Wednesday, July 22, 2015

recent butterflies with a compact camera

Counting for the county butterfly survey continues, but I don't always feel like walking around in hot and humid weather with the strap of a weighty camera around my neck. Often I head out for a walk and carry my older compact Canon ELPH in my hand or pocket, just in case I see something interesting. Photos in this post and several recent posts were taken with this camera. It doesn't have the zoom of my newer Canon SX60, but butterflies that are feeding or puddling are easy to approach closely, and the limited zoom of the ELPH still helps. It is even possible to get too close and get an image that looks great in the viewer but turns out to be out of focus on the desktop. I imagine that images like this are quite possible with many cell phone cameras, and newer compact or sub-compact cameras have more zoom than mine.

In addition to subjects that are concentrating on a flower or other source of nutrition, I've found that some active butterflies aren't going far, often flying crazy circles around me, and eventually settle down more or less within range of my little camera. That's what the spicebush swallowtail in these first two photos was doing one evening last week on the path around Lake Kittamaqundi. The second photo is a little too close, and the wings were in motion, but it's good for documentation and identification. (Not quite clear in these photos, but the missing spot in the row of orange spots on the hind wing indicated spicebush while I was observing.)  

Least skipper. A nervous little creature, it still lingered around these flowers and allowed a few shots. No zoom used for this one. Just off the path around the lake. I try to avoid letting my shadow fall across a spot where a subject is feeding or brushing against even just the edge of the clump of flowers.

A red admiral at the wetland area I've been watching near the lake.

Boom cranes are easy subjects, too. This one has been at the lake for a while, and I have reported it to the bird club. (They have not answered yet.)

Tiger swallowtail on the purple coneflowers at the library in Town Center. Top photo has been cropped. For the bottom photo, I was able to get closer with the camera -- and again it's possible to get too close and get an unfocused image.

I didn't want to link my preceding post with the butterfly survey tag, so I'm drawing attention to the photos in it showing monarchs in the Natural History Museum's butterfly garden in DC.