The Eyes Have It! (Three Photographs)

Mourning Cloak ButterfliesTo view more of my photography please click on

These are Mourning Cloak Butterflies, the earliest butterflies you see in our neck of the woods; they over-winter and come out twice a year in the spring and again in the fall. There is a certain tree that leaks sap that attracts them in numbers. I noticed this last year and did a post about these butterflies. Their eyes have a checkerboard pattern and look a bit like soccer balls. The damaged wings show age.

I am a big fan of insect photography and would love to do it year round (not a hope in Canada). I used a 105mm lens and in two of the three photographs I used flash and a soft box because in the deep woods the light is poor. The edges of the wings suffered a bit under both natural and flash lighting. I was aiming for the eyes and kneeling in mud. Mourning Cloaks are dark-winged with only a bit of color in their wings; they are better camouflaged when their wings are closed. You often see them flying around defending turf or resting on the ground looking for salt. (You can see this in my post of 18 July.)

Mourning Cloak Butterflies-3

Mourning Cloak Butterflies-2

18 responses

  1. At first I thought that it was a part of the tree 🙂 This is amazing butterfly, well captured. Thank you, love, nia


    July 29, 2015 at 5:18 am

  2. All three shots are beautiful, but the third one wins them all.


    July 29, 2015 at 5:59 am

  3. NIce MC shots, one of my favorite butterflies.


    July 29, 2015 at 8:54 am

  4. This butterfly is like the color of bark. Nice pictures.


    July 29, 2015 at 10:32 am

  5. As always, beautiful work


    July 29, 2015 at 12:03 pm

  6. Beautiful pictures. When I had first spotted brown butterflies I mistook them for moths (mainly due to the dull colors). This one here has such a rugged texture like the bark. The butterflies I clicked recently, looked like dried leaves. Turns out they belong to the same family.
    I think these probably spend more time close to the ground in the woods instead of hovering around the flowers.


    July 29, 2015 at 12:48 pm

    • Thanks. Took me a while to figure out how best to shoot these.


      July 29, 2015 at 2:13 pm

      • That was time well spent. The first one especially. With insects sometimes I feel every angle is a good angle and sometimes no angle is .


        July 29, 2015 at 4:21 pm

  7. Great camouflage!


    July 29, 2015 at 3:38 pm

  8. Wow! That’s an incredible creature–wonderful capture.


    July 29, 2015 at 10:22 pm

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