Favs of 2010

The Butterflies of the World Foundation

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Bryan’s Favorite Photos of 2010

During presentations for The Butterflies of the World Foundation, Bryan gets asked all the time what his favorite butterfly photos are.  So, he’s decided to select his favorite 10 photos for 2010.  Check out below each image for the reasons why Bryan selected them.  Clicking on the photos will send you to the treatment page for that species.

American Lady

“The American Lady is a fairly common butterfly where I live, but it is usually pretty jumpy.  I was working along Cedar Lake in the Ouachita National Forest when I spotted this fresh beauty.  It was early enough that she was basking and just sat there for me.  I like how the butterfly pops from the clean background and the edge to edge sharpness of the wings.  I also tried to avoid a center placement while still leaving a little room around the butterfly.”

White Peacock
Mallow Scrub-Hairstreak
Tailed Copper
Hoary Comma
Funereal Duskywing
Orange Skipperling
Creole Pearly-eye
Pearl Crescent

“This is the first time I’ve been able to photograph the White Peacock.  This was on my first trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley in southern Texas where I encountered several new-for-me species last Fall.  Looking at this gorgeous butterfly, you’d never think that this is common in disturbed areas and vacant lots.  This one however, was found along the trail on Frontera Audubon.  It was down on the trail which didn’t make for a good photo, but it suddenly flushed and landed up at about eye level.  I like how the sharp butterfly stands out from the background.  It’s also always nice to have a fresh specimen and that it’s spread open nice and flat to my film plane.”

“Most people I talk to during my presentations are blown away with the idea you can get this close to an active, free flying butterfly.  With a little effort and if you get low to the ground and move very slow, these kinds of photos are possible.  And realize, this is full frame.  This image looks exactly the same as my original slide.  This was a memorable day for me because of all of the Southern and Creole Pearly-Eyes that were out.  This photo is of a Creole Pearly-Eye and it was less than 12 inches from the front of my camera lens.”

“This Tailed Copper was another new species for me.  I was with Laura in the Jemez Mountains of New Mexico deep on a 4x4 trail through the pine forest when I spotted these composite flowers.  I stopped and found a few of these thumbnail sized beauties gathering nectar.  Butterflies on flowers are some of my favorite photos and many times the easiest to get.  The flowers always enhance the image and the butterfly usually holds still long enough to get some good shots.”

“The Pearl Crescent is one of the most common butterflies where I live in central Oklahoma.  I’ve got lots of shots of them and will usually pass them up for other species.  This one however was posing real pretty for me and I couldn’t resist getting some shots.  I like the edge to edge sharpness of the butterfly and how it pops from the green of the leaf.  Having a cooperative and very fresh specimen also helps.”

“Grass skippers are sometimes tough little buggers to photograph, especially when it’s hot and they’re zipping around like little wind-up toys on speed.  I was helping do a butterfly count at the Great Plains State Park in Oklahoma on a very hot and sunny day when I spotted this little Orange Skipperling.  Unlike most butterflies, this species blasts off its perch every time my flash goes off.  So, I only got a single frame of this one.  Thankfully, it was a good shot.  I like the cleanness of this photo with the butterfly and its perch the only thing sharply against a clean background.”

“Here’s another one from my memorable trip to the Lower Rio Grande Valley last Fall.  My friend, Kim Garwood, was showing us around some of the hotspots and suggested we check out Lucy’s Garden located in Mission, Texas.  Unfortunately, the gardens weren’t being maintained that well, so there was not that much variety.  However, this was my first trip to the area and I’d never photographed Mallow-Scrub Hairstreaks until that day.  Like many of the photos above, I like the clean look of this one with the sharp butterfly and flower popping from the background.”

“Here’s one of the toughest photos I got from my New Mexico trip last year.  I spotted this Hoary Comma from the vehicle on some composites along a dirt road in the Jemez Mountains.  The flowers were on a steep and crumbling bank and I had to really stand on my tiptoes to get a shot looking down at this butterfly while behind me was quite a long tumble down to the road if I slipped.  Anglewings are my wife’s favorite group and this is the one she liked the best from our trip.”

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Arogos Skipper

“This is an illusion.  There are actually two individual butterflies nectaring from this purple coneflower.  They are just in a position that makes it look like one butterfly with its wings open.  These are Arogos Skippers and their presence indicates the quality of habitat is good.  I’m thankful that I photographed them on the Lexington Wildlife Management area near my home in central Oklahoma.  I know it’s a common theme with the photos above, but I like the clean background with the sharp butterflies.”

“A simple photo, a Funereal Duskywing and a flower.  It was not simple to get, however.  Laura and I were again on our New Mexico trip and I was chasing Arizona Sisters in the Manzano Mountains when I noticed this butterfly whizzing around and stopping very briefly at these purple flowers.  I preset my magnification and went after it.  I only fired off one shot after multiple attempts and this is it, full frame and all.  When I got my slides back, I couldn’t believe I nailed it.”