I’ve always loved my macro photography at this time of year and our beautiful Butterflies have to be right up there amongst my favourite subjects to work with. When I got an e-mail from a good friend Jason to tell me that he’d found a meadow for Pearl Bordered Fritillaries that was working well at his end of the county it was only a question of sorting out a day when I could squeeze an early morning session in and that worked for him too since he has a proper job to do!
You can see why I was particularly keen to get up for another pre-dawn run as these really are one of the prettiest species we are lucky enough to enjoy in the UK in my opinion and after some initial anxiety on both our parts as we searched for their overnight roosts all worked out well and it was well worth the effort.
This fellow had obviously had a tussle with a predator of some sort as part of his wing was missing and as a species these beautiful butterflies have been struggling significantly over recent years and are still in sharp decline. This is due mostly to the lack of clearings in their woodland habitats as the whole traditional practice of coppicing has almost disappeared except where woods are specifically managed for wildlife. Their hillside habitats too have been under pressure as general grazing by cattle and ponies that traditionally kept the balance between grass and bracken in check and these habitats have become more scrublike in their nature.
When working with a subject like this I like to try and cover a number of different options and and compositions as well as the classic side-on profile that I opened with, and although some of these may not be very classical I like the fact that they get across some personality as well as the inherent beauty in these delicate species.
I particularly like this last one – an approach you often see with damsel and dragonflies but less so with butterflies – I think it works quite well.
Thanks for a good morning Jason, and I know you got some decent stuff yourself too!