Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

Red admiral butterfly on basket-flower

with 42 comments

Red Admiral Butterfly on Basket-Flower 3998

Here’s a ventral view of a red admiral butterfly (Vanessa atalanta) on a basket-flower (Centaurea americana) in Leander on the first day of June.

© 2015 Steven Schwartzman

Written by Steve Schwartzman

June 25, 2015 at 5:32 AM

42 Responses

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  1. nice!


    June 25, 2015 at 5:35 AM

  2. ‘Tis a lovely shot, Steve.

    Steve Gingold

    June 25, 2015 at 5:57 AM

  3. Steve, Apart from a wonderful capture of this butterfly, I like how you’ve also shown the delicacy of the lavender in the flower. Excellent work! Liked.


    June 25, 2015 at 6:40 AM

    • Thanks, Janina. In this case the basket-flower was subsidiary to the butterfly, but there have been plenty of times when I’ve made this wildflower a star subject in its own right.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2015 at 6:46 AM

      • You’ll have to give us a link, so that we can see…at FAA by any chance?


        June 25, 2015 at 6:52 AM

        • Probably better than any currently on FAA is the “classic” one I used for my first Portraits of Wildflowers blog post:


          Steve Schwartzman

          June 25, 2015 at 7:00 AM

          • It is SO beautiful…and it is your gravatar!! I approve. lol. I think it belongs on FAA too! ❤


            June 25, 2015 at 7:20 AM

            • Thanks for your appreciation, Janina. Yes, I chose it as my Gravatar because the photograph was a step forward in my way of seeing nature. As much as I like the image, it’s from 15 years ago and the digital camera I used, though very good in its day, produced pictures only several megabytes in size. I’ve scaled the photograph up since then, but there’s a limit.

              Steve Schwartzman

              June 25, 2015 at 7:26 AM

              • Oh…what a pity! Maybe have it there as a greeting card, that doesn’t require large pixelsize.


                June 25, 2015 at 7:34 AM

  4. Sometimes familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, but happiness. It’s wonderful to see this basket-flower and remember the extravagant colonies of them I happened across recently. I’m sure the butterfly is just as happy with its basket-flower, although I suspect it had a few more close by, waiting for its visit.


    June 25, 2015 at 6:57 AM

    • You’re right, there were other basket-flowers near this one in Leander that day, but not as many as in the expansive colony I featured here last month from the Blackland Prairie along the Pflugerville-Round Rock border. You’re also right that no amount of familiarity with this wildflower will ever breed contempt; no matter how many basket-flowers I’ve seen and photographed, I’ve never not wanted to stop and take more pictures.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2015 at 7:05 AM

  5. It’s great to see someone else who likes to study the more drab ventral surfaces of the wings of a flashy butterfly or moth. So many wait for the classic pose with wings spread in full display. Nicely done, Steve!


    June 25, 2015 at 9:42 AM

    • Thanks, but you may be giving me too much credit here, Gary. I like the wings-spread-wide dorsal view as much as anyone else, but I’ll take (and take pictures of) whatever I can get. As you know, not all butterflies are cooperative, and plenty of them fly away before I’ve had a chance to record anything worthwhile.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2015 at 9:46 AM

      • I sure do. My biggest challenges, I think, have been with hawk- or hummingbird-moths and skippers. They fly so fast it’s a wonder that they have time to think before they choose a landing spot and execute their landings. I’ve often thought that their brains must work at many times the speed of ours.


        June 25, 2015 at 11:03 PM

        • Their brains work at many times the speed of ours for certain things, but I don’t think their brains would be very good at typing this comment or driving a car.

          Steve Schwartzman

          June 26, 2015 at 6:38 AM

  6. Bellísima mariposa y perfecta la imagen que has obtenido. Felicidades!

    • Hace algunos años aprendí que esta especie de mariposa se halla en Europa también, lo que me sorprendió.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 25, 2015 at 3:00 PM

  7. How can you go wrong with a beautiful flower and a butterfly? A winning combination, Steve. Not unusual for you of course. 🙂


    June 25, 2015 at 6:21 PM

  8. Wonderful detail, great contrast!

    Birder's Journey

    June 25, 2015 at 8:11 PM

  9. so beautiful.


    June 25, 2015 at 10:13 PM

  10. Love the superb detail and the quality of the color you captured, it is such a wonderful way to end my day…I am always so amazed by these creatures.

    • They are indeed fun to see, but so inconsiderate in the way they often fly off at the slightest movement from a would-be photographer.

      Steve Schwartzman

      June 26, 2015 at 6:36 AM

  11. Nice capture.

    Raewyn's Photos

    June 26, 2015 at 5:23 PM

  12. Lovely capture! The butterfly really stands out in the picture with the soft colours of the flower.

    Girl Gone Expat

    July 3, 2015 at 6:05 PM

    • From your travels you may already know that Texas is home to many kinds of butterflies. The red admiral is a common one here. We also have a large number of native wildflower species.

      Steve Schwartzman

      July 3, 2015 at 6:15 PM

      • I was not aware of that. Texas in not a state I have spent too much time in. It is just too hot down there for a northerner like myself:)

        Girl Gone Expat

        July 3, 2015 at 6:21 PM

        • I’m also originally from the north (New York) but my body doesn’t do well in the cold and doesn’t mind the heat, so I’ve been in Texas for almost 40 years.

          Steve Schwartzman

          July 3, 2015 at 6:37 PM

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