Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Buckeye butterfly

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Buckeye Butterfly on Mountain Pink Scaffolding 3994

Out at Warbler Vista on June 15th I found this buckeye butterfly, Junonia coenia, on the “scaffolding” of some mountain pinks, Centaurium beyrichii.

© 2014 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

July 27, 2014 at 7:04 AM

29 Responses

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  1. One of my favorite butterflies, seems rare now up north.

    Pamela Breitberg

    July 27, 2014 at 7:07 AM

    • I don’t know a lot about butterflies, but this one is common enough in central Texas that I’ve learned to identify it. Sorry to hear it’s getting rare up north.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2014 at 7:44 AM

  2. What a gorgeous photo. The butterfly seems to be posing, the better to show off its (1) beauty, or (2) battle scars. And kudos to you for even being able to capture the image. I know mountain pinks, and unless there were some cliffs or other elevation changes involved, you had to scrunch down a little for this one.


    July 27, 2014 at 7:10 AM

    • This buckeye seemed ailing, and more so than just from the chomp taken out of its wing. The butterfly apparently couldn’t fly away, and that made my work as a photographer easier than usual, though I did do my usual thing of getting down low. As I recall, I sat down alongside the mountain pink plant (I always carry a mat with me for sitting and lying down). The entrance road to Warbler Vista takes visitors uphill for some distance, but the plant in the picture was growing in a flat area, not on a cliff.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2014 at 7:55 AM

  3. So beautiful.


    July 27, 2014 at 8:33 AM

  4. It’s a beauty. Have you seen any monarchs this summer? I’ve seen two. Woe is me.


    July 27, 2014 at 8:34 AM

  5. Gorgeous shot of one of my favorites. Buckeyes are not residents up here in the north; in years of abundance they expand into northern regions and we see them toward the end of summer. Although I hung up my butterfly net some years ago, yesterday I walked what was my route and I saw swarms of Monarchs. Overall I would say numbers of other species are down because of the cold and wet early in the season.
    I sure love how this photo is composed!


    July 27, 2014 at 9:24 AM

    • It’s good to hear you saw swarms of monarchs up there yesterday. We may see some of the very same ones passing through Austin in the fall.

      Thanks for mentioning the photo’s composition. I don’t often get a butterfly on such a detailed backdrop.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2014 at 9:59 AM

      • Yeah, my sense was the numbers were about what I used to see back in the day but I would have to go back to my records to check.

        Will this beautiful Buckeye be available to purchase??? I checked right away but didn’t see it there. Like others, I would buy a book should you ever put one together. That way I could enjoy your work all the time. You have no idea how hard it is to click delete after I’ve savored your posts!


        July 27, 2014 at 10:06 AM

        • Thanks for your vote of confidence, Melissa. Even after you delete your e-mailed posts, the Internet copies are still always available, and they have the added bonus of being searchable as a group using the search box in the upper right.

          I have so many nature photographs, including more than 1200 that have appeared so far just in this blog, that it’s hard to know which ones to make available on Fine Art America. I wouldn’t have thought to include this buckeye there because of its damaged wing, but since you’ve asked for it I’ve gone ahead and put it up. (It’s currently on page 2 over there, but I periodically add and rearrange, so pictures shift their positions.)

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 27, 2014 at 10:46 AM

  6. Butterflies are fascinating creatures, love them all and is wonderful to see this one with opened wings! Many shots taken are showing this creatures only from a side angle, so this particular one is a full joy from one tip of the wing to the other tip of the wing! Great beauty!


    July 27, 2014 at 12:24 PM

    • I can tell you from experience that it’s hard to time a picture to the usually brief moments when a butterfly’s wings are wide open, and in addition the sensor in the camera should be roughly parallel to those open wings in order to get all the parts sharp. I managed to do that here, but it’s not always possible. With a butterfly whose wings stay mostly closed, often the only choice is to aim from the side, as you mentioned. The patterns on the upper and lower sides of the wings can be quite different, so there’s an advantage to doing both whenever possible.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2014 at 3:47 PM

  7. I’ve not seen a Buckeye butterfly so I am envious of both the experience and the image. I have a backpack for my kit and the tripod pocket holds a rolled up carpet sample. Not very large, but enough for a knee or two. Good addition.

    Steve Gingold

    July 27, 2014 at 3:01 PM

    • Aladdin must be glad to hear about your magic carpet. Mine’s bigger than yours (is that a boast?), and it’s a piece of an exercise or sleeping mat rather than a carpet. Certainly saves wear and tear on the knees and keeps a lot of the prickly stuff that’s out there in nature in Texas from invading my skin.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 27, 2014 at 3:52 PM

      • That’s fine….I’ve no problems in that arena. 🙂
        I photograph in wetlands a lot so, although it doesn’t keep my knees dry, it does keep them fairly clean and mudless as well as the sharp ended stuff similar to what you find.

        Steve Gingold

        July 27, 2014 at 4:01 PM

        • For wetlands and creeks I have a pair of hip-high rubber boots. They’re also helpful on dry land for walking through areas where chiggers are likely.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 27, 2014 at 7:02 PM

  8. What a star!!!


    July 27, 2014 at 9:51 PM

  9. What a poetic photo you’ve produced for us this week, Steve… the beautiful butterfly at rest against the lacework of those pinks. Great texture and colour.

    Mary Mageau

    July 28, 2014 at 7:46 PM

    • I’ll take poetic any time, Mary, so thanks. I think this is the only butterfly I’ve ever photographed against such a lattice of flower stalks.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 28, 2014 at 8:03 PM

  10. […] search engine may think my picture of a buckeye butterfly is free for other people to use, but I beg to […]

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