Tips for Photographing Butterflies

"Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you." — Nathaniel Hawthorne

The sultriness hung in the air like thick fog on a dark night,  while cicadas sang soprano notes from treetops. As a gentle breeze cut a welcome trail through the humidity,  butterflies performed their soft dance along the way.  From the subtle Cabbage White to the more dramatic Swallowtail, a variety came through to grace us with their lovely presence.

Our daughter lives in a country home nestled amidst several urban centres. The property includes some acreage of woodland as well as a natural pond where a variety of flora and fauna thrive. Occasionally, some of the latter make their way to us. The howl of coyotes rise through the night air, at times at a range that's less than desirable. Deer and rabbits visit the garden on the sly, the odd frog strays to the children's play area much to the youngsters' delight and a snapping turtle is sometimes seen crossing the front lawn enroute to the grassy ditch.

The trees are alive with birdsong and the garden is visited by an assortment of bugs including elusive, beautiful butterflies.

These attractive insects are a desired subject for photography, but their inherent shyness makes opportunities fleeting. I found success once, several years ago, while taking some photos down at a rugged shoreline. Several butterflies arrived to flit around Scotch thistles growing in between the rocks and actually allowed me to move in for a nice, tight shot.

The end result is one of my favourites ever, and actually ended up winning an award at an amateur photo competition.

Many times since I've tried and many times since I've failed to even come remotely close to photographing a butterfly. My trip to a conservatory in Florida was a comedy show parody as they evaded my camera at every turn, teasing with striking poses against vibrant flowers, before lifting off to flutter above and lead me on a merry chase.

It all made me determined to improve the experience the next time the chance arose. Here are helpful expert tips I found that will hopefully make it easier:

8 Tips for Photographing Butterflies

Butterfly Photography Tips

Butterfly Photography

How to Photograph Butterflies


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