Why are they called Butterflies?

 

            Butter Coloured Flies

   What photographer can resist the appeal of this group of insects. They seem to be almost omnipresent in that they can be found in a variety of different habitats from the expected countryside settings right up to normal gardens and even busy city centres. We can enjoy the sight of somewhat over 50 different species in the UK. The exact number is somewhat debatable and will depend on where you stand in the world of splitters, lumpers and re-introducers. The first two of these refers to those who, often seemingly pedantically, choose to “split” or “lump” together various species and/or sub-species and the third refers to those who sit in judgement and decide at what point a species,  re-introduced for whatever justifiable reasons, should be declared “native” once again. I have covered this subject more comprehensively in my book “Wildlife Photography on a Budget” and made my sentiments clear!!

   Political bickering apart they make phenomenal photographic subjects. The fact that there are only 50 to 60 species in the UK means that with luck, diligence and a fondness for travel, there is a chance that you could locate and photograph each and every species. There is something of a collector in all of us and whatever form that interest takes for you there will always be an extra incentive if collecting a “full set” is a possibility. Pursuit of this “full set” will force you into undertaking considerable research into characteristics, habitats, seasons of the various life cycle stages and even social contact with fellow enthusiasts. Word of mouth is probably one of the best sources of information, especially in respect of suitable sites to visit, although there are now a significant number of Field Guides available on the subject.

   Whilst the classical mental vision of a butterfly probably involves one of the more highly coloured species displaying with its wings “akimbo”, many species can be as beautiful, or even more so, on their undersides. Devoting time to capturing images depicting various behaviour patterns and from different angles can be quite rewarding and set you apart from the masses who seem to be convinced that the fully spread shot is the only viable option. Whilst not denigrating the incredible beauty of some of these “wings wide” shots the buying, and even viewing public, are increasingly demanding that wildlife images should display the subject “doing something” other than just lying around.

   Amongst the attached images there is one of a male Brimstone Butterfly, said to be the insect that gave rise to the name as, in certain antiquarian literature, it is referred to as “The Butter Coloured Fly”.  

 

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              Brown Hairstreak

       Silver Studded Blues courting

               Chalkhill Blue male

             Common Blue male

               Small Blue male

                 Comma open

  Comma showing “Comma” marking

                White Admiral

                    Red Admiral

                    Marsh Fritillary

        Silver Washed Fritillary male

               Brimstone female

       Brimstone male – the original

         “Butter Coloured Fly”

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Autumn Spiders

 

Although many species of Spider occur all year round particularly those that enjoy the comforts of living in our often centrally heated homes, it is towards the end of summer/autumn when they become most apparent.

 

Anyone taking an early morning walk through suitable habitat such as fields, heaths or roadside verges, will be struck by the sheer number of webs showing up by virtue of the dew that they attract. As this evaporates in the morning warmth the webs become characteristically almost invisible, a factor which is essential for their efficacy as insect traps. Coincidentally it makes it harder for the aspirant arachnophotographer to locate his subjects.

 

Very little about invertebrate photography is easy – except to those who have never tried it!! Ignore them and keep searching, for the Spider World can be highly rewarding in diversity of subject matter and quite a challenge in respect ofphotographic technique. Some form of closeup capability will be called for as some of the species are diminutive in size.

 

This need not cost the earth. As long as you have a camera with interchangeable lenses you can buy inexpensive closeup filters that screw onto the end of the lens and which come in various sizes measured in “dioptres”. These are easy to fit in the field and do not involve removing the lens from the body with the ensuing risk of letting dust in to the sensor. Some Spiders are a bit “twitchy” but a great many will let you approach quite closely if you “take it easy”. For identification purposes be careful what guides you choose to use because

although most people would normally think of Spiders as being “insects” they are not technically so since they have 8 legs, whereas insects have 6, and they are therefore not included in the coverage of most “Insect” books. There is, however, an excellent Collins Fieldguide on the subject  ISBN 0 00219981 5. Good luck!

Autumn Spiders

This is an image of a Wasp Spider

Wasp Spider 

Dolomedes Raft Spider

Dolomedes Raft Spider

Image of a Spider

Garden Spider

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Autumn Bugs

Shieldbugs have been with us for some months now going through their various stages or “instars” of development.

 

Many are now reaching maturity and can be seen more easily as they move around in search of food or mates. There are a number of species available for the discerning photographer but they occupy differing habitats and it calls for some research to determine where you are likely to find them.

 

Other varieties of bugs are also easier to spot at this time of year and a good starting place would be your nearest bramble bush if it still has ripening fruit on it even if that fruit is past its best. The accompanying three images are of species most easily located

 Shieldbugs

This is an image of a Green Shield Bug

Green Shield Bug 

Dock or Squash Bug

Dock or Squash Bug 

This is an image of a Sloe Bug

Sloe Bug

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