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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: 2008-05-09
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
Exposure: f/4, 1/1000 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2008-05-16 5:13
Viewed: 4354
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 68
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

That morning on a bright and sunny day in May it was a quick decision to leave my work behind at downtown Vienna. After a lonesome drive through the plains east of Vienna I reached the river forests of Donau-March-Thaya National Park with its splendid large colonies of tree-breeding storks. A faboulous sight, but this time I was walking by and heading straight to a patch of dry meadows at the edge of swampy river forests, deliberately in search of a speciality of local butterflies.

Arriving there it was a silent moment with the sun hiding behind clouds. There was a single stork walking through the meadow in search of frogs, the sound of crickets, distant nightingales and orioles in the air, a peaceful place to sit and relax.

With the sun coming out again some yellow butterflies showed up at once, just as expected - and yet coming as a happy surprise. Rapidly flying close to the ground with quick strokes of wings and short glidings they were easily recognized but hard to approach.

The shadow of another cloud made them sit down in the vegetation again, and my attempts to get into picture-taking distance were successful in the end. Feeling happy with this year’s fresh observation in good numbers of a species that is considered to be severely endangered, even threatened by extinction in Austria.

Zerynthia polyxena (Denis & Schiffermüller, 1775)

Southern Festoon,
Zuidelijke pijpbloemvlinder,
Pestrokřídlec podražcový,
Pestroň vlkovcovový,
la Diane,

Family: Papilionidae
Subfamily: Parnassiinae

Wing span: 50 - 52mm

Distributed from South-Eastern France, Italy, Eastern Austria, Moravia, Slovakia, Hungary, the Balkan, Greece, Northern Turkey, Ukraine to Kasachstan, very locally in small colonies, the species was first described in 1775 from the region near Vienna I am reporting of now - the marshlands of the rivers Danube and Moravia to the east of Vienna which is now the protected area of Donau-March-Thaya National Park.

The butterfly may be seen in one generation in April and May on warm and dry grassland and at the edges of vineyards where Aristolochia clematitis, its feeding plant, can be found.

The species is highly endangered in most parts of its territory by rapid loss of habitat - by reforestation, intensified agriculture, or simply by turning "wasteland" into industrial estates, gas stations, shopping centres and parking lots.

The camera:
SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, zoom setting 19mm tele macro (equivalent 115mm at full size SLR), F/4, 1/1000 sec., ISO-125, bias -0.3, hand held, no flash. 09.05.2008, 11:40.

Photoshop Elements, slightly cropped, downsized to the web, selectively resharpened, levels slightly adjusted.


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

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

> Polyxena visiting Ornithogalum umbellatum.

Thank you for looking.
Have a very good day.

Miss_Piggy, Juyona, SelenE, cloud, nglen, smitha, eng55, Alex99, gracious, anel, CatherineD, Janice, flashpoint, vanderschelden, marhowie, Ken52, loot, phlr, cicindela, nirmalroberts, Argus, meyerd, uleko, horia, RII, valy67, maurydv has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To loot: ... an old world charmpeter_stoeckl 1 05-30 05:02
To marmottelolo: plus d'espacepeter_stoeckl 2 05-16 23:08
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter,

A wonderful presentation of this splendid butterfly. Perfect sharpness. Great detail of the scales on the wings. Splendid reproduction of the patterns and the colours on the wings of this butterfly.

Hallo Peter
This is really stunning and a WOW photo. Another Wow! for a most enjoyable sight. The rich and vibrant colours of the butterfly are stunning. Good focus and sharp details, and is of high quality and really outstanding. The photo is jam packed with awesome detail and features. It is actually difficult to describe the beauty of this butterfly. The arrangement of colours is breathtaking, and looks as if it was handpainted. Perfectly framed and pleasing to the eye. Congratulations. It was lovely to look at. Enjoy your day.
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2008-05-16 5:42]

Hola Peter,
perfecta macro,
interesante nitidez y color...
bello trabajo amigo,

  • Great 
  • SelenE Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2249 W: 65 N: 4205] (13972)
  • [2008-05-16 5:58]

Hi Peter,
A great macro shot. It's crisp sharp, very well focused, exposed and composed. Well done and TFS

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-05-16 6:48]

Hello Peter,
Wonderful photo of this butterfly. Everything in this photo is excellent. Sharpness, colours, DOF, BG, composition, etc.....
Very beautiful.

  • Great 
  • cloud Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 497 W: 111 N: 1535] (9539)
  • [2008-05-16 7:42]

Hello Peter,
Your trip was very profitable. Butterfly is great, excellent sharpness and bg.
Regards, Pawel

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-05-16 7:46]

Hi Peter . Firstly interesting notes about where and the butterfly itself. You have captured this beautiful one with fine detail and warm colours. It has some very good markings which you have captured so well. A nice POV/DOF. well done TFS.

she is beautiful Peter,
marvelous deails good qualiktyh and very nice composiktion, very good photojob here, I like it and thanks for sharing and the good note, have a fine weekend.
gr. jaap

  • Great 
  • eng55 Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1256 W: 42 N: 1976] (5892)
  • [2008-05-16 8:43]

Hi Peter,
Magnificent macro shot of this butterfly.Exposure is spot on,focus couldn't be better.Sharpness,clear details and framing are also perfect.
Thanks for posting.

bonjour peter
les motifs et details de ce papillon sont vraiment magnifique,la netteté est irreprochable et le BG neutre afin de bien mettre le sujet en valeur.
seul le cadrage me semble perfectible.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-05-16 9:53]

Hi dear Peter.
I am very glad to see your next wonderful butterfly shot. I have many shots of the same species which were note posted else. Yours is amazing. Superb POV, posture of the butterfly and as usual outstanding reproduction of all its charming details and features. Now I have full description of the species and can think to post mine or not :))). Bravo. Once more butterfly (Peter's) masterpiece.

Hello Peter,
Delighted to see your quality posting always!
many thanks for sharing such beautiful butterfly of Polyxena in it's best pose!
the subject is sharp with wonderful colour and superb details
very well done
take care and best regards

Hello Peter,
That's a real lovely shot of this rare species. Very good sharpness and colours. I like also your note well documented and your enthousiasm for nature.
Have a nice weekend,

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-05-16 11:37]

Lieber Peter,
Welch Schönheit, dieser Osterluzeifalter! Du hast ihn perfekt photographiert. Auch gefällt mir das zweite Bild auf dem Ornithogalum sehr gut. In der Schweiz ist dieser Falter leider ausgestorben. Ich hoffe nur, dass er uns von Osten oder Westen wieder zurückkehrt.
Herzlichen Dank und einen schönen Abend

  • Great 
  • Janice Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3277 W: 148 N: 6163] (18832)
  • [2008-05-16 13:20]

Hello Peter, you captured a beauty here. Excellent sharpness and details. Good lighting too. The blurred background and nice crop gives us a very pleasant image to view.
It is a lovely butterfly

ciao Peter,
the perfect capture show the extraordinary shapes and colors of this interesting Polyxena the colored drawings of the wings and the note
........ always exhaustive!!

best regards sERGIO

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2008-05-16 14:21]

Absolutely perfect image, Peter!!
The frame-filling composition is exceptional!
Very striking colours and excellent lighting.
Brilliant DOF and BG.
Impeccable image quality.
Very, very well done!


Hello Peter,
Very good work. Beautiful specie. Your point of view is often a bit different but nevertheless I just knew this was your work.
Well done as always:-)

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2008-05-16 21:29]

Technically Outstanding! This is exceptional butterfly photo with amazing light, color, focus, and detail. I like the full frame crop. Workshop photos are excellent also.

Hello Peter,
Beautiful picture of the Polyxena. Excellent POV and DOF. Superb clarity and sharpness. Great details on the wings and body.Lovely colours and a beautiful blurred background.
Thanks for the share,

Hi Peter

Excellent shot of this beautiful butterfly that I haven't seen before.
Great diagonal composition. Perfect sharpness and DOF. The OOf background is great to.

A perfect shot of this endangered species.


As usual, perfection!
Wonderfully presented...wings are so clean and clear. Great sharpness, excellent dof.

Hi Peter!
I'm just marking - I'll be back :)

Hi Peter,
Nice picture of lovely butterfly.
- Nirmal

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2008-05-20 9:04]

Hello Peter,
A superb capture of Z. polyxena. The technical aspects are perfect and I love the composition against the OOF green BG.
I didn't know this species is to be found in Austria and that you found several is very encouraging. In this day and age it is good to hear some positive news for a change and i thank you for that and for sharing this delightful image.
Best wishes, Ivan

  • Great 
  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2008-05-20 13:22]

Bonsoir Peter
Je suis de retour, très belle macro, très belle netteté et couleurs, très belle attitude du sujet.
Bravo, amicalement Robi

  • Great 
  • meyerd Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 585 W: 64 N: 2238] (7531)
  • [2008-05-21 12:34]

Hallo Peter,
Perfekt! Was mehr muss ich sagen nach den vielen Kommentaren? besonders gefreut hat mich die genaue Schilderung des Tathergangs.
Beste Grüsse

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-05-22 5:38]
  • [2] [+]

Hi Peter

Plain and simple – SUPER neat.

You know how strange it sounds to hear someone talk about "downtown" Vienna. The city that has been romanticised so much throughout the ages by way of literature and the arts is probably nothing but a normal city (home) for you people who live there every day of your lives, but for the rest it still holds a certain fantasy. An old world charm and fascination if you will.

Anyway, this is not an old world butterfly, but a very present and with it dazzler. Such amazing patterns and colours is a sight for sore eyes. Excellently captured with perfect exposure and lighting, great colour rendition, razor sharp details, and a rewarding DOF that separated the subject from its environment and made it stand out as if it is the only thing that matters, which it actually is for the purpose of this photo.

Very well done MF and TFS.

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2008-05-26 0:43]

Hello Peter,
It sounds like a wonderful area you're describing here and you also found a fantastic butterfly! I've only seen this beauty once, on Crete - a lovely experience!
Excellent capture, very sharp and colourful. Very well composed and it stands out very nicely against the smooth background. Well done!
TFS and kind regards, Ulla

  • Great 
  • horia Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2158 W: 224 N: 4749] (16656)
  • [2008-07-14 0:57]

Hi Peter

As i had another look through your gallery, i found myself in love with this one :)
Exceptional macro work here and they way you managed to take this one is really lovely!
The upper POV combined with the strong contrast between the BG and the colors of the butterfly, ensure that the shape, contour and texture of its wings will be so well enhanced and presented here. I think that's the key here.
Aside those features, the colors are all lovely, the compo is great and the presentation is terrific.


  • Great 
  • RII Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 481 W: 0 N: 895] (2862)
  • [2008-08-28 21:59]

Hi Peter.

Fantastic macro, excellent colors, tones ,details, sharp,point of view and composition, beautiful butterfly.good note.


Hello Peter,
Another beauty from your hand.
Wonderful details & textures, great BG too..
The comp is excellent, technically very well done.
Always a pleasure to view your shots :)

  • Great 
  • valy67 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1727 W: 59 N: 3060] (9219)
  • [2009-02-06 23:22]

Hallo Peter !
So ein wunderbarer Schmätterling ! Die Farben auf den Flügel sind wirklich toll. Das Bild ist sech gute Qualität, mit scharfe Details, schÖne natürliche Farben, schöne komponiert, une einen guten POV von oben, der une eine schöne Aussicht auf die öffenen Flügel erlaubt. Vielen Dank !

Hello Peter,
what a splendid macro shot of Zerynthia polyxena taken from an excellent POV to show the marvellous wings, the sharpness and details are outstanding, i like the bright colours and the wonderful blurred BG.
Best regards.

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