(apologies to Annie Dillard for misusing a quote from her wonderful book, Pilgrim at Tinker’s Creek. I wrote all about how great that book was here, and almost everything in that post still holds true today.)
Recently (ish) I commented on a post by Flighty about a great shot he took of a Peacock Butterfly about my inability to photograph the things. I know this is because I am hideously impatient.
While trying to identify some butterflies that my significantly more patient partner photographed, I read that to get a photo of a butterfly, one should watch and wait as they like to return to feeding spots. That’s probably not groundbreaking information for anyone with a decent dose of common sense, but it seriously never occurred to me. Sure, I wait and watch but I invariably also chase the poor things down. Off it flits to another flower and off I go to follow.
My partner and I, being witty, hilarious people, often call butterflies, butterflown because by the time we draw the other’s attention to a butterfly, it has disappeared.
Armed with the advice to WAIT, I did just that while on a short walk with some friends around Keyhaven Marsh, a bird reserve. We saw waterbirds aplenty but there were also many butterflies among the hawthorn and one particular one that kept teasing me. My friends were patient and my partner was off taking photographs of some rusty machinery, so I watched.
And it worked!
The butterfly liked to land on a particular hawthorn flower, so I adjusted my settings to focus on that flower and waited. I took one picture, then I inched in further. The butterfly flew away but I remained there, camera pointed at the hawthorn flower. The butterfly returned and I repeated my process – take one photo, inch in closer, take another if it remained or wait for it to return if my edging closer scared it off.
Flighty’s picture is better, but I’m rather chuffed with mine.