Besides brightly colored wildflowers, the other thing I love about summer hikes is the abundance of butterflies. These critters love flowers, and when the temps start to rise you'll always see them flitting amongst the blooms.
I already posted a bunch of butterfly pics in my Silver Star Mountain post but had a little collection of images from other various places I've hiked this summer. I deemed these photos too good not to share, so here's a post solely dedicated to these lovely winged insects.
|An orange beauty|
In mid-July I hiked the Iron Mountain/Cone Peak loop in the Central Oregon Cascades. Although this trail is best known for its prolific wildflower bloom, with wildflowers also come butterflies. And boy did I hit the butterfly jackpot that day!
|Posing on the flowers very nicely|
By midday the beautiful winged insects were having a heyday, soaring in the sun and feeding on the blooms. I spotted several varieties, but not knowing my butterfly species at all, I wasn't going to guess what I was photographing.
|I think this may be a very colorful moth?|
|Loved this white butterfly|
From several miscues, I learned half the battle is being prepared. Before creeping up on my subject, I'd have my camera out, make sure the exposure and shutter speed were correct, and get my focus ready. My camera also has a 1.6X crop factor setting, (providing a bit of extra zoom) which I began to take full advantage of. After lots of practice, my capture rate and photo quality got much better.
One of the butterfly species I do recognize is the lovely yellow and black swallowtail. Appearing around the official beginning of summer, these beauties can be found everywhere there are flowers. Something I've recently learned - the swallowtail butterfly is the official state insect of Oregon (I also didn't know there was such a thing as a state insect!)
|Butterflies seem to love yellow flowers|
Swallowtail photographs are especially difficult to capture. These buggers seem to know when you're after them, and take off the minute you get your focus locked. But I've learned if they're after a favorite type of flower (such as the columbine) these butterflies will latch on and ignore everything around them. That's probably the only reason I was able to get a few good shots of this elusive winged insect.
|A very colorful moth (I think?)|
The best part about photographing butterflies is they nearly always land on a flower - and who doesn't like both a beautiful butterfly and a colorful flower in the same image?
|Another swallowtail - very hard to capture!|
Although this post started out strictly about butterflies, I've expanded to include a couple of nice dragonfly photos I really liked.
|A fiery orange dragonfly|
Hope you've enjoyed my insect post! Next up is a recap from a late spring trip to South Dakota and Yellowstone National Park. Stay tuned - you won't want to miss it!