写真

Photographer's Note

The Monarch Butterfly (Danaus plexippus) is another one of nature's completely amazing creatures. The animal here -- should it survive -- will fly but one leg of a northward migration that lasts all summer and takes several generations. The last butterflies born at the north end of the migration then fly the entire distance south to an overwintering ground in Mexico, then begin the northward route the next spring.

"How the species manages to return to the same overwintering spots over a gap of several generations is still a subject of research..."
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Monarch_butterfly

As with all migratory animals, habitat is essential. Here, Mexican milkweed (a variety of Asclepias) has been tended in Austin, Texas just for the purpose of hosting the butterfly eggs and feeding the caterpillars.

I had waited on this little guy all day yesterday, using a manual macro set-up with an old bellows and 105mm lens. When he finally came out about dusk, it was obvious that the macro arrangement would be unnecessary -- but more light was needed! The sidelight here is not the setting sun, but rather a large flashlight, diffused, held by my lovely assistant (and spouse!).

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Additional Photos by Russ Ham (EstudioChispa) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 258 W: 90 N: 498] (2182)
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