Becoming a Rarity

One of the highlights of my recent prairie wildflower photo workshop was finding a few Monarch (Danaus plexippus) butterfly. Just a few years ago, Monarchs were common on the Missouri prairie. It was relatively easy to hike the prairie and find both Monarch butteflies flitting about and Monarch caterpillars on many of the Butterfly Weed wildflowers. But over the last few years, their numbers have been dwindling. Loss of their wintering habitat, due to lumbering of a forested area in Mexico, has been blamed for reducing their numbers. So far, I have only spotted a couple of flying Monarchs in my area. And the 3 Monarch caterpillars found during the workshop have been the only caterpillars found this year. Here are a couple of my favorite images of this prairie beauty:

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

Being able to move in tight on this subject, I captured 11 images of varying depth of field and later combined them (focus-stacking) into a single image of greater depth of field:

Monarch Butterfly caterpillar

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen #3221 tripod, with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5
  • Shutter 1/1,600 sec. to 1/2,00o sec.



Posted in Butterfly Photography, Focus Stacking, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers
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