Photo Sunday: Swallowtail

This weekend, I went for a walk at a nature center in the Hudson Valley. The weather was quintessential summer – warm, brilliantly sunny and clear – and the forest was alive with life: swarms of bees, butterflies and moths doing the daily work of pollination, dragonflies darting over the water, a symphony of birds in the trees, even a snapping turtle basking in the sun. This was one of my most cooperative photo subjects, who took the time to pose and display the iridescent photonic crystals that give butterfly wings such striking colors.



Eastern tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus), Hudson Highlands Nature Center, July 2010. Photo by the author. Camera details: Canon PowerShot SD1200 IS. Click for larger version.

About Adam Lee

Adam Lee is an atheist writer and speaker living in New York City. His new novel, Broken Ring, is available in paperback and e-book. Read his full bio, or follow him on Twitter.

  • Katie M

    Beautiful!

  • http://eternalbookshelf.wordpress.com Sharmin

    That is absolutely lovely.

  • http://intrinsicallyknotted.wordpress.com Susan B.

    Very lovely! I’m surprised your subject was so cooperative. I’ve found swallowtails to be somewhat frustrating myself–they’re so beautiful, but they always seem to be fluttering their wings even when taking nectar!

  • javaman

    More please !

  • http://feralboy12.com feralboy12

    Is that the butterfly Lord Beasley was looking for on Gilligan’s Island?

  • John Nernoff

    I took movies of this delightful creature with my tiny digital camera just a week or so ago. It even seemed to pose for me!

  • John Nernoff
  • Eurekus

    Oh cursed fate that we live for 80 odd years when nature is so beautiful. So much to see with so little time.

  • http://www.daylightatheism.org Ebonmuse

    I’m surprised your subject was so cooperative. I’ve found swallowtails to be somewhat frustrating myself–they’re so beautiful, but they always seem to be fluttering their wings even when taking nectar!

    Well, just so I don’t exaggerate my own photography skills, this is one of the best out of several dozen pictures I took. More of them came out blurred than not. :)

    Besides, I had an advantage: I caught her on her lunch break. There was a thistle bush in full bloom off to the side of the path, and there were three or four swallowtails and a large number of bees swarming over it, drinking the nectar. That’s probably the only reason this one was holding still long enough for me to take her picture. Here’s another shot, from a different angle, that shows her feeding.

  • Katie M

    The butterfly-one of the most beautiful of evolution’s creations :)


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