Thursday 15 August 2013

Mating Green Hairstreak Butterflies

When it comes to my nature photography I prefer to stay local. In fact, the vast majority of my photographs are taken within a 3 mile radius of my home. This is a deliberate strategy, in part because I'm not entirely comfortable with the idea of travelling 200 miles to photograph a butterfly. But in truth it's also due to the fact that it's easier to be on site early in the morning if the site is closer to my home. Also, I think macro photography lends itself to staying local perhaps more so than mammal or bird photography. However, I do make the odd exception to my rule and will occasionally travel a little further afield.

One trip that I usually make at least once each year is to Ryton Woods in Warwickshire (approx 35 miles from my home). The woods and the nearby meadow are generally good for a variety of butterflies. This year I paid a visit at the end of May mainly to photograph the Green Hairstreaks (I also visited again in July to see the Marbled Whites but that will be a topic for a future blog post as I haven't processed those images yet).

On this particular day in late May there were a number of Green Hairstreaks about but because it was quite a warm day they were very active and I wondered whether I would actually get any decent images. Luckily I spotted a mating pair, a first for me, and since they were preoccupied they let me move in reasonably close (not too close since I was using the Sigma 150mm macro lens which has a good working distance). Fortunately, they didn't seem at all bothered by my presence and continued mating for a good 20-30 minutes!


The image above is my favourite and it alone made the trip worthwhile for me. That was just as well because I actually photographed little else and gave up due to the heat a couple of hours later! The following are the only other vaguely respectable images that I managed.

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