I’m in an unusual spell at the moment – a few consecutive weeks at home! Although there is a mountain of writing to be done for a whole array of articles and books, with this seemingly unusual proper summer weather of late I haven’t been able to resist getting the macro lenses out and looking at the smaller aspects of summer life within the vicinity of home and trying to make the best of them photographically in these conditions.
Although late this year, the local population of Silver-Studded Blue butterflies have always been a favourite port of call at this time of year and the numbers appear to my eye to be as good as any year I can recall on the heath which is great news.
I have photographed them many times but the hot and sunny conditions this year, as well as the constant attempt to try something different, have made me experiment a wee bit more than usual looking to emphasise their tiny nature on a Rose-bay Willow Herb plant or playing around with backlighting on both their host plant in the form of bell heather or in some early morning grasses where they were roosting.
I quite like the smaller representation of them here and it worked as an approach with an obliging Small Pearl-Bordered Fritillary I also had the chance to spend some time with.
This particular site is one I know that is particularly good for butterflies of a different nature – the Lesser Butterfly Orchid and although the numbers of flowers have been really good too this year there’s always a certain sameness to the classic orchid shots like the first of these, so the chance to pick out the individual flower of one on the edge of the wood allowing for a high contrast black background held greater appeal.
It was an approach that worked well with the abundant Common Spotted Orchids too.
But they look at their very best in a classic meadow setting which offered a particularly strong showing too this year surrounded as they were by the late profusion of buttercups too: I used a long 500mm lens (+ 1.4x converter) and 24mm wide-angle in these two images to try to present the site in different ways.
But it hasn’t just been orchids that have been in abundance this summer and although the hot spell has almost seen off the Poppies now I have enjoyed a couple of evenings trying to look at them with a different eye too. Being being close to home and during a spell when the photography itself is secondary to the admin allows for a little more relaxed an approach and it’s certainly something I’ll be taking with me into the next wave of trips and assignments that lie just round the corner!