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Archive for the ‘Butterflies’ Category

I can’t identify this flower and I am not certain what kind of skipper butterfly this is, but the two of them sure did combine well in this image that I captured this past weekend at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. (I’m leaning towards this being a Peck’s Skipper (Polites peckius), but there are so many different kinds of skippers that it’s hard to be sure.)

In many ways this is the kind of image that I aspire to capture. The subject is active, engaged in probing the flower with its extended proboscis, rather than in a static pose. Of equal importance, the image has an artistic feel, a kind of beauty in its composition and colors. There are so many uncontrollable elements in nature that there is no way to guarantee results like this, but it is sure is nice when it happens.

UPDATE: Helpful folks on Facebook and readers of this blog have helped to identify the butterfly as a Zabulon Skipper (Poanes zabulon) and the flower as an Obedient Plant (Physostegia virginiana). Thanks, Drew and Molly.

skipper and flower

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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I am always excited to see Monarch butterflies (Danaus plexippus). Over the years there have been numerous reports of this species becoming endangered, primarily because of the loss of habitat. Some years, I have spotted only a few Monarch during an entire summer. This year I have been fortunate enough to see them at several of the locations that I frequent.

I spotted this spectacular Monarch butterfly yesterday while visiting Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in nearby Vienna, Virginia with some fellow photographers. Each of us has a different style of shooting and preferred subjects and we usually shoot separately. It is always a lot of fun when we reassemble after shooting and share our photos and experiences with each other over dinner at a restaurant.

Monarch butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Recently I spotted this small orange and brown butterfly while I was roaming the trails at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I initially thought it was a Pearl Crescent butterfly, a familiar species, and posted a photo on Facebook. One of my friends there, however, pointed out that my little butterfly was actually a Silvery Checkerspot butterfly (Chlosyne nycteis), a new species for me.

The composition in my image is pretty simple, but I really like the way that it turned out, with the soft contours of the butterfly juxtaposed with the linear veins of the leaf and the sharp contrast between the dominant green and orange tones. The shadows are a real bonus, adding additional interest to the photo.

Silvery Checkerspot

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I spotted this beautiful butterfly this past weekend at Jackson Miles Abbott Wetland Refuge. I am pretty sure that it is a Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis), judging from the pattern of its wing spots.

While I may not be absolutely certain that it is a Question Mark butterfly, its beauty is unquestionable.

Question Mark butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I love photographing the nondescript butterflies that are so common that they fly by virtually unnoticed, like this beautiful little sulphur butterfly that I spotted last week at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge. I believe it is an Orange Sulphur butterfly (Colias eurytheme), though it is often hard to distinguish that species from the Clouded Sulphur (Colias philodice), so I am a little uncertain of the identification.

What I am certain of, however, is the delicate beauty of this butterfly and I am happy that I was able to capture some of that beauty in this image. As I gaze at this photo, I am reminded of the moment when I took it, a moment when I was enveloped by a sense of deep tranquility as the gorgeous sunlight illuminated the wings of the butterfly. Quite often when I am pursuing a subject, I can feel my heart racing a little as adrenaline kicks in.  This was one of the rare circumstances when I had the opposite physical reaction.

It is hard to describe in words what I was feeling, though it was definitely cool to experience. I hope that some of you will get a sense of that tranquility from this image. Iam becoming more and more convinced of the value of taking life a little more slowly, of opening myself up to experiencing the beauty that surrounds us every day.

sulphur butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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In a moment of calm amidst the storms this past Monday, I captured this shot of a beautiful little Cabbage White butterfly (Pieris rapae) in the garden of my neighbor and fellow photographer Cindy Dyer. The shot is a little grainy, because there was not a great deal of light, but somehow the image fills me with an overwhelming sense of serenity.

Cabbage White

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Whenever I see a patch of milkweed I will usually stop and and watch and wait. Milkweed attracts such a colorful cast of insect characters that it reminds me a little of the Mos Eisley Cantina in the original Star Wars movie.

My patience was rewarded this past Saturday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge when a Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) stopped by for a visit and I was able to capture this image.

Monarch butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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