Pauline

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Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Pauline

Postby Pauline » Fri May 04, 2012 8:54 am

It has long been my intention to organise my growing mass of photos and document the events surrounding the shot. To that end this will initially be a historic record starting mostly in 2011. The photos were generally taken using a Lumix FZ38, hand held and without any close up lens.

I shall begin in April last year when I set out to get a photo of a Pearl Bordered Fritillary with the wings closed. I had been reliably informed that these insects roost on bracken and that was the best time to get a shot with the wings closed. Late one afternoon I set out for a little known site fairly close to me where a small colony could be found. It was still warm and sunny and the butterflies were very active so I waited patiently for the sun to go down. As afternoon turned into early evening the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries became more settled but spread their wings to soak up the last rays of sun.

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As the last of the sun's rays disappeared the Pearl Bordered Fritillaries promptly flew up into the neighbouring pine trees to roost in a perfect pose, wings closed, just out of reach!! Frustration just didn't come close as I had to leave empty handed so to speak. I was so disappointed I lay awake for a long time that night determined not to be beaten. Undeterred, At 4.00am the next morning I collected the stepladder and fifteen minutes later I was carrying it through the woods. I easily located my butterfly who had not moved and just as the light came up I got the shot I wanted before returning home for a well deserved breakfast.

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My next target was to be the Small Pearl Bordered Fritillary which I had never seen before. Adrian (Hoskins) had offered to accompany me to Bentley Wood and point me in the right direction for the Pearls. I had tried in the past to get to Bentley Wood on more than one occasion but a series of incidents had always prevented it. The last time I had managed to get half way when a large vehicle ran into the back of me and my car was written off!! Ah well, third time lucky I thought. Adrian is very knowledgeable about butterflies and I am told the butterfly tours he organises to Peru and other far flung places are excellent. His website, Learnaboutbutterflies is definitely worth a look.

By the time we arrived at Bentley Wood we could see that the many photographers who were already there were packing up their equipment as the storm clouds were gathering and the first drops of rain were falling. Undeterred, Adrian led the way to the clearing and with the unsettled weather we were easily able to locate a number of Small Pearl Bordered Fritillaries which were very easy to photograph.

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My next port of call was Botany Bay at Chiddingfold to see the first brood of the wonderful Wood White, a butterfly which is high on my list of favourites. They are such charming, delicate creatures and look so ethereal.

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....... and another. I could continue to take photos of this species and never get bored with them.

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During one of my many happy visits to Botany Bay I met up with Susie who highly recommended a vist to Denbies which is one of her regular haunts. Aberrations are frequently reported from this site so off I set. I seem to be unlucky with the weather quite often but I have learnt from experience not to let this deter me. Nevertheless, these storm clouds were quite daunting.

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I found very few butterflies that day and below is one of them. Technically, it is probably not a very good photo but I like it and that is good enough reason to include it.

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Last edited by Pauline on Fri May 04, 2012 9:23 am, edited 1 time in total.

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Rogerdodge
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Location: North Devon

Re: Pauline

Postby Rogerdodge » Fri May 04, 2012 9:18 am

Pauline
Your photographs are beautiful.
It just goes to illustrate a point ofetn made on here by the more experienced photographers - bright sunny days are not the best for photographing butterflies.
The soft and warm lighting early or late in the day is a joy, and the lack of heavy contrast you get on a dull day gives superb results.
Obvioulsy better fieldcraft is needed to locate the insects, but that is another joy in itself.
I really look forward to more of your pictures.
Thanks
Cheers

Roger

Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Pauline

Postby Pauline » Fri May 04, 2012 10:03 am

Thank you for your kind comments Roger- they are greatly appreciated. I do not really consider myself a photographer but go out with enthusiasm, optimism and determination .... and a good photo is a bonus! BUT, I am keen to learn so if anyone has any constructive comments as my diary progresses they would be very welcome.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Pauline

Postby Neil Hulme » Fri May 04, 2012 11:10 am

Hi Pauline,

Some lovely shots there. Your photography has come on in leaps and bounds over the last couple of years. You're beginning to look quite dangerous with that FZ38 :lol: .

Best Wishes, Neil

Debbie
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Re: Pauline

Postby Debbie » Fri May 04, 2012 12:37 pm

How lovely to see your wonderful pictures :D

Debbie

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NickMorgan
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Re: Pauline

Postby NickMorgan » Fri May 04, 2012 12:40 pm

Great pictures of some lovely butterflies.

Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Pauline

Postby Pauline » Fri May 04, 2012 1:20 pm

Thank you so much Debbie and Nick for your kind compliments. Neil, I was delighted to read your post as you, possibly more than anyone, have been a source of inspiration and I have tried to put your advice and suggestions to good use - thank you.

Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Pauline

Postby Pauline » Fri May 04, 2012 2:57 pm

Spring 2011 brought with it some lovely weather so I was looking forward to my planned trip to Wheelers Bay, IOW to see the Glanville Fritillaries. I had been there before, several years before, but a combination of my dreadful sense of direction and various traffic hold-ups resulted in the journey taking twice as long as it should have done. As I eventually drove into the car park above the bay, yes you've guessed .... the leaden skies opened and the rain poured down. Added to that it was cold - really cold. I had a jumper on under my coat and as I sat in the car I debated whether it would not be more appropriate just to head off for some lunch at a country pub with a nice roaring log fire. Still, I'd come all this way so with no expectations at all, down I went, only to be delighted to find at least a dozen Glanvilles. Result!! Being battered by the rain and the sea spray they were reluctant to move so getting close was not difficult - if only I'd had my close up lens then!

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After all this effort I was less than amused to return home only to discover there was a thriving colony virtually on my doorstep, albeit an unofficial release dating back many years.

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Each year I try to see a couple of species of butterfly that I have not seen before and this year was no exception. One of those was the Heath Fritillary and for that I had to make the long trip to Kent. Long journeys are quite difficult for me to organise as I have a lot of animals to care for, my 'waifs and strays' as Neil calls them. By the time I reached the venue the butterflies were very active so any sort of photo was proving to be quite difficult. At least I managed a record shot!

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Yet again I returned home to find that there had been sightings locally among the aforementioned Glanvilles!

This outing was followed by another trip to Botany Bay. My regular visits to this site have a dual purpose as I have a friend who lives on the fringes of Chiddingfold Wood. A visit to her is the perfect opportunity for more butterfly photography.

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I was heading back along the track to my car one evening when I almost stood on a pair of mating Wood Whites. Luckily they saw me first and flew up onto this plant. I rather like how the shape of the flower head is mirrored by the butterfly's wings.

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Oaken Wood adjoins Botany Bay and at the entrance to this wood is a meadow which is awash with butterflies at the right time of year including these Marbled Whites:

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Skippers are also to be found roosting in this meadow.

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David M
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Re: Pauline

Postby David M » Fri May 04, 2012 3:42 pm

These are excellent images, Pauline. I look forward to seeing many more.

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Neil Hulme
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Re: Pauline

Postby Neil Hulme » Fri May 04, 2012 4:48 pm

Hi Pauline,

That shot of mating Wood Whites is exceptionally good - and really quite rare! That's a 10/10 image.

Neil

Susie
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Joined: Wed Mar 19, 2008 6:34 pm

Re: Pauline

Postby Susie » Fri May 04, 2012 5:28 pm

Pauline, your diary is a joy and your photos are beautiful! :D

Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Pauline

Postby Pauline » Fri May 04, 2012 7:30 pm

Thank you David - I can assure you there are plenty more to come.

Susie and Neil you are giving my confidence a massive boost. I have to tell you that you will both be mentioned again in future 'episodes' so watch this space :D

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Neil Freeman
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Location: Solihull, West Midlands

Re: Pauline

Postby Neil Freeman » Fri May 04, 2012 8:20 pm

Hello Pauline,

Nice reports and some beautiful photos.

As another FZ38 user I am always interested to see what other users can produce with this camera and your shots are amongst some of the best I have seen. I do not know much about the technical aspects of photography, I just know what I like, and I like your photos a lot.

I have enjoyed this diary and look forward to future instalments.

Neil F.

Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Pauline

Postby Pauline » Fri May 04, 2012 8:46 pm

I feel incredibly lucky to be within 10 minutes drive of a number of excellent butterfly sites. Included in these is Oxenbourne Down where I have spent many enjoyable hours watching large numbers of butterflies. I was taking photos of Chalkhill Blues here last year when I realised one looked quite odd - it had silvery blue spots on the hind wings more reminiscent of a Silver Studded Blue but to the best of my knowledge the latter do not occur at this site, the nearest location being Broxhead Common. I took a number of photos but these were accidentally deleted from my camera before being copied to my PC. Thankfully, once again the butterfly was still there the following morning so I was able to take the following photo:

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By way of comparison a 'typical' Chalkhill Blue below:

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Grizzled and Dingy Skippers are also plentiful at this site - if you can find them. Their camouflage can be amazing.

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A Large White from this site also.

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Last year was a poor one for the Silver Spotted Skipper at Oxenbourne and I struggled to find only half a dozen. I hope I have more success in 2012.

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I was fortunate to find this very pretty Small Copper at Oxenbourne. The photo really does not do it justice as the colours were incredibly vibrant and I have never seen another one quite like it.

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I had not long had the FZ38 and had gone to Noar Hill (another nearby site) to try it out, snapping at anything that moved including these Small Coppers. My concentration was on the functionality that the camera provided and I was not paying too much attention to the subjects. When the photos were loaded onto the PC I was quite amused to see that one Small Copper had company!

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Wurzel
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Re: Pauline

Postby Wurzel » Fri May 04, 2012 9:21 pm

Very beautiful photos Pauline, I'm looking forward to seeing more and they're helping me through these dark days!

Have a goodun

Wurzel

Paul Harfield
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Location: Hampshire

Re: Pauline

Postby Paul Harfield » Fri May 04, 2012 9:46 pm

Hi Pauline

Lovely photos and great to hear the stories behind them, especially from a fellow Hampshire butterfly watcher.


Pauline wrote:I was so disappointed I lay awake for a long time that night determined not to be beaten. Undeterred, At 4.00am the next morning I collected the stepladder and fifteen minutes later I was carrying it through the woods. I easily located my butterfly who had not moved and just as the light came up I got the shot I wanted before returning home for a well deserved breakfast


Now that is commitment :o

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Vince Massimo
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Re: Pauline

Postby Vince Massimo » Fri May 04, 2012 11:56 pm

Those are all superb images Pauline and your diary is a joy. I look forward to seeing what will follow. Could you possibly post some of your photos into the Species-Specific Album please?

Vince

Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Pauline

Postby Pauline » Sat May 05, 2012 6:06 am

Thank you for your kind remarks Neil F. I am not technical either but our cameras seem very suitable for either the novice or the more experienced photographer. Having had the camera for a year I have only just built up enough confidence to take it off the automatic setting!!! I have also just acquired a close up lens which has seen very little use so far so I will be interested to discover how well it will perform this season - if this rain ever stops!

Vince if you let me know which of my photos you think are worthy enough to go in the Species-specific albums I will happily put them there.

Jackz432r thank you for the compliment - I think we should all wear name badges out in the field so we are immediately recognisable :lol:

Thank you so much Wurzel - with this continuous dreadful weather I think our photos is the closest any of us are getting to butterflies :(

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P.J.Underwood
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Location: S.W.Surrey

Re: Pauline

Postby P.J.Underwood » Sat May 05, 2012 6:34 am

Pauline,
I think your photo's are up with the best,and I mean Nick's.Perhaps I can learn more this year.
I have already raised the idea of using proper names so we can be recognisable in the field.It would make it so much easier when bumping in to someone and not having to keep asking them their name,especially for someone like myself who has great difficulty with remembering names.Perhaps a badge should be the thing of the year.
P.J.U.

Pauline
Posts: 1964
Joined: Mon Jun 11, 2007 1:49 pm
Location: Liphook, Hants

Re: Pauline

Postby Pauline » Sat May 05, 2012 10:49 am

Thank you Philip but I think it's only fair to say that Nick's photography skills far outstrip mine. In fact I am grateful to him for the hints and tips he shared with me on several enjoyable outings together and he has probably been one of my harshest critics which has spurred me on to improve :D


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