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Melitaea phoebe.

Melitaea phoebe.
Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-05-12
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1600 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): European Butterflies 7 [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-05-17 13:09
Viewed: 5352
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 68
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Melitaea phoebe.

After a most unusual and untimely summer draught during the whole month of April, May has brought some long expected intervals of rain to Austria. Last saturday afternoon, when heading for a quickly decided short trip into the marshlands of the rivers Danube and Moravia to the east of Vienna, some heavy clouds of thunderstorm right in front of me looked even more attractive. And there was a cloudburst coming down the very moment I arrived. It was real fun to walk straight through the torrential rains, seeing the late afternoon sun come out after a few minutes again.

Wet meadows in full blossom were blinking in the evening sun, giant storks were circling again over giant nests built on giant oak trees, lots of butterflies sitting in the wet grass and basking in the sun before starting to continue their mating flights. A good time to watch and enjoy.

Melitaea phoebe (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)
Knapweed Fritillary
Przeplatka febe
Hnedáčik nevädzový
Hnědásek diviznový
Mélitée des centaurées
Doncella mayor

Subfamily: Heliconiinae
Family: Nymphalidae

Wingspan 44 - 48 mm.

First described from Vienna in 1775, the species is widely distributed from northwest Africa, Portugal and Spain through France, Italy, and southern central Europe into Russia, the Balkan, and Turkey, Mid East, Mongolia, and northern China. Not to be found in the UK, nor Fennoscandia. Living from sea level to 1900m, there are two generations at lower elevations. Melitaea phoebe prefers spots of dry open grassland between forests. Caterpillars feed on Centaurea.

The camera:
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, zoom setting 18mm tele macro(equivalent 105mm at full size SLR), F/5.6, 1/1600 sec., ISO-125, hand held, with flash. 12.05.2007, 17:48.

Usually, I do not use flash for insect macro. But here it was a temptation to do so when taking a picture against the bright sky from low point of view out of the wet grass. Reading F/5.6 and 1/1600sec in the exif data came as a surprise to me as I thought to have decided for smaller aperture setting, obviously having done something wrong with the settings. Just as surprising it was to see the still sufficient depth of field at F/5.6 in the result.

Photoshop Elements, just slightly cropped to the left and the right, downsized to the web, selectively resharpened, levels slightly adjusted.


L.G.Higgins, N.D.Riley: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas. Verlag Paul Parey, Hamburg und Berlin 1978.

Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Die Tagfalter Europas und Nordwestafrikas, Stuttgart 1998.

C.Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe: http://www.lepidoptera.pl/

For a closer look into the eyes, please click

>>> here.

Have a very good day.
Thank you for looking.

uleko, cicindela, Argus, XOTAELE, ramthakur, Alex99, delic, magal, phlr, JoseMiguel, scottevers7, cecilia, TAZ, anel, jmp, Janice, jonathan_hart, horia, snowfalken, jusninasirun has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To cicindela: "locus typicus"peter_stoeckl 1 05-20 14:37
To anel: Himmelfahrtstag :)peter_stoeckl 1 05-18 04:51
To magal: ... not our islandpeter_stoeckl 1 05-17 17:18
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-05-17 13:13]

Hello Peter,
I've been waiting for you to come up with something fantastic, and, here it is!! Brilliant capture of this Knapweed Fritillary from a very fine point of view and all very nicely in focus. Excellent sharpness and nice colours which stand out from the blue background.
Many thanks and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2007-05-17 13:14]

Hallo Peter
Sehr schöne Aufnahme dieses Falters, Farben, schärfe und nicht zuletzt die ungewönliche Perspektive, Super Ergebniss
Gruss Robi

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-05-17 13:24]

Hello Peter,
Superb shot of the underside of the Knapweed Fritillary. It isn't often we get the chance to get this POV with the wings open. Good use of fill flash to get the colours and sharpness right in this fine composition agaist a blue sky (after the rain).
Seems like a wonderful place you visited near Vienna.
Thanks for sharing this one,
Bet wishes, Ivan

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2007-05-17 13:28]

Hi Peter,
Awesome shot of this butterfly. Such brilliant colours and sharp details. Unusual POV and a great DOF. Perfect use of flash and the neat blue sky presents a fine BG. Amazing eyes it has. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

Hola Peter.
Fantástica pose y original POV.
Esta vista desde la parte inferior hace que la imagen en sí parezca más grande, con unos detalles más llamativos.
Preciosos colores y buena nota.
Hasta pronto y tfs, JL.

Hi Peter,
Woaw..! great picture and very nice capture of the " Melitaea phoebe "...!
Good sharpness and very beautiful colours..!
Very good shot here...!
Best regards,

What a great point of view to capture this beautiful butterfly against the sky, Peter!
You have shown the entire underside of it in the greatest detail possible.
A truly unique shot that deserves all the praise.
Best regards.

  • Great 
  • wuta Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 855 W: 2 N: 617] (2142)
  • [2007-05-17 13:45]

Hello Peter , Fantastic shot from this Butterfly , beautiful compositie colours sharpnes pov bg , great job ,tfs Greetings Teunie .

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-05-17 14:00]

Hi, dear Peter.
I am amazed with your next lesson on butterfly shooting. I study technique of this kind of photography this spring on your pictures and I will present my home task soon enough.

I like your creativity and fantasy so much. Your lowest POV and impressive scene are simply fantastic. Light and colours are wonderful too. It is not necessary to tell about composition: it's outstanding. I could not think that your camera flash works with so short exposure time (1/1600). Flash light is perfect. Unlike you, I like flash very much and use it rather often. Your note is amazing as well as the shot. Bravo, my dear friend and best wishes.

Hi Peter,
Great shot of this butterfly. details are very sharp.


  • Great 
  • delic Gold Star Critiquer [C: 440 W: 6 N: 310] (898)
  • [2007-05-17 14:17]

Hello Peter,
Impressive low pov looking up. I like the creativity you show in composing butterfly shots. Backlighting together with fill-flash has rendered balanced illumination. Great color and detail, too. Congratulations. Regards,

  • Great 
  • magal Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 224 W: 0 N: 313] (1251)
  • [2007-05-17 14:27]
  • [+]

Hi Peter,
Magnificent shot, with superb light management, brilliant POV and beautiful, contrasting BG. I find your composition outstanding in that it is very original and technically splendid.It seems this butterfly inhabits all our surroundings but not our island!

Impresionante. Perfecta.

Hi Peter,

Excellent shot
lovely lighting
Superb POV, compo, colours
great blue BG

TFS Thijs

Hi Peter,
Genial!!!! I love this picture, one of the best images on butterflies than I ver see. No negative critiques, ten points.

  • Great 
  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2007-05-17 19:13]

Uma belissima borboleta de uma exelente qualidade muito interessante esta foto de baixo pra cima muito boa.

HI Peter,
This is magic!
I don't know how do you do, but with each new presentation you do it better, if it is possible!
The fill flash used translates into a great detailed image, so well illuminated, both from above and under, and the beautiful patterns on the wings and their vivid colours can be enjoyed at its best!.
The overall image is like a dream, in wich everything is perfect!
My compliments and thanks for share it.
Best regards,

Hi Peter,
Great choice on the fill flash exposure. It gave a nice light balance here. Beautiful colors and detail. The unique low POV is superb. The blue sky backround is perfect. Very nice camera work!

A superb capture, lovely colours and detail.
A real beauty...well done

  • Great 
  • Swats Silver Star Critiquer [C: 37 W: 0 N: 3] (151)
  • [2007-05-18 2:10]

Wow! Fantastic POV Peter. Lovely details colours and composition. Loved it!

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-05-18 2:26]

Hola Peter,
precioso pov. y original
sorprendente captura,
los colores y el bg, maravillosos,
buen trabajo,

  • Great 
  • TAZ Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2241 W: 47 N: 3167] (10926)
  • [2007-05-18 2:42]

Hello my friend of Alps,
Wow ! This superb shot is a pleasure for eyes.
The "+++++" : composition, lovely subject, low POV, pose, colors, sharpness, DOF, sky in BG, great exposure with flash, instructive note...
The "-" : nothing...
Bravo Peter and thanks for sharing.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-05-18 4:12]
  • [+]

Hallo Peter,
Dieses Bild passt zum Himmelfahrtstag. Die Perspektive ist ausserordentlich gut gewählt, das Licht von unten und von oben perfekt gemeistert. Es ist eine ganz spezielle Aufnahme, wie eine Aussage.
Erstaunlich auch die blauen Augen, die dem Betrachter zugewandt sind.

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-05-18 13:19]

Hi Peter,
Outstanding ultra low pov that convert this photo in a bird-like capture! Beautiful colours, excellent details and a very nice contrast against the blue sky. Flash's worked specially well here, giving natural colours and a beautiful, bright light to the subject.
TFS and best regards,
José M.

Amazing Macro. Beautiful shot.

Hi Peter,
Dein Blickwinkel von unten ist wunderbar.
Die Flügel haben eine schöne Zeichnung und das Licht von oben läßt sie von alleine glühen.
Genialer Schuß, vielen Dank und Gruß
Sabine - wishnugaruda


Hey, I know this isn't a useful critique but all I can say is "WOW" and click "add to favorites"

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2007-05-18 23:37]

WOW. What a fantastic POV! Amazing eyes and eye contact. Outstanding exposure. Razor sharp with fine detail. Beautiful colors. Congratulations!

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2007-05-20 1:56]

Oh Peter - what a super image - so sharp, so clear, so colourful and fantastic!! And I love the close-up of the eyes too - BRAVO!

Hello Peter.

Excellent picture, very good details and colors.
Great composition.

Jose Luis.

Hello Peter!
It is nice to see your new picture again :)
This one has very original composition, I really like this point of view. I am not a specialist from Lepidoptera, but it looks for me very characteristic.
In the note I found one information which is usually overlooked in notes here on TN - a "locus typicus". It is nice to know from which place the first secimen of this species was known.
Have a nice evening and best breetings!

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2007-05-21 8:16]

Hi Peter

This is such a pleasant and beautiful macro shot! The colors here given to you by this interesting and also very good POV are simply brilliant and make one fall in love with this type of shooting.
The story you tell here is lovely, too and it makes me want to go on a trip again :)
Returning to the POV here, i must say it's a rather unconventional one, but, together with the fine usage of the flash, it gave you this wonderfully balanced pose of this lovely butterfly.
The details are really terrific and the colors are, as i already mentioned, strikingly beautiful.

Bravo and TFS

Hello Peter,

The POV in your pictures becomes more and more dynamic! I already feel as small as a bug in the grass and this "hangglider" is as large as the sky! :) It is a very good and unusual picture!


The composition is remarkable, with such an extraordinary, low POV! It shows us the butterfly from a different angle than the other photos. It also places the viewer into the world of the bugs. The empty space was well calculated around the butterfly to convey such strong emotions! It has a great impact! The blue sky is wonderful for the isolation of the subject and works perfectly from a chromatic POV too. I greatly admire the translucent effect you achieve in the wings of your butterflies. This is more than reflected light. You also deal with light passing through the subject. It is something that deserves whole my admiration.


The translucent colors are superb! You captured a wonderful orange-blue combination which emphasizes the butterfly very well. The wonderful textures in the wing build superb patterns that delight the eyes of the viewer. By including the green grass you added a more earthy element which enriches your color palette.


The contrast is excellent for a more or less backlit subject. It better defines all those fine details in the butterfly.


Exposure is spot on! It's incredible how you actually turn a potentially negative backlight situation into your advantage. This time you used the flash to overcome the strong light from behind and the results are outstanding. All the details are rendered perfectly. Very well done!


Excellent focus on the butterfly. In spite of the large aperture, the subject is sharp throughout its whole body as the DOF seems not to be too shallow. When you focus on subjects this close, I wonder if you are able to recompose the image without loosing the focus? I read about my lens, it would cause back-focusing if I focus on something closer than 5 m and recompose the image. They suggest focusing with one of the off-center sensors or even manually focusing the lens in those situations.

This is a picture of a kind we don't see every day. I appreciate your inventiveness and your originality in approaching your subjects. I will keep that in mind when going out next time! An outstanding presentation with complete notes as usual! Thanks for sharing!

With Friendly Regards,

Hi Peter,

This is a beautiful control of exposure shooting against the clear sky. The details and markings on the wings are well seen and the perch is simply stunning.

Well done and best regards,

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