<< Previous Next >>

Mother's Day Monarch

Mother's Day Monarch
Photo Information
Copyright: Ken Slade (Ken52) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2008-05-11
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT), Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, 58mm circular polarizer
Exposure: f/11, 1/500 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): BUTTERFLIES OF AMERICA, Butterflies [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-05-15 18:26
Viewed: 4326
Points: 46
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this photo of the Monarch butterfly on Mother’s Day, 2008. Between the hike-and-bike trail and the lake is a stand of wild thistles. I knew they were in bloom and was hoping the butterflies would find them. It was a beautiful day with near perfect light. I sat and waited just a few minutes by the thistle blooms and this beautiful Monarch appeared. I took many photos, but I like this one best because I got a clear shot against a nice blue sky.

Monarch (Danaus plexippus)

Identification: Upperside of male is bright orange with wide black borders and black veins; hindwing has a patch of scent scales. Upperside of female is orange-brown with wide black borders and blurred black veins. Both sexes have white spots on borders and apex.

Life history: Adults warm up by basking dorsally (with their wings open and toward the sun). Females lay eggs singly under the host leaves; caterpillars eat leaves and flowers. Adults make massive migrations from August-October, flying thousands of miles south to hibernate along the California coast and in central Mexico. A few overwinter along the Gulf coast or south Atlantic coast. Along the way, Monarchs stop to feed on flower nectar and to roost together at night. At the Mexico wintering sites, butterflies roost in trees and form huge aggregations that may have millions of individuals. During the winter the butterflies may take moisture and flower nectar during warm days. Most have mated before they leave for the north in the spring, and females lay eggs along the way. Residents of tropical areas do not migrate but appear to make altitude changes during the dry season.

Flight: In North America during spring and summer there may be 1-3 broods in the north and 4-6 broods in the south. May breed all year in Florida, South Texas, and southeastern California.

Wing span: 3 3/8 - 4 7/8 inches (8.6 - 12.4 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Milkweeds including common milkweed (Asclepias syriaca), swamp milkweed (A. incarnata), and showy milkweed (A. speciosa); and milkweed vine in the tropics. Most milkweeds contain cardiac glycosides which are stored in the bodies of both the caterpillar and adult. These poisons are distasteful and emetic to birds and other vertebrate predators. After tasting a Monarch, a predator might associate the bright warning colors of the adult or caterpillar with an unpleasant meal, and avoid Monarchs in the future.

Adult food: Nectar from all milkweeds. Early in the season before milkweeds bloom, Monarchs visit a variety of flowers including dogbane, lilac, red clover, lantana, and thistles. In the fall adults visit composites including goldenrods, blazing stars, ironweed, and tickseed sunflower.

Habitat: Many open habitats including fields, meadows, weedy areas, marshes, and roadsides.

Range: Southern Canada south through all of the United States, Central America, and most of South America. Also present in Australia, Hawaii, and other Pacific Islands.

Source: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l=1892

Aperture = f11.0
Shutter = 1/500s
ISO = 400
Focal Length = 190mm
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens

rousettus, loot, jusninasirun, Art_R, JPlumb, mariki, peter_stoeckl, marhowie, aido, maurydv, nglen, Alex99, XOTAELE, Tamrock has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-05-15 19:47]

Hi Ken

A wonderful shot having excellent visual impact. Very effective with the simplistic approach showing only the monarch and the thistle. Both, the insect and the flower, display great details and stand off perfectly against the lovely blue sky.

Well done and TFS.

Using the polarizer seems to have brought out some depth and tonality. This looks more like a summer scene for here....but today is a remarkable one..I have finally had to turn on the air conditioner...both in house and in car....Swell image...nice butterfly , the large one too...and great milk thistle!

Hello Ken. Pleasant dedication for mother's day. Very nice perch on violet flower and look stunning against the blue sky. Best regards. Jusni

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2008-05-15 22:02]

That is definitely a 10, Ken!
Wow... just perfect on all levels.
Just fantastic... the sharpness, the colors,
the light, the blue sky.

  • Great 
  • Art_R Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 20 N: 839] (3892)
  • [2008-05-15 22:29]

Hi Ken , great photograph , the colors are awesome , same with detail and composition. TFS


Hello Ken,

Excellent picture of this monarch. The focus on the butterfly and the flower is perfect. Great detail. Wonderful light and colours.

Very excellent job Ken, I have no idea how your others look but I'd say you picked good. The composition here with your butterfly on the thistle, superimposed on that great sky is awesome. The colour saturation throughout is excellent as is your great sharp detail. Very nicely done.

Thanks, John

Hello Ken,
a very concentrated and clear image, prefectly reduced to the essence. Taken with well awarded patience, and a very good sense for composition. My congratulations.
Thank you. Best regards,

Beautiful image Ken, your monarch really stands out nicely against the light blue sky.
Excellent color, detail/DOF, POV, comp, and use of the ambient light.
Very nice!

  • Great 
  • aido Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor [C: 1044 W: 156 N: 1218] (4046)
  • [2008-05-16 4:15]

Hello Ken, this is a beautiful image, I love to see the Monarch framed against a blue sky, the color contrasts really work well. Great detail and colour and a nice simple composition. Really nice image.
Regards, Adrian

Splendida macro di monarca, eccellenti POV, DOF e composizione, ottima nitidezza, meravigliosi i colori e BG. Grazie e complimenti. Ciao Maurizio

Hi Ken
Picture perfect
tfs jon

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-05-16 7:49]

Hi Ken. This is an excellent close up of this colourful looking butterfly. It stands out so well against the blue sky. such fine detail and colours also in the flower. well done TFS.

bonjour ken
je ne ferais qu'une remarque portant sur la taille de l'image,je pense que vous auriez pu supprimer la partie de ciel sous le papillon et aussi derriere lui.
pour le reste c'est tres bon.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2008-05-16 10:26]

Hi Ken.
Once more splendid shot of so simply and so wonderful scene. Both butterfly and flower are fine. Your work is outstanding technically and esthetically. Bravo. Great job.

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2008-05-17 7:00]

Hello Ken,
What a fantastic clear and contrasting colours. They look very natural. Excellent sharpness and a beautiful BG, POV and composition.

Hello Ken,
This is great celebration for Mother's days with beautiful Monarch and its great macro shot. Excellent details, splendid coloration, great POV, BG and composition. thanks. best wishes

  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-05-17 19:55]

Hi Ken,
Outstanding shot of this beautiful Monarch butterfly with immaculate sharpness, nice colours and claer details. Classical pose captured on that thistle with a precise DOF and a well chosen POV. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

What a beautiful composition Ken. Such sharp details and good colour.The conditions seem perfect for this type of shot.
Very good

Hola Ken.
Un trabajo excepcional el tuyo.
Buen encuadre y gran exposición.
Interesante comentario.
Saludos, JL.

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-05-24 19:48]

Hello Ken

A superb composition.
This is the kind of combination I look for when I am out on my treks.
You have captured it masterfully.
The lighting is wonderful with lovely well saturated colours.
Sharp details and focus.


this is stunningly beautiful...
the blue sky in the bg is the icing on the cake.
the butterfly and the thistle are realy sharp and well exposed.

thanks for sharing this beauty!!


  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2008-08-13 0:56]

Hello Ken,
a very very sharp shot. It enjoys great clarity and beautiful spectrum of colours to the butterfly and the flower. A very matched combination and great pestel blue background. A very well thought composition.


Calibration Check