Nikon D750, Sigma 150mm / f2.8 APO EX DG HSM, SB 800 speed light

It seems that every year is slightly different from the one before if we look at the numbers of particular butterflies. In 2010, 2011, and 2014 I took many photos of the Tiger Swallowtail, while 2013 I didn’t get a single shot. The same is true for other species, one year we have them in abundance and other years we can hardly find them. This year is another good year for the Tiger Swallowtail. We have seen them quite often, and not just here on our bluffs above the Little Maquoketa River Valley.

It is not easy to make a sharp photo in the heat of the day. The butterflies are very active and change location constantly. The chances for a good shot are higher in the evening, when temperatures come down and the swallowtails spend more time on a particular flower for feeding. This beautiful female Eastern Swallowtail was very cooperative this evening and spent quite some time on our Purple Coneflowers. 

The combination of the NIKON D750 with the SIGMA 150 mm, f/2.8 macro lens is my preferred gear for this kind of photography. It is my first time that I shot a swallowtail butterfly in full frame (FX) and I enjoy the challenge to get physically closer to the subject. No picture will make it into the “keepers” if a crop would be necessary to make it halfway decent. Yes, we can talk about improving our photography all day long, but if we don’t do the most obvious, I think all talk is pointless…