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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: 2010-07-08
Categories: Insects
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1
Exposure: f/4, 1/200 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Alex99 favorite pics, Naturpark Oetztal, Nature's Oddities [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2011-02-14 17:10
Viewed: 5435
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 54
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

Red Apollo, Roter Apollo, Apollofjäril, Isoapollo, Niepylak apollo, Jasoň červenooký, Gorski apolon, Червен аполон, Аполлон обыкновенный, Apollo kelebeği, Apolló-lepke, Apolo tximeleta, Mariposa Apollo, Apollon...

Parnassius apollo (Linnaeus, 1758)

Subfamily: Parnassiinae
Family: Papilionidae

Wing span: 65 - 80 mm.

Parnassius apollo is not a migratory species - one of the reasons why that species is so vulnerable and endangered. This butterfly tends to stay close to the place where it grew up. As a caterpillar, it requires a very specific dry and stony or rocky habitat where its feeding plant – Sedum album or Sedum telephium (stonecrop) – will grow in good numbers. As a butterfly, it will leave those barren grounds for rather short distances only to visit meadows with thistles (Cirsium sp.) that are much preferred as a rich source of nectar.

Both habitats have to be available within short distance. And both of those habitats have become severely endangered in most parts of Europe. Their rapid destruction by 20th century agriculture and forestry has made the Red Apollo disappear from many of its former regions of distribution in Europe. The destruction was done by "cleaning" barren grounds of debris, by fertilizing and overexploiting meadows, by forests spreading into once extensively used small patches of grasslands. During the 20th century, the Red Apollo disappeared from practically all of the Central European lowlands, also from many parts of Scandinavia except some of those areas located above limestone, leading to the assumption that acid rain may have been another reason for its sudden disappearance there.

In some Alpine valleys, however, with their steep, rocky slopes safely out of human reach, the Red Apollo still has found a good refuge where it may be met in good numbers, flying from May to August (sometimes even into late September, early October) in one extended generation at elevations between 600m and 2200m.

During daytime, Apollo butterflies would show some hilltopping behaviour, following specific routes when flying up into steep and inaccessible mountain areas. In the evening you should expect them to return to their sleeping places down below.

One of my favourite lonesome mountain paths in summer is leading high above the Oetztal valley. It is connecting the remote villages of Gries and Niederthai, crossing a very steep and rocky wooded slope at an elevation of 1500m near a cascade of waters plunging down from the rocks. In the early parts of the day, Red Apollo butterflies would be emerging there rising from the valley ground, have a short stop at some flowering thistles growing near the abyss of the cascades, and would continue their way upwards into inaccessibly rocky parts high above. The chance for watching the Red Apollo at this place called "Rastle" on a sunny day in July is very high. The chance to approach one of them for a good picture without stepping into the abyss is very low.

When I visited that place on a late sunny afternoon in July 2010, Red Apollos appeared there again just as predicted, coming down from their daytime meeting grounds high above the rocks, continuing their way down. I decided to follow them hoping to find their sleeping grounds. In the end, I luckily arrived at a little paradise. Apollos would gather there at a slope of loose debris covered with Sedum, starting to search a place for the night, and finally sitting down in the low vegetation nearby. Once seated, they were very patiently ready for portraits.

A more detailed view of the location is available > here.

And there.

The location shown is part of Naturpark Oetztal, a protected area proclaimed in 2006.

Other reports from that area may be seen here.


Christian Stettmer, Markus Bräu, Patrick Gros, Otmar Wanninger: Die Tagfalter Bayerns und Österreichs, Laufen/Salzach 2007

Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Collins Butterfly Guide, London 2008

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

The camera:

SONY DSC-HX1, 3456 x 2592 pixels, sRGB, 15mm macro zoom (equivalent 84 mm at full size SLR), F/4, 1/200sec., ISO-125, bias: -0.3, hand held, fill flash. 08.07.2010, 18:12.

Postwork: Photoshop CS4, slightly cropped, levels adjusted, selectively resharpened after downsize to web.

Have a very good day.

corjan3, pirate, Miss_Piggy, marius-secan, KOMSIS, maurydv, anel, vanda, matatur, Hormon_Manyer, uleko, Alex99, Ingrid1 has marked this note useful
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ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To Ingrid1: son of zeuspeter_stoeckl 1 07-21 04:54
To Hormon_Manyer: hormone wins today ...peter_stoeckl 4 02-18 09:47
To lousat: ... our camera works very well .. :o)peter_stoeckl 1 02-17 05:48
To Alex99: ... fluffy "clothes"peter_stoeckl 1 02-17 02:37
To pirate: ... the mountain habitatpeter_stoeckl 1 02-16 11:40
To Miss_Piggy: ... the fluffy white bodypeter_stoeckl 1 02-15 13:25
To corjan3: ... thank you Neelspeter_stoeckl 1 02-15 13:13
To anel: schlafplatz des parnasspeter_stoeckl 1 02-15 09:53
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Critiques [Translate]

Hello Peter,
This is one of the very best images of a butterfly that I have seen. Even in thumbnail it called out at me. Fantastically beautiful and the background also works well. FABULOUS! Congratulations, also on a very informative note.

Hi Peter
beautifull butterfly, lovely compo with perfect dof and great sharpness
at firts the bg looked a bit disturbing with the all white upper left corner but when I realized that this is simply the mountain habitat I must agree that it is just perfect

Hallo Peter
It is ALWAYS great to see one of your postings, and although you have shared the Apollo butterfly a few times, it remains a beautiful butterfly.

I agree 110% with Neels about the quality of this photograph. It has a great composition with sharp and clear details. The colours are wonderful, and the entire setting so pleasant. I just loooooooooove the fluffy white body and the way it is clutching onto the flower. Like always a pleasure to stop by. Thanks for sharing. Best regards.

Hi Peter - a fantastic macro of the butterfly with vivid colors. The composition is excellent so as the POV. TFS

Hello Peter,
What a splendid butterfly. This rare and endangered species I've never seen before. Superb colors, fantastic focus and exceptional details.
Thanks for sharing! Very interesting photographer's note!

  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2011-02-15 0:29]

Hello Peter,
A wonderful shot of a male apollo. As usual your sky BG's are great and give additional status to a beautiful species that is one of my favorites. Technically excellent and a joy to view!
Thank you!
With kind regards,

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2011-02-15 0:54]

Hallo Peter,
This season's favorite butterfly.!
Excellent presentation of the Apollo... Superb quality, nice colours and very good composition.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-02-15 1:04]

Hello Peter,
What a fantastic butterfly. And you made a brilliant photo of it. Excellent sharpness, details and composition. Very beautiful colours, OOF BG and DOF. High quality!

Hallo Peter,
a fantastic macro shot of a wonderful butterfly, amazing sharpness and incredible details, splendid colours and very beautiful contrast, a very pleasant composition with a marvellous pose of th butterfly on the flower, excellent visual impact
Best regards

Hi Peter,our camera works very well as i can see...ehehhe...this is the pic of a day,no doubt,impossible to do better and one of the most spectaculat butterfly living in our continent.Simply fantastic!Thanks for share,have a nice day,Luciano

Fantastic photograph, great detail! regards Yiannis

Hi Peter,
What a fantastic butterfly shot!

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-02-15 5:09]
  • [+]

Lieber Peter,
Unverkennbar ein Stoeckl-Bild! Ja, da hast Du uns eine grosse Ueberraschung bereitet. Farblich so gefällig, du hast den bläulichen Berghintergrund wirklich vorteilhaft als Kontrast genutzt. Auch schön wie sich der Apoll am Blumenkopf klammert. Deine Schilderung ist so eindrücklich, bin ich auf den steilen Wegen über dem Oetztal im Geiste gewandert bis zum Schlafplatz des Parnassius. Muss doch eine fantastische Entdeckung gewesen sein!
Recht herzlichen Dank für dieses so interessante Posting

  • Great 
  • vanda Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 338 W: 25 N: 754] (3673)
  • [2011-02-15 5:28]

Hi Peter!
Fascinating image of this splendid butterfly, captured with great skill. It's perfect in all....splendid harmony of colours.
A FABULOUS composition: congratulations.
Ciao! Vanda

Hi peter,

Nice butterfly & very greatly captured.
I like the red rings on the wings.
Welldone & TFS.


hello Peter
this is a super good picture with great sharpness nice light and beautiful colours
great shot wich i like
greeting lou

Quite an expertly capture of a beautiful creature Peter, the image is pin-sharp and that deep blue BG did wonders contrast-wise to the whitish scales and hairs of the b.fly. The green/yellow composite flower group completes this fine composition in an aesthetical way. TFS indeed my friend!

Ciao Peter, fantastic Apollo in a superb macro, wonderful sky, splendid sharpness, fine details and great natural colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

Hi Peter,
Fantastic photo, and I never get bored of the species! It doesn't live here in Hungary, but I saw some in the Tatra when I was in Slovakia. Excellent macro shot with beautiful pose and sharpness, while the composition's so good that even the blown out part on top left doesn't hurt my eyes. As the colleagues also said: just perfect! Bravo MF.
Friendly regards, László

Hello Peter
Very impressive photo! The POV, the composition, the BG, the colours, the lighting and the sharpness are excellent.

Hello Peter,
Beautiful macro shot with nice colours, fine sharp details, great OOF BG and composition. Well done!

  • Great 
  • uleko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3396 W: 172 N: 3310] (10940)
  • [2011-02-16 13:13]

Hello Peter,
What a beautiful capture of this Apollo in a resting position. I love the light and the colours and details are beautiful and sharp. Last time I saw an Apollo was in the Masca Valley nr Mallnitz some years ago now! The area you describe sounds wonderful. Luckily there are mountain areas around the world out of reach of man's greed for development!
TFS and best wishes, Ulla

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-02-16 22:21]
  • [+]

Hi, dear Peter.
Unbelievable picture. Fantastic job. My congratulations. You managed to find and picture a splendid species and individual. Its fluffy "clothes", colouration and other attractive features are reproduced brilliantly, at your firm impressive low POV and wonderful BG. Colours of the BG are unique too and supplements your charming model very nicely. Details are stunning, composition is spot on. Bravo, dear friend.
P.S. I am very touched with nice comments to one of my last shots. Thanks you so much. By the way. My brother (who lives in Canada fourteen years plans to visit (firstly in these years) Odessa this summer and then to visit Vienna where he and my sister were born.

  • Great 
  • manyee Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 3089 W: 230 N: 6774] (23770)
  • [2011-07-03 13:26]

Wow, beautiful, Peter!
The details, the colors, the composition, are extraordinary!
A lovely sight!
TFS. : )

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-09-06 0:36]

Hello Peter,
such a lovely softness of the butterfly. The pattern is so exciting and the clarity is so well captured.
Excellent presentation of this macro shot.
Well done.


  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2013-02-21 15:54]

Hello Peter,
This is truly a stunning image filled with wonderful detail and vivid yet natural coloration. I really like the low POV and attractive composition. I can hardly believe you managed to obtain such incredible DOF with an f/4 aperture. Super job!!

Dear Peter,
Your Apollo has definitely earned a place in my theme " Nature's Oddities" not due to its rarity but the odd habit of wanting Thistles only.

Some years ago ( in my previous life at TN :-)) I asked Bayram why butterflies nearly always sit on purple flowers ( see Silvio Sorcini's portfolio) . But to my embarrassment I have forgotten the answer.

When he has finished running after turtles, I shall ask Bayram again on FB...

Apollo is gorgeous .

I understood why we whilst living on the farm never saw butterflies: too hot, too dry, no flowers, no butterflies. easy.

But now at the Tzaneen Dam it is humid, quite a few flowering wild shrubs ( " in Tzaneen it is always spring " they boast ) but where are the butterflies?!?

Don't know.

Apollo is beautiful as son of Zeus he ought to be . Music, poetry and regal appearance come all to mind when viewing your photo.

I don't mention technical photographic perfection or esthetic, natural colors they are both your trade mark.

Thanks for sharing your photo and the awesome wealth of your knowledge of this rare butterfly.

Your admirer

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