Large white

insect on lavender
About the only good thing about having a full hard drive is that it forces me to revisit old files, looking for things I can delete. In the process, I often find images that didn’t make the cut first time around but have grown on me since. These two butterfly shots are the case in point, taken in July 2011 at Mayfield Lavender farm, Banstead, Surrey.
insect on lavender
The large white butterfly, so prosaically named, is ubiquitous here in Surrey (and probably everywhere else in England) and it tends to get overlooked for more unusual species, but actually it is really quite pretty when you look closely. I like the eyes, with a subtle hint of green. If it was rare, we’d all be waxing lyrical about its ghostly beauty.

Common Blue


It’s been several weeks since I was last here. I’ve missed it.  I just pressed the button on my dissertation!   I can no longer tinker with it; it’s done.  All I need to do now is bind and drop off the hard copies tomorrow.  I am excited to be able to get back to the blog.  I hope you haven’t all given up on me!

I couldn’t completely leave the camera alone for the whole summer.  Here’s a shot of a lovely little common blue butterfly, captured while on holiday in Sark in July.  See you after college tomorrow!

Small White


I would dearly love to photograph butterflies in flight but this is no easy task.  Their flight path is ridiculously erratic and their wings flap right over their heads making focus on the eyes almost impossible.


It’s teasing me

I tried to capture this one for a long time one day last summer.  I can almost imagine it’s looking at me thinking: shall I, shan’t I?


Seriously dodgy, but it’s a start

This is the best shot I got that day.  Yes, it’s not terribly good, but at least you can tell it’s a butterfly 😉  I will try again this year. Although I have planted for insects, my garden sees very few butterflies, but a wildflower park has recently been planted not too far away and it will hopefully be open to the public for the first time this spring.  Come on Spring, hurry up!

Autumn fire

Sumach leaves
Continuing the Autumn theme, this post features images of my sumach tree. The leaves turn the most gorgeous shades of orange, red and even pink at this time of year. As the tree catches the last rays of sun to leave my garden, it is a popular spot with the garden’s minibeasts too.
spider on sumach
A few days ago, I featured a tiny green spider which I misidentified as the cucumber green orb spider. I really should stop trying to identify minibeasts because I get it wrong oftener than I get it right! I now think that little critter was nigma walckenaeri. Oh well. I am, therefore not even going to try to identify this little gem of a spider crouching under a sumach leaf. Any spider experts out there, by all means chip in! Suffice it to say it’s a pretty little thing, for a spider.
green and red spider
Here it is again, toning in rather nicely with its colourful surroundings. I was trying to get under the tree to photograph the little fellow when an altogether more conventionally beautiful surprise visitor alighted on another leaf.
butterfly on leafThis delight is a ‘small copper’. I have never seen one of these in my garden before. It rested for a few seconds, just time for me to get a couple of hasty grab-shots.
butterfly on sumach
What a beauty, its colours perfect for Autumn! Seeing it quite made my day.
sumach leaves
I was planning to fell this tree as it is in the wrong place for all sorts of reasons. It has made tons of small sumachs which I can plant in a better place. But, after all this colour and buggy action, to fell it seems rather ungrateful, doesn’t it?

Holly Blue

butterfly on verbena


I was pleased to bag a shot of a tiny Holly Blue butterfly in my garden this morning, having chased a Brimstone around without success.  The butterflies and bees love verbena bonariensis – such a reliable self-seeder here and conveniently at head height for photographers with dodgy backs!

A non-buggy post tomorrow, I promise!

The weekend summer arrived

butterfly on verbena
This weekend, summer finally arrived in our little corner of the British Isles. And with it came the butterflies. This Comma (polygonia c-album) just loved the verbena bonariensis in my garden.

butterfly on verbena
I played around with the image in Photoshop. Well, why not?

butterfly on verbena
It was a tatty fellow, even for a Comma, with a notch out of its rear right wing, but that didn’t seem too much of a handicap.

The honey bees were enjoying the verbena too. Nice to see some more about today. They have not enjoyed our very wet and cold weather.

How did you enjoy the weekend? I hope yours was as good as mine. 🙂


“Hope is a good thing, maybe the best of things, and no good thing ever dies.” Andy Dufresne, The Shawshank Redemption.

I decided to have a go at the Quotography challenge on Nick Exposed. Each participant submitted three quotations. Then they were jumbled up and we were sent three from someone else with the challenge to photograph them. I can’t claim a great deal of success. I only did two of the quotations I received and one of those is best described as developmental. This is the best.
The problem with this quote was that ‘Hope’ as an abstract concept can be represented by almost anything. My team mate, my eleven year-old daughter, and I agreed that we didn’t want to photograph a flower, or a landscape, or any other random thing simply because its beauty might suggest hope. We wanted to represent Hope more specifically. My daughter, a fan of myths and legends, suggested the story of Pandora’s box, in which hope is sometimes described as a white butterfly. I liked the idea of using a living thing to represent hope as it tied in with the last part of the quote, and having it emerge from incarceration in the box also suggested the movie from which the quote came. Luckily, I owned a suitable box and I had some shots of a white butterfly taken last year. We lit the box from within by placing my iPhone inside with the torch app enabled. In a dark room, with tripod and self-timer, I photographed the box, and then enhanced the light effect and added the butterfly and a texture in Photoshop.