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Close Encounter by purplerose (print image)


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Macro of a Hackberry Emperor butterfly (Asterocampa celtis [Boisduval & Leconte, {1835}])

Info-----Family: Brush-footed Butterflies (Nymphalidae)

Subfamily: Emperors (Apaturinae)

Identification: Extremely variable geographically. Upperside is reddish brown. Forewing has 1 submarginal eyespot, a jagged row of white spots, and the cell has 1 solid black bar and 2 separate black spots.

Life history: Hackberry Butterflies fly in a fast and erratic manner, and rest upside down on tree trunks. Males perch on tall objects in sunny areas to watch for females. Eggs are laid in clusters, and the young caterpillars feed communally. Caterpillars overwinter in groups gathered inside dead rolled leaves.

Flight: Two broods from May-October.

Wing span: 1 3/8 - 2 1/2 inches (3.5 - 6.3 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Various hackberries (Celtis species) and sugarberry (Celtis laevigata).

Adult food: Sap, rotting fruit, dung, carrion. Will take moisture at wet spots along roads and streams.

Habitat: Along wooded streams, forest glades and river edges, wooded roadsides, towns.

Range: Resident in most of the eastern United States, central Plains states, and the southwest mountains; northern Mexico. (Source: [link] )

This was taken with my right hand, while the butterfly was "prancing around" on my left index finger. NO manipulation was done to get the black background.

Edited on Jan. 11, 2009
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CharmingPhotography Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2009  Hobbyist Photographer
Wow.... but I would clone out that bottom highlight. Otherwise amazing shot xx
purplerose Featured By Owner Jan 13, 2009   Photographer
Thanks. I thought about that so many times. Every time I took it out, the picture looked weird. Almost like it was missing an antenna. =/
Slapo Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2009
Really good :D

How the heck did you make stay still?
purplerose Featured By Owner Jan 12, 2009   Photographer
Thanx. It just landed on my finger. Stayed there for 3 frames and flew away. Felt like magic. :)
Slapo Featured By Owner Jan 15, 2009
The sky will be falling before that happens to me.
Excellent clarity for a single handed shot!
scientuslatens Featured By Owner Sep 30, 2008
great capture jerrica and i love how the eyes turned out in this shot. also good job on doing a handheld macro shot with the subject on your other hand! how dextrous you be, lol :D
larkin-art Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2008  Professional Traditional Artist
great macro shot, i love the detail and depth to the photo. thanks for including all of the info on the species too, very interesting.
purplerose Featured By Owner Jun 8, 2008   Photographer
Thanx, took forever to figure out what it was. :) Felt really weird having a butterfly crawl right onto my fingers.
mrwestattoo Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2008
how did you REALLY take this shot? lol


did you use photoshop to get the black background? :P </idiot>

but seriously though-
did you really shoot this at f-13?
if so, how did you get such a shallow depth of field?

is it related to this being a macro shot?
purplerose Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2008   Photographer
Partially because it's a macro and the other part comes from using a detachable flash (the flash helps produce the black background, everything behind the butterfly is my car and my neighbor's house). Paired with the small aperture (higher number) the DOF is more pronounced.
mrwestattoo Featured By Owner Jun 3, 2008
hold up

so i had it backwards this whole time?

i need to use a higher number if i want less of what i'm shooting to be in focus?

fuggin a
purplerose Featured By Owner Jun 4, 2008   Photographer
Noooooo, a higher number normally increases the DOF, but since this was taken with a macro lens, the DOF is going to be pretty shallow to begin with. By using a higher number aperture you don't see that easy transition from blur to sharp to blur that you would normally see in a shallow DOF with an aperture of around 5.6. Instead, the DOF sharply goes from blur to sharp and back to blur. Therefore, it's more noticeable. Take a look at this to see another example of it: [link]
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Submitted on
June 3, 2008
Image Size
147 KB


5 (who?)

Camera Data

Shutter Speed
10/1000 second
Focal Length
90 mm
ISO Speed
Date Taken
Jun 1, 2008, 12:19:05 PM