199/365 Marbled White Melanargia galathea

Photographing butterflies is always better when they are less active. Choosing a cool summer morning was the best to photograph this Marbled White butterfly as it was still roosting on this Plantain seed head. The temperature had dropped below the dew point overnight causing the small droplets of water to form along the antennas of this individual.

Marbled White, Melanargia galathea, Worcestershire, July, 2011.

199/365 Marbled White

071/365 Marbled White Melanargia galathea

Todays image, 071, is of another Marbled White. This is the side on view of image 068 (here). Its amazing how different the image is.

Marbled White, Melanargia galathea, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, June, 2009.
Canon 40D with Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.

068/365 Marbled White Melanargia galathea

Todays image, 068, is of another Marbled White but from a slightly different viewpoint…. looking straight down… ūüėČ
Click on the image to view it larger to see the detail with the dew drops along the antennaes and legs.

Marbled White butterfly, Melanargia galathea, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, June, 2009.
Canon 40D with Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.

064/365 Marbled White Melanargia galathea

Image 064 is one of my favourite butterflies. It is of a Marbled White. When they emerge in the summer (June and July time) there can be tens if not hundreds in suitable habitats. I really like photographing these. Another image can be seen in image 023 (here) which shows the underside. Males have these very black and white markings and females are brown and white.

Marbled White butterfly, Melanargia galathea, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, July, 2009.
Canon 40D with Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.


023 is of a male Marbled White roosting on top of a flower head backlit against the setting sun. I can’t wait for these to appear again. I have so much fun photographing these through the summer months.

Marbled White butterfly, Melanargia galathea, Malvern Hills, Worcestershire, June, 2009.
Canon 40D with Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens.

Bees and butterflies!

Checking the exif data for the Bee Orchids I photographed last year said¬†I’d taken them¬† between 10th and 27th June.¬† Well I searched and searched and couldn’t find any. It was only when I checked the other night that I found a single¬†really small orchid.¬† I’m not sure whether its been a bad year for this species or not, but I can definately say they are very late flowering around this area compared to last year.¬† Anyway, the next task was to photograph it. I tend to use my Canon 100mm f/2.8 macro lens for most of the macro subjects I find, but after purchasing the Canon 1D mk4 I am finding¬†the depth of field with this lens to be tricky.¬†¬† Due to the sensor being a lot bigger than my old 40D, the subject appears smaller in the viewfinder, which means you have to move closer to the subject which in turn, makes the depth of field smaller.¬† Is everyone still following…?¬† Good! (cus I’m confused and I’m writing it!! lol!)¬† Anyhow, hmm..¬†¬† because the depth of field is smaller due to being closer, to get more of the subject in focus, you have to increase the aperture. ¬†This will have two effects on the image/settings.¬†¬† 1. It will cause the shutter speed to go down (unless you increase the ISO)¬†¬† and 2.¬† It will bring the background more into focus and you will lose the nice clear background that you want in an image.¬†¬†¬†Not good… ¬†so…¬† in my bag I also carry¬†a Canon 17-40mm f/4.0 L¬† and a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS.¬† I also have an 25mm extension tube and a 1.4x converter.¬† It doesnt happen very often but¬†I had a brain wave.¬† I mounted the 70-200mm on the tripod and attached the extension tube aswell.¬† An extension tube reduces the minimum focussing distance of a lens, (25% in this case with a 25mm)¬†so you can get closer to a subject (and therefore have it bigger in the frame).¬†¬† This would also get round the fact that I would be further away than with the 100mm macro (because of the magnification of the lens) which should therefore give a more diffuse background.¬† It worked a treat and the photo below is what I achieved of a plant that was no¬†taller than 15cm. Settings for the top¬†shot were Canon 1D mk4 with a Canon 70-200mm f/2.8 L IS lens at 170mm with a Canon 25mm extension tube.¬† ISO200, 100th sec @ f/8.0. The¬†lower image is with the 100mm macro lens at ISO 400, 1/80sec @ f/8.0.¬† Compare the two backgrounds and settings. I know which one¬†I prefer.

Knowing that there are plenty of butterflies to photograph in this area, I had a slow walk back to the car and found¬†two Marbled Whites butterflies mating on top of¬†one of the orchid spikes.¬†¬† The female is the browner looking one on top. I couldn’t resist getting a few pics and heres one that I particularly liked.


If you enjoy reading my blogs and viewing my images, please get in touch as it would be great to hear from you.
As always, all my pictures are available to purchase.  Please contact me for more details.
www.ianbutlerphotography.co.uk or email ian@ianbutlerphotography.co.uk