Chalk Hill Blue

Chalk Hill Blue

The butterfly (Chalk Hill Blue) was taken on a hillside in the Chilterns. I had heard of the Chalk Hill blue being in decline and found that they are common to find around certain areas of the Chilterns so one morning I headed over to Watlington hill, a location where you can find them. In hope to capture my own.

Watlington Hill is a lovely location to walk but for photographing butterflies is somewhat difficult, with short grass and exposed hill side the butterflies despite the early morning dew and cold start were still very active so trying to get close enough was a big challenge. However, the hillside was alive with movement from the little blue butterflies but this wouldn’t be where I would photograph the Chalk Hill Blues.

Eventually I headed down the road, remaining in the nature reserve but in to some longer grass where the butterflies would be less exposed. Remaining still in the long grass with the camera set up it was a case of weighting for a butterfly to fly in for a rest. With some patience the little Chalk Hill Blue landed a few metres in front, carefully moving closer to the butterfly to capture the final position as seen in the photo.

Equipment

Nikon D500 with AF-S DX NIKKOR 55-300MM F/4.5-5.6G ED VR @ f/9, ISO 1000, 1/800 second, mounted to Vanguard Alta Pro2+ tripod, post production - reduce highlights and boost contrast.

Short tips for anyone wishing to capture a similar photo:

  1. Pre-plan and know your subject - Learn when the butterflies will be active and in their adult stages, this will mean you can best plan what time of the year to head out and capture them.

  2. Go early, once the insects have warmed up they will be hard to capture as they will be very active and startled easily, in the early hours after sunrise, insects will be still from the cold and morning dew which is the best opportunity to get up close.

  3. Don’t be afraid to experiment, the lens I used is only a 1:3 tele photo lens so you don’t need a dedicated macro lens for this style of photo.

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Vanguard Photo Alta Pro+ 264CB
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