I went to Dorset Wildlife Trust’s Kilwood Nature Reserve (which abuts Norden) on Saturday afternoon. With a stroke of luck for me, it had been raining fairly hard in the morning (and was forecast to do so in the afternoon too, it in fact brightened up to a nice sunny day). The real luck, other than getting wet was that the butterflies were still drying out. This enabled me to get some good posed shots as they were at first reluctant to fly off. Obviously later they became much more active, but I then left and went over to Norden, where I was lucky enough to capture some basking female dragonflies. The ID’s were kindly helped out on by the experts on www.ukdragonflies.com.
Anyhow onto some of the macro shots I managed of the butterflies at rest.
This first one is common blue (Polyommatus icarus) resting on a plant stalk. On this particular clump there were probably about 20 blues resting. Taken on Canon 100mm F2.8 USM Macro Lens at ISO 400 at F4.5 to blur the background plants nicely. Natural Light only 1/250 sec.
This one is a Brown Argus – at rest on a plant stalk. Again taken on a Canon 100mm Macro Lens with a wide aperture of F3.5 to blur the background and put tight focus on the butterfly. ISO 400 Natural Light.
This image shows the remains of the early morning rain on the grass stalk that the warming Common Blue is resting on. Taken a ISO 400 F11 with a small amount of flash fill (1/64th power) from the Canon MT-24ex Twin Flash (stofen diffused) at 1/60 sec. I used the smaller aperture of F11 here to enable most of both wings to be in focus.
The last butterfly shot show a trio of common blues resting on one stalk. The larger male is displaying his wings quite nicely I think. I had tried to take side on profile shots of the three close up, but there spacing apart meant I could not manage all three in focus, and other single focus ones, I did not like/capture at high enough quality. ISO 400 F11 1/80th second with fill flash (1/64 power on Canon MT-24ex Twin Flash with Stofen diffusers).
Amongst the butterflies at rest there was also a female common damselfly, which I took at a wide open aperture focusing on the eyes, to give it a sort of peek-a-boo effect.
The Enallagma cyathigerum – Common Blue Damselfly (female) was taken on the 100mm lens at ISO 400 F3.2 1/250 second, Natural light only.
Lastly I captured a posing Gatekeeper – Pyronia tithonus – butterfly on the Canon MPE-65mm at 1:1 magnification. I like this shots details of the butterflies wings and body.
The shot was taken at ISO 400 F11 1/250sec with flash.
Moving on through Kilwood to Norden an Amphibian & Reptile Conservation Reserve and I managed to take 3 different species of dragonfly. The first a female common darter that was resting on a wood stump. I lay down and carefully approached it, slowly inching closer till I got it about 1:1 on the Canon 100mm F2.8 Macro Lens. The trick with dragonflies is that they will often fly up if they see a bit of movement, but often then just return to the same spot a few seconds later.
This 1:1 shot is the closest I got (taken at ISO 400 F9 1/320sec Natural Light), compares with an earlier further away shot at the start of my approach which shows more of the dragonfly’s body.
This further out (more close up than macro shot) on the 100mm Canon Lens was taken at ISO 400, F11,1/250 sec – Natural Light.
Walking a bit further on revealed another female Common Darter, posing on some gorse.
Again on the Cannon 100mm Macro Lens – ISO 400 1/400 sec Natural Light.
Next on the agenda was a nice female black darter basking in the sun on some heather.
The black darter was taken at ISO 400 F11 1/60 sec and some 1/64 fill flash from the twin flash.
The last shot of note from the trip is a female keeled skipper, which I took clinging to some heather on the return walk back through Norden.
This last shot was taken at ISO 400 F9 1/200 sec with some fill in flash again from the twin macro flashgun.
Map of Location