One of my favorite subjects to photograph are butterflies. They are amazing creatures. The intricate colors, patterns, and detail found in their physical makeup all have a distinct purpose. Butterflies are beautiful, flying insects with large scaly wings. Like all insects, they have six jointed legs, 3 body parts, a pair of antennae, compound eyes, and an exoskeleton. The three body parts are the head, thorax (the chest), and abdomen (the tail end).
Hairstreak Butterfly on a Cone Flower
The butterfly's body is covered by tiny sensory hairs. The four wings and the six legs of the butterfly are attached to the thorax. The thorax contains the muscles that make the legs and wings move.
Yellow Sulpher Butterfly on New England Aster
Butterflies are found all over the world and in all types of environments: hot and cold, dry and moist, at sea level and high in the mountains. Most butterfly species, however, are found in tropical areas, especially tropical rainforests. Many butterflies migrate in order to avoid adverse environmental conditions (like cold weather). Butterfly migration is not well understood. Most migrate relatively short distances (like the Painted Lady, the Red Admiral, and the Common Buckeye), but a few (like some Monarchs) migrate thousands of miles.
Rice Paper or Paper Kite Butterfly
Photographing butterflies is not extremely difficult, but to get the very best results I use a 180mm macro lens and a tripod. The longer focal length gives me more space to work so I do not have to get close and scare the butterfly. Also the longer focal length allows me to create the more soft out of focus backgrounds. The use of the tripod will almost always give you sharper images over hand held shots. I photograph them from my backyard butterfly garden to exotic butterfly houses. You can never have enough good butterfly photos in your portfolio.