added Clarity and a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen landscape preset. Cropped slightly for composition.

And, as a special treat, some video from the SX20IS. To view in HD, press the expand button to pop it out to full screen. Press play, and then select the 720 option where its says 320. On my laptop I have to pause it to let it completely download or it will keep pausing during play.




Heavenly White Peacock

I saw this White Peacock (petty worn fall specimen) perched up high on a bush along the trail at Estero Llano Grande State Park in Weslaco, TX and was impressed by the light through the wings. To shoot it with the PhotoScope I had to back off to the minimum focus of about 16 feet. Exposed for the wings, the background went too dark and had to be brought up in Lightroom with the Fill Light tool.


Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL at 40x (1600mm equivalent field of view). 1/680th @ ISO 100. Metered at about f5.0.

In addition to the Fill Light in Lightroom, I added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance and used the Sharpen Landscapes preset.

From Zeiss PhotoScope 85FL.