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Photo Information
Copyright: Eduard Baak (snowfalken) Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 419 W: 27 N: 497] (1788)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-07-21
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon EOS 30 D, Canon EF 70-200mm f4 L USM
Exposure: f/6.3, 1/320 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2007-08-15 8:45
Viewed: 4594
Points: 23
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Hello my friends,

After several hours of searching the web I think I've just translated and put together the most comprehensive information about this species (chuckle). In spite of the billions of bytes of data kept on worldwide internet servers it is incredible how scarce the informations on the Cleopatra butterfly are! I hope you find it useful. Here's what I found:

Cleopatra (Gonepteryx cleopatra)


Kingdom: Animalia
Phylum: Arthropoda
Class: Insecta
Order: Lepidoptera
Suborder: Rhopalocera
Superfamily: Papilionoidea
Family: Pieridae
Subfamily: Coliadinae
Genus: Gonepteryx
Species: cleopatra


The Cleopatra is a close relation of the Brimstone, (Gonepteryx rhamni), but differs in having orange on its forewing. They hibernate as adults so you are most likely to see them in early spring and late summer. Like the Brimstone and some other 'whites' they are tough to photograph as their brightness when in direct sunlight is difficult to meter for.
The males are a stunning insect. Their bright orange uppersides flash against the yellow ground color. Unfortunately this species never opens its wings when settled so view of the orange uppersides are restricted to lucky moments on video. The females are large and of a pale apple green. Both sexes have much more rounded wings, particularly the hindwing than its close relatives the Brimstone and Powdered Brimstone, G. rhamni and G. farinosa. Also the forewing apical hook is much reduced in this species.

Flight Time: Feb-Apr, June-August
Size: 50-68mm
Altitude: 0-1200m


Usually found near Buckthorn shrubs, on which the caterpillar feeds, but male often flies considerable distances.


Occurs in Spain, southern France, and Italy to Greece, North Africa, and the Canary Islands which has a distinct race called the Canary Island brimstone. This is a southern European species that extends as far north as Isère in France. It is very conspicuous so it is easy to spot even when driving. This Mediterranean butterfly species and never occurs north from the Alps. The furthest north location where it was spotted was Switzerland but it might just have been an occasional immigrant.


The bluish green caterpillar with white side stripes feeds on buckthorn (Rhamnus)



Photo Location

I took this picture on the beautiful Agios Gordis Beach in Kerkyra, Greece. The weather was fine, clear sky, almost no wind and the atmosphere was kind of hazy, sometimes with invisible horizon line. The temperature was about 42 degr. Celsius. I was very happy to capture this since it was the only butterfly species I've photographed so far that doesn't live in my country. This male cleopatra kept visiting the flowers on the beach and rarely waited long enough for me to take a shot. It is more beautiful when the upper sides of the wings are visible but it never opens them but in flight.


ISOSpeedRatings - 100
ShutterSpeedValue - 1/320 seconds
ApertureValue - F 6.30
ExposureBiasValue - 0.00
MeteringMode - Multi-segment
Flash - Not fired, compulsory flash mode
FocalLength - 200 mm
ExposureMode - Manual
White Balance - Auto

PP in CS2:

- RAW to TIF to JPG;
- selective sharpened with high pass filter;
- selective saturated and desaturated the reds in the flower;
- cropped, resized, added frame and signature;

Arjun, Juyona, rdfoto, CatherineD, Proframe, jrobertop, peter_stoeckl, uleko has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To ben4321: The DOF issue!snowfalken 1 08-16 03:10
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Eduard, lovely shot, outstanding artistic composition, I like it, a great cheer,

The butterfly's wings are nice and sharp, but it's a shame that it's eye and most of the flowers are out of focus - I think using a smaller aperture would have worked better.
Apart from the depth of field issue this is very well taken. You took it in great light, and the framing works very well - it has good balance and an effective simplicity to it, with no distracting elements.
Good work Eduard.


  • Great 
  • Arjun Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 358 W: 7 N: 1237] (7593)
  • [2007-08-15 10:58]

hi eduard,
this a great capture by you once again.a very nice butterfly with gr8 compo and POV
congrats and TFS
A great PICTURE .... keep it up...
but the only thing is eyes are a bit off in focus..

  • Great 
  • Juyona Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor [C: 2232 W: 10 N: 2971] (16891)
  • [2007-08-15 11:03]

Hola Eduard,
Sensacional trabajo,
detalles, pov, colores y composición MAGNIFICAS.

  • Great 
  • rdfoto Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 372 W: 0 N: 719] (3295)
  • [2007-08-15 13:10]

Bonsoir Eduard
Très belle prise, excellente gestion de l'exposition, couleurs et netteté.
Très bon cadrage et notes.
Amicalement Robi

Hello Eduard,
Thanks for showing us this very beautiful image of a butterfly I've never have seen nore heard of before.
You've done a great job on the image as well as on all the perfect information about the buttefly you are suplying us with.
My compliments.
Technically perfect image with excellent sharpness, composition,, DOF an lighting.
Colors and details are most wonderful and the way the flower and butterfly do stand out against the very pleasing soft background is great.
A real joy to look at.
Best wishes,

Hi Eduard,
Simply perfect!
Excellent composition!
Very good colors, contrast and sharpness.
Register rich in details of this exuberant butterfly.
Well done!
My best regards!
José Roberto

I never had the chance to see those so special insect in my country... This is a nice composition Eduard, with excellent focus on the wings and body. I don't mind the flower to be a little blurred; this is a superb post, realized with skill and delicacy. Thanks,

  • Great 
  • Ken52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
  • [2007-08-17 20:20]

Hi Eddie,

I wish I could give you 3 points for this one to make up for... well, you know. This is clearly outstanding photography.


The composition is excellent showing both the butterfly and flower very clearly. Each stand out well and the view of each is unobstructed.


Beautiful warm color tones. The colors are well saturated and look very natural. The subtle changes of color tones on the butterfly wing is easily recognized.


This is outstanding. Subject stands out well from background. The butterfly looks almost 3-D and I think the outstanding contrast also helped to bring out the incredible details shown in butterfly wing.


The light is excellent with the best light highlighting the main subject, the butterfly. I like the way the light works on the flowers as well with shadows creating an appropriate softness here.


You have incredible sharpness on the butterfly. I see ridges and texture in the wing and nice sharp edges. The antennas are perfect in my opinion with just the right amount of sharpness. The focus is a little softer on most of the flower which, I think, is a GOOD thing in this case for artistic value.

Outstanding work and a pleasure to see!

Best Regards,

Very good light, very good sharpness, very good compo, very good 'and so forth';-)
Well done, Edouard.

Dear Eddie,
very elegant, beautiful, classically well composed arrangement. For me, Cleopatra is one of the pretties butterflies of Europe. You have shown its subtle colours in a perfect way, with the clear light shaping the structured of its wings very clearly.
Reading of the excessive heat conditions while you were taking the picture I can feel your excitement and determination that made you forget everything around you - in perfect concentration on the subject.
Thank you! My best regards,

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2007-08-21 7:44]

Hello Eduard,
I don't know how I missed this beauty! Brilliant in all respects!
Many thanks, Ulla

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