Cape May Butterfly & Moth

Butterfly & Moth

Sounds like a pub for geckos.

These are from a day-trip I made to Cape May New Jersey in September.  Cape May is famous for birding in the fall as the migrations are in full flight but did you know butterflies migrate also?  Sure do and Cape May is a big butterfly stopover.  I always swing by the neighborhoods near the lighthouse where there are little public plot’s o’ land covered in flowers planted just for attracting and feeding these colorful travelers.   I am never disappointed and always snap something interesting.

The butterfly is a Question Mark (Polygonia interrogationis) and the moth (Hemaris thysbe) goes by a few names including Hummingbird hawkmoth and Hummingbird clearwing.   Both of these were firsts for me.  I always see something interesting in Cape May in the fall.

The moth is called a hummingbird because he hovers and some mistake it for a hummingbird.  I have no idea how anyone can mistake this insect for a bird but whatever……  Notice it looks like there are two different butterflies in the picture carousel…. Nope… just one.  That Question Mark is orange on the top and drab, and looks like a dead leaf underneath.

Shooting Tips

The best light for flowers and bugs is sunny with a slight overcast.   Too much sun, then your pictures have too much contrast and can look hard and harsh.  Not enough and it is hard to get all of the bug’s important parts in focus as you need a closed down shutter to improve depth of field.  Before I go shooting, I always check the weather reports and select the best days.

Most of these were shot at around f/8 and a fast shutter.  My lens was the very good kit lens that comes with Canon’s higher priced camera, the EF 24-105 L f/4.0 IS.  This lens is a great all around lens but I always found its focus a bit flaky so I always hit my focus button and snap over and over.  The focus accuracy is just not great and when you up this close, focus accuracy is critical.

To get close, you have to be patient and watch the buggers move around…. Watch the patterns…. Then get yourself down wind or where they seem to be congregating.  When you get into position, they will all be gone.  Now just wait, don’t move, and wonder what the heck is so wrong with you that you are spending an entire afternoon standing in dirt.

Finish off with a few beers at a local pub.

The Equipment:

  • Canon 5DSr
  • Canon EF 24-105 L f/4.0 IS
  • LightRoom 6.latest

Galleries: 5DSr, Bugs and Critters, and Butterflies. Tags: 24-105 f/4.0 and 5DSr.

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