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Posts Tagged ‘Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly’

I was absolutely thrilled when I spotted this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) on Tuesday at Occoquan Bay National Wildlife Refuge, because it was the first one that I managed to photograph this year. Great Spangled Fritillaries are generally quite common where I live, but somehow I missed them, probably because my photography forays have been sharply limited by the corona virus restrictions.

The butterfly was gathering nectar from a flowering thistle, whose specific species I cannot identify. I initially thought that the orange of the butterfly and the pink of the flower would not work together, but the more that I look at the image, the more I like the color combination. What do you think?

Great Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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It is a gray and gloomy Friday morning and rain is forecast for most of the day. Somehow I feel the need for a boost of bright colors. So here is a shot of a Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) on a clump of what I believe is Purple Milkweed (Asclepias purpurascens) from this past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park.

As I worked on this image, there was a real temptation to crank up the saturation level of the colors, which made the shot look unnatural. I tried to show a little restraint and render the colors as I remember them, bright, but not in neon-like tones.

Great Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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A clump of what I think is Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnataseemed irresistible to a trio of Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies (Speyeria cybele) on Monday at Huntley Meadows Park. For a brief moment they coexisted peacefully, until one of them encroached into the territory of another and they all began to jostle each other for the prime spots.

I quickly snapped off a series of photos before the butterflies flew away. As is the case with almost any group, it was almost impossible to capture an image in which all of the subjects were more or less facing the camera and had interesting poses. It was roughly equivalent to trying to photograph a group of wiggly little children—single subjects seem easy by comparison.

Great Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The butterflies were really active today at Huntley Meadows Park and I nearly wore myself out chasing after them. Fortunately one of them would occasionally perch, like this Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele), whose image I was able to capture from an unusual perspective.

Happy Memorial Day. Let us never forget the brave men and women who sacrificed so much for our freedom.

Great Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Have you ever gone eye-to-eye with a butterfly? Yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria Cybele) was so focused on feeding that it let me get pretty close, close enough to see its cool speckled eyes and its extended proboscis.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Spring is a time for chasing butterflies. This past week there seems to have been an explosion of Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) butterflies and I saw them at multiple locations yesterday as I trekked about in Huntley Meadows Park. The butterflies were very active, stopping for only short periods of time at flowers before moving on to the next one. My chasing behavior was impeded somewhat by the tall vegetation that has grown up in the fields, thanks to the large amount of rain that we had in May.

One of my favorite approaches with butterflies is to try to get at eye level with then and a few times yesterday I was able to get the kind of shot that I really like.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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WordPress tells me I posted 851 photos during 2015 in 395 blog posts. I’ve forgotten many of those photos, but I want to share ten of my favorites with you today as we start the new year.

I used a very unscientific approach in selecting them—I simply chose ones that I really liked without looking at numbers of likes or views or comments. So often I am focused on getting new shots that I sometimes forget how wide a spectrum of subjects I like to shoot. These images remind me of my varied approaches and techniques.

I didn’t include any of the fox photos or contest entries that I featured recently, figuring that you were already familiar with them. I should note that this selection of favorites is representative and not exhaustive—there are probably some awesome shots that I have neglected to include. I haven’t tried to put the images in any kind of rank order, but if forced to choose, my favorite image of the year is probably the first one, the Green Heron with a kind of Rembrandt lighting.

Thanks to all of you who have supported and encouraged me so much in 2015. Best wishes for a wonderful 2016.

Green Heron

Ebony Jewelwing

Great Spangled Fritillary

Banded Pennant

Green Heron

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

Blue Dasher

Osprey

Bald Eagle

North American Beaver

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s amazing how a brightly colored butterfly can almost disappear from view merely by turning sidewards. Last week, I was observing a Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) feeding on a yellow flower when suddenly it seemed to disappear. I blinked my eyes and looked again and the butterfly looked almost like a grasshopper, because I could not see its wings.

Great Spangled Fritillary

A few seconds later, the butterfly shifted its position and its colorful wings once more came into view, providing the more conventional view of the butterfly that you see in the photo below.

Great Spangled Fritillary

I love trying to find unconventional views of familiar subjects, though it’s important not to forget that there is a lot of beauty in the familiar conventional views as well.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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There were lots of other available thistle plants yesterday at Huntley Meadows Park, but an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) and a Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele) kept jockeying for position on this single flower, each seemingly determined to gain the upper hand.

Who knew that butterflies were so competitive?

Competitive butterflies

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Swamp Milkweed (Asclepias incarnata) is now in bloom at my local marshland park and the Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies (Speyeria cybele) are loving it.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Eye to eye with a butterfly—it’s fun trying to capture subjects from different angles, in this case a Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) at Huntley Meadows Park in Alexandria, Virginia.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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As this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) moved about on a flower, the light hit it in different ways, beautifully illuminating its colorful wings.

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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As I came out of the woods into a meadow at my local marshland park, I caught sight of some bright orange butterflies, which I could immediately identify as Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies (Speyeria cybele). The butterflies were concentrating their attention on a small cluster of plants which looked to be some kind of thistle.

I moved closer to get some shots, wading through the vegetation, which by this time of the summer is chest-high. I’ve already learned the hard way about the “joys” of chiggers and ticks, but I tossed my concerns to the side and boldly stepped forward. Fortunately for me, the butterflies were distracted with their feeding activity and did not fly away at my approach.

The sunlight was pretty strong and the look of the photo changed a lot as I circled around the butterflies, as you can see from the images below. I took a lot of shots, some of which I have not yet processed, but I was so happy with the images that I captured that I figured I better post some while it is still summer. Don’t be surprised if you see a few more images like this in the near future.

Great Spangled Fritillary

Great Spangled FritillaryGreat Spangled Fritillary

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Buttonbushes are now blooming at my local marsh, attracting beautiful butterflies, including this Pipevine Swallowtail and this Great Spangled Fritillary.

I don’t know what it is about the Common Buttonbush (Cephalanthus occidentalis), but butterflies seem to find it irresistible. Several Pipevine Swallowtails (Battus philenor) flitted all around the bushes in frenetic motion, hardly every stopping to perch. The Great Spangled Fritillary (Speyeria cybele), however, seemed to take its time, lingering over each of the spiky spherical globes of the buttonbush.

pipevine2_blogpipevine1_blogspangled_bush_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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After a week and a half on the road, it was great for me to be able to return to my local marshland yesterday. I was thrilled to see that butterflies have reappeared, including Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies (Speyeria cybele). A group of about a half dozen or so of them kept returning to clusters of a pink-flowered plant that looks like a kind of milkweed, permitting me to get shots of the butterflies in various positions on the flowers.

spang_frit3_blogspang_frit1_blogspang_frit2_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) was so cooperative that I was able to get amazingly close to it with my 100mm macro lens and photograph it from some unusual angles.

This is the third (and final) posting from this session with the Fritilary (I love saying the butterfly’s name) and I realize that I have moved in a kind of progression. My first posting showed the butterfly from a “normal” perspective. Then I shifted to a somewhat unusual perspective in the second posting by shooting from below the butterfly.

In these final shots, I tried to get eye-to-eye with the fritillary. In the first image, I was almost directly over the butterfly and managed to capture some wonderful details. Who knew the butterfly would be so hairy? In the second shot, I tried to put myself on the same level as the Fritillary as it got nectar from a beautiful white cone flower. If you want to see the photos in greater resolution, click on the images.

fritillary5A_blogfritillary6_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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It was fun chasing this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele) around my neighbors’ garden as it moved from flower to flower. I tried to capture it from different perspectives and got some artsy looking shots that I really like.

fritillary1_blog

fritillary3_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I continue to be amazed at the insects that visit my neighbors’ garden and yesterday I was thrilled to see this Great Spangled Fritillary butterfly (Speyeria cybele). The beautiful butterfly moved around a lot among the flowers and even returned after flying away, which gave me time to change lenses.

I took this shot of the butterfly on a cone flower with my 100mm macro lens. I wanted take the photograph at eye-level with the butterfly, but initially the background was too cluttered and there was too much light coming from the back, which caused the butterfly to be shadowy.  I decided to use my pop-up flash, suspecting that the background would go black and the detail of the butterfly would be revealed, which is what happened.

The result looks a little bit artificial, but I like the effect that I managed to achieve. I am working on a couple more images of the butterfly taken in natural light, so you may see it again soon.

fritillary2_crop_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As we move deeper into autumn, I expect to find the colors orange and yellow only in the fall foliage or an occasional sunset. Yesterday, I was surprised to see this orange-and-yellow butterfly flitting from flower to flower, seemingly oblivious to the changing seasons. Doesn’t he know it’s almost October? Is it eternally spring for a butterfly?

Butterfly in late September

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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