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Parnassius apollo.

Parnassius apollo.
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: 2007-07-21
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC-H5
Exposure: f/5.0, 1/640 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Date Submitted: 2007-07-27 2:49
Viewed: 6095
Favorites: 5 [view]
Points: 66
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Parnassius apollo.

A female of the Red Apollo, just landed on one of its favorite feeding plants, a high growing thistle (Cirsium heterophyllum All.)

For another view of the same individual, please klick

>>> here.

Parnassius apollo (Linnaeus, 1758)

Red Apollo, Roter Apollo, Apollofjäril, Niepylak apollo, Jasoň červenooký, Mariposa Apollo, Apollon.

Family: Papilionidae
Subfamily: Parnassiinae

Wing span: 65 - 80 mm.

Once wide spread but local from West Siberia, the Tienshan into most parts of Europe with the exception of Ireland, the UK and the mediterranean islands, but also reported from Sicily. In the southern parts of Europe to be seen in more or less isolated small local populations in medium mountain elevations, in northern Europe (i.e. the southern parts of Sweden and Finland) even in the lowlands, these large, slow flying and very conspicuous butterflies are among the most well known ones, well familiar to most of us from numerous illustrations and collections, but since decades hardly ever seen in the field.

Severly chased down for its sheer beauty, Parnassius apollo may be one of very few species of insects that were brought to extinction in some regions of Central Europe by mad collectors a century ago. But, as in most other cases of severely endangered or extinct butterflies, the rapid destruction of natural habitats by 20th century agriculture and forestry has made the Red Apollo disappear in most of its former regions of distribution in Europe.

The Red Apollo needs a very specific habitat of dry and rocky places where its larval feeding plants, mostly Sedum album, can thrive. And as an adult it needs flowering meadows with blossoms rich with nectar. Both places have rapidly been destroyed in the last decades by "cleaning" barren stony grounds, by overexploiting meadows that are cut three or even four times a year instead of only once a year, by forests spreading into once extensively used small patches of grasslands.

In many Alpine valleys with steep, rocky slopes that are luckily hard to reach for human intervention, the Red Apollo still seems to have a good refuge, and the majestical butterflies may be seen flying from May to August in one extended generation in elevations between 600m and 2000m, most of the time in inaccessibly steep territories well out of reach for a man with a camera.

Having seen them repeatedly both in the Alpine mountains south of Vienna, and in the lower parts of the Tyrolese Oetztal valley, I intended to get a good shot in July this year. But there, again, I didn't succeed.

The location:

The place where I was finally and unexpectingly successful was Langschlag forest, a gentle hilly region 900 meters above sealevel in northern Lower Austria called "Waldviertel" where the species of Parnassius apollo has gone extinct decades ago.

The Red Apollo was brought back to live there quite recently - thanks to a generous local gentleman's private initiative. About 12 years ago he purchased many acres of land, cleared trees, piled up thousands of ton of stones, brought in an thousands of larval feeding plants, and created a most beautiful, very diversified flowering landscape of scrubs and meadows, groups of trees, rocks, and ponds. A paradise for rare and even extinct local butterflies that are bred here and set free into a habitat where they can go on living and spread again.

"Schmetterlingsparadies Langschläger Wald" - an exciting place for nature lovers, offers very good chances to watch Purple Emperors, Camberwell Beauties, various Coppers and Blues, even the Red Apollo may cross your path or may even be seen sucking on high growing flowering plants along a path that is leading 2 kilometres through a very versatile, most beautifully shaped renaturated landscape garden.

So much on the possible merits of human intervention of people who are ready to invest time and money in returning parts of our countryside into diversified natural habitats, instead of creating gulf courses, or investing into horse racing courts.

The camera:

SONY DSC-H5, 3072 x 2304 pixel, sRGB, 17mm macro zoom (equivalent 100mm at full size SLR), F/5, 1/640 sec., ISO-125, hand held, no flash. 21.07.2007, 14:31.


Photoshop Elements, cropped to the left, resized to web, resharpened, levels slighty adjusted.


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

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

Schmetterlingsparadies Langschläger Wald. Der Landschaftspark im Waldviertel. www.schmetterlingsparadies.at.

Thank you for looking.
Have a very good day of summer.

wallhalla15, Argus, uleko, PaulH, ramthakur, Proframe, vanderschelden, jmp, GLEM, keanhoon, marhowie, limier, JoseMiguel, Aaltjie, Debz, ridvan, Silke, gannu, anel, jhm, snowfalken, Alex99, phlr, Christopher_PL, manyee, angybone, loot has marked this note useful
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Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To loot: ... oooh shucks : )peter_stoeckl 1 07-30 06:04
To wishnugaruda: Apollopeter_stoeckl 1 08-13 05:56
To loot: ... crazy monitorpeter_stoeckl 1 08-03 01:52
To wallhalla15: Vielfalt der Schmetterlingepeter_stoeckl 1 08-02 09:56
To snowfalken: Thank you, Eddiepeter_stoeckl 1 08-02 07:38
To Aaltjie: ... stunning :o)peter_stoeckl 1 07-28 13:49
To anel: Apollo - und das Videopeter_stoeckl 1 07-28 13:38
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-07-27 2:56]

Hi Peter,
an excellent shot of this Red Apollo.
Brilliant note and I'm glad you finally succeeded in photographing this beautiful butterfly.
Very sharp and very detailed with an excellent POV.
Well done,

Hallo Peter,
Gratulation zu diesen wunderbaren Ritterfalter. Ich beneide Dich um die Vielfalt Eurer Schmetterlinge. ;-)
Ich befürchte, dass ich den Hochalpen-Apollo wohl nie live sehen werde. Technisch und gestalterisch ist dieses Foto, wie immer, ein Augenschmaus. Erstklassige Perspektive, Bildgestaltung einwandfrei, sehr gute Schärfe und Tiefenschärfe und sehr schöne Farben. Danke Dir für diesen Leckerbissen.

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-07-27 3:01]

Hello Peter,
This is a butterfly close to my heart and you have captured this Appollo female beutifully and from an unusual POV that allows us to see all the aspects of this butterfly including the fact that this lady has lost her virginty and is bearing a sphragis.
Amazingly sharp DOF for the relatively low aperture. A lovely high summer picture.
Great note too!
Thanks for showing this and for your kind words about my Emperor shot.
Best wishes, Ivan

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-07-27 3:09]

Hello Peter,
This is a wonderful butterfly, I love the transparent wings and its lovely flight. Your capture of it on the thistle is very beautiful and shows the transparency really well against the sky. Very sharp details too and natural colours.
In Sweden this is quite common on the island of Gotland otherwise rare along the Baltic coast.
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

Más que una mariposa parece un ángel ....... Excelente el comtraste de las alas con el cielo. Texturas y colores de las alas bien definidas y de gran elegancia. Gran profundidad y un enfoque inmejorable. Excepcional fotografía !!!
Saludos Peter.

  • Great 
  • PaulH Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1137 W: 26 N: 3879] (13882)
  • [2007-07-27 3:21]

Hi Peter,
outstanding shot, perfect detais and POV, an impressively marked Butterfly. The light blue background is excellent in serving to highlight the main subject. Good note too, interesting.
Have a great day yourself, at last there is a hint of sunshine here in the south of the UK :O)

It is a sheer delight to look at your pictures, Peter.
This image of a unique butterfly is so very natural and attractive it leaves one stunned with its great appeal.
You post your pictures rather infrequently these days, but they are really worth waiting for.

Hello Peter,
Beautiful capture of this wonderful Red Apollo.
Would love to see such lovely butterfly in real.
Wonderful light, colors and details.
Composition and lighting, wich is'nt easy with all those lighter color tones, are excellent and the butterfly does stand out greatly against the lovely soft blue sky.
Thank you for the great note.
Kind regards,

Hello Peter,
Very good image especially in terms of compo and POV.
Well done

  • Great 
  • jmp Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1659 W: 95 N: 2273] (8415)
  • [2007-07-27 4:05]

Hi Peter,
Great visual impact of this half transparent butterfly agains the blue sky. Pov and pose here are really ideal. I like the short dof that makes the back edges rich the sky.
TFS and best regards, José M.

  • Great 
  • GLEM Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 540 W: 87 N: 750] (10)
  • [2007-07-27 4:07]

bonjour Peter,
quelle grand plan extraordinaire en contre plongée, la tranparence des ailes est parfaitement exploitée sur un fond bleu très agréable.


I like the details paired with blue sky.
DOF is great, POV as well.

Well focused and detailed, you handled the light very well Peter. Love those translucent wings with their colors set against the blue sky, nice :)
Very well done.

Hi Peter
So it's true. We decide to post the same Butterfly today. I'm very happy about that. Thanks to your post and your note I learn more things about this beautiful apollo
Excellent macro Peter, clear shot, great colors and an excellent composition.
(Talking together your shot takes 10 mine 4)
TFS and see you

Hi Peter,
I just checked out another butterfly of this species, and realize this is not very common one!
I like so much your POV, that let us enjoy all that transparencies on its wings, and the subtle appearance of the white pigments, as well as the other stunning patterns and colours.
As always, I enjoyed a lot the generous size of your presentation.
Congratulations and thanks for share it.
My best regards,


You get stunning and then you get S T U N N I N G and most of all you get STUNNING
This is really a stunner. It is like out of a fairytale. It is so perfect it actually looks like unreal.
Is the male of a butterfly also more colourful than the female like the birds? If so, and this is the female, the male must be awesome.
I’ll definitely keep this one for Maryke, my granddaughter. I think she will love it more than I do.

And I just loved your notes. Very informative.

Warmest regards

  • Great 
  • Debz Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 505 W: 0 N: 847] (3307)
  • [2007-07-27 6:13]

Magnificent shot of this beautiful Butterfly Peter. You have caught the light and pov wonderfully. Excellent exposure, colour detail and sharpness. Composition is also excellent.

Hi Peter, wonderfull pic, very nice details, superb natural colors, cheer,

selam peter, wow an excellent shot and very good composition of this butterfly nice pov and bg with splendid colours. Well done ! Regards ridvan

bonjour peter
superbe ce papillon,je ne pense pas en avoir deja vu de tel,le POV est excellent.
vraiment magnifique.

  • Great 
  • Silke Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 729 W: 98 N: 1707] (5458)
  • [2007-07-27 10:10]

Absolutely breathtaking! the details, the colours, the composition are all matchless -- a favourite for me!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2007-07-28 4:40]
  • [+]

Hallo Peter,
Zauberhaft schön ist dieser Rote Apollo mit den fast transparenten Flügeln auf seiner Lieblingsblume. Glücklich bist Du, ihn zu sehen, mir will er sich einfach nicht zeigen! (aber eben,ist vielleicht seine Rache). Auch das Workshop Bild ist hoch interessant mit der Wespe auf den Flügeln. Habe mir auch das Video angeschaut. Rührend wie sich dieser Mann um die Natur kümmert. Diese Jahr hat es im Wallis weniger Schmetterlinge, hat vielleicht auch mit dem Wetter zu tun.
Herzlichen Dank für diesen schönen und hochinteressanten Beitrag.

  • Great 
  • gannu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 988 W: 4 N: 3277] (14761)
  • [2007-07-28 8:15]

Peter have never come across such a beautiful fly. Excellent colors and lovely focus Ganesh

  • Great 
  • jhm Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 893 W: 0 N: 507] (1853)
  • [2007-07-29 23:24]

Hello Peter,

This is a wonderful butterfly, also the macro shot is amazing, very sharp and very detailed with an excellent. Very well done.

Best regards,


Very good details, nice composition and colors.


Hello Peter,

I was fascinated when I saw your earlier postings of the Parnassius sacerdos. This Red Apollo looks so much alike them. I would really like to see this species in its natural habitat and maybe get the chance to photograph it.


The composition is centered in one of the most important points of the image and the front edges of the butterfly's wings act like guidelines to lead our eyes towards this point. The lack of distracting objects and the clear blue sky isolate the subject very efficiently revealing an unmistakable, easy-to-read silhouette.


It's hard to get more beautiful colors in a picture than in a butterfly picture. It's the same case here where the colors of the butterfly and flower blend together on a great blue background color. This wonderful colors are enhanced by the iridescence caused by the sunlight shining through the butterfly's wings.


The contrast in the foreground is very good, emphasizing each scale and fur on the subject's body.


The image was well exposed, avoiding any detail loss due to over- or underexposure while the darker shades caused by the strong sunlight were improved with excellent PP skills. I simply can't refrain from pointing out how great the wings look with the sunlight shining through.


The focus is very accurate rendering the butterfly's head and the front parts of the wings very sharply. The DOF is incredibly deep for such close-ups.

Very well captured and presented! The notes were well written offering plenty of informations! It's good to hear that there still are people who care about nature and invest into creating places like the Schmetterlingsparadies Langschläger Wald. Thanks for sharing!

With Friendly Regards,

PS: Your workshop looks great, showing the underside of the butterfly in better light.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-08-02 4:18]

Hi, dear Peter.
First of all I am touched by your terrific comments and warm greetings. Thank a lot for encourage and friendship. Now I am out of town almost all time and come to Odessa only for food but I can read text by cell phone and notebook.

I am amazed with your next masterpiece. POV is fantastic as well as the beauty of this unknown for me specimen of butterflies. Airiness and transparency of the image are unique and exciting. Composition and colour palette are the perfection. Bravo, my dear, friend. Bravo.

Hi Peter
Every time I'm looking on your pictures I'm really confused: how did you make so good pictures? I really can't do that - yet ;-)
As always perfect shot. Nothing to add, thanks


Bin sooooooo neidisch ;-)
Hi Peter, welch eine Pracht - also wir auf dem Monte-Baldo waren hab' ich meinem Mann in den Ohren gelegen, dass ich soooo gerne diesen Apollofalter sehen würde wie ich ihn bei Dir schon mehrmals bewundern konnte. Wir haben zwar einen gesehen, den selteneren schwarzen Apollo (hatte das einzige Bild von ihm schon hier) - aber dieser blieb uns verwehrt.
Also vielen Dank für diese Schönheit, bin begeistert ...
Servus und Gruß
Sabine - wishnugaruda

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2007-08-11 12:07]

I love the pose on this one, Peter.
It is beautiful how the light is coming through the wings.
Looks like a stained glass window.
Masterful exposure and focus and fantastic POV.
TFS. : )

Hallo Peter
ta photo est une merveille, merci et
Bravo Bravo

You set the bar!
Your butterfly photos are what I aspire to...clarity, perfect lighting, excellent detail and something I cant' really define.
Great stuff!!!!

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-07-29 8:19]
  • [+]

Hi Peter

"WOW", this butterfly with its nearly see-through wings is a beauty to behold. I love the slight oblique angle at which you captured the insect. This served a double purpose as it shows ample detail of the insect's features such as the face, eye and antennae while at the same time it also reveals a quality view of the underwing area of the left wings and also the topside of the frontal right wing.

Using the lovely blue sky as BG worked splendidly as the butterfly shows up so clearly against it. The details are amazingly sharp and the colours are gentle on the eyes.

Good work and TFS.

PS. Critique update:
Oooh shucks, this critique must have made you wonder if I had been drinking. Just for the record I don't drink, but something went terribly amiss with the original critique. I have fixed it somewhat and hope you find it more coherent than the previous version (chuckle).

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