I see you, little swallowtail…

He was hiding in the wild overgrowth.  He most likely never expected to see another human in his world.

And if I hadn’t noticed him in the first place, I might never have caught this picture.

Background.

Last Saturday, I took three of my cameras – my Nikon Df, my Kodak Medalist (“Kodak Red”) and my Minolta x370s (the “Infrared shooter”) up to the Adirondack Mountains for a day of photo fun.  I had ideas about what I might photograph, but that morning it was just “ideas.”  It’s not like something would just show up and say, “Hey, Mr. Cameraman, take a picture of me please.”

I wandered through the woods.  Not much to see, just trees and streams and the occasional butterfly and –

Butterfly?

Ooh, I haven’t photographed a butterfly in years.  Not since at least 2012 and my Butterfly and Citrus picture.  But that picture was captured in a controlled environment.  I haven’t caught a photo of a little lepidoptera in the wild in a long time.

I waited and waited.  And finally, the butterfly landed on a small plant.

Okay, Chuck.  Calmly.  You don’t want to scare him away.

Peek-a-boo Butterfly
Butterfly camouflaged. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8G lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Got him.  Not the greatest butterfly photo; you can barely see the little guy.  But what am I going to do, wait until he actually stands on the leaf and poses in profile?

I went back to photographing other subjects.  That was nice, I thought.  Sometimes you just get lucky and capture a beautiful moment.

I walked a few feet toward a small road.  There might have been human activity in this location years ago; now it’s just abandoned and quiet.  May as well get some shots while I’m here.  And…

Oh my.  There’s the little butterfly again.  And he’s – oh man, this will be a better shot if I can just capture it…

Steady, Miller.  Don’t scare him away.

Closer…

Closer…

One more step…

And…

Deep breath…

Butterfly shadow; Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
Eastern Tiger Swallowtail. Nikon Df camera, Nikkor 50mm f/1.8 lens. Photo by Chuck Miller.

Wow.  This is the first time I’ve captured a butterfly photo in the wild.  Achievement unlocked.  Pocket Aces.

A little investigation (okay, I went to reddit and asked someone in the /r/butterflies subreddit) revealed that the butterfly I photographed was a male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail.

And you know what… it’s not too late to drop one of these pictures – either the first or the second – into the short pile.  I’m already picking and choosing what photos I’m entering in competition this season…

And why not add this one to the mix?

Hey, if the little guy was willing to come back and let me get a better shot of him…

I should at least add him for photo consideration.

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