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Gray Hairstreak

Gray Hairstreak
Photo Information
Copyright: Ken Slade (Ken52) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 636 W: 93 N: 1243] (4195)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2007-04-11
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT), Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, 58mm circular polarizer
Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Butterflies [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2007-04-27 20:51
Viewed: 3151
Points: 34
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
I took this photo in a stand of Texas Bluebonnets on the roadside near my home.

(For those who want to see the butterfly up close, I have added one in a Workshop)

The wildflower is a Texas Bluebonnet (Lupinus texensis). It is the state flower of Texas.

The butterfly is a Gray Hairstreak (Strymon melinus). It is the most widespread hairstreak in North America.

Wingspan: 7/8 - 1 3/8 inches (2.2 - 3.5 cm).

One tail on hindwing. Upperside blue-gray with large red spot near tail. Underside of spring/fall form is dark gray, summer form is paler gray. Relatively straight postmedian line is white, bordered with orange on the inside edge.

Caterpillar is variably green, has long hairs on dorsum, fairly distinctive in this family.

Throughout continental United States from southern Canada south to Mexico; southward to Venezuela.

Open, nonforested sites; common in disturbed, weedy areas.

Two flights from May-September in the north, three-four flights from February-November in the south.

Caterpillar hosts: Flowers and fruits from an almost endless variety of (usually) hearbaceous plants; most often from pea (Fabaceae) and mallow (Malvaceae) families including beans (Phaseolus), clovers (Trifolium), cotton (Gossypium), and mallow (Malva).

Adult food: Nectar from many flower species including dogbane, milkweed, mint, winter cress, goldenrod, tick trefoil, and white sweet clover.

Life Cycle:
Males perch all afternoon on small trees and shrubs to seek receptive females. Eggs are laid singly on flowers of host plant. Young caterpillars feed on flowers and fruits; older ones may eat leaves.

Source: http://bugguide.net/node/view/579

Conditions were sunny but windy.
Aperture = f8.0
Shutter = 1/500s
ISO = 400
Focal Length = 170mm

elefantino, Necipp, septama, XOTAELE, jmirah, phlr, Alex99, glazzaro, Argus, mikou, kokos101, snowfalken, Maite has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

  • Great 
  • trinko Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 587 W: 78 N: 322] (4321)
  • [2007-04-27 22:11]

great colors good focus nice use of DOF. The flower looks very nice but i'd crop closer to the insect so the butterfly is larger.

Bonsoir Ken
C'est une excellente prise de vue en macro ! La composition est très jolie avec de belles couleurs,et détails sont de toutes beautés ainsi que le BG.
Merci pour le partage .
Au revoir et Bravo....JP

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2007-04-27 23:04]

Hello Ken

Masterfully done.You have captured the hairstreak on an amazing perch.The composition is beautiful.Spot on focus and sharp details.The lighting is great,and the colours are vivid.Very good detail on the wings.Nice sharp antenna posts.Superb.TFS


Great close up really sharp and detailed.

Hi Ken,
it's a beautiful shot, I like this flower and of course the pretty butterfly, a wonderful arrangement, thanks
Sabine - wishnugaruda

selam Ken; nice shot of this butterfly and nice comp with nice colours.good POV particularly flower well captured. TFS
well done

Hello Ken lovely colours, I like the close crop good focus and sharpness. Background is good also. TFS rgds Necip.

  • Great 
  • joey Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1739 W: 224 N: 6872] (24909)
  • [2007-04-28 4:53]

Hello Ken,
the DOF on this shot is fantastic. It isolates the butterfly and flower very well. Extremely sharp and detailed aswell!
TFS Joey

Hi Ken,
nice moment you capture a pretty buterfly just perching in the top blue flower, really nice contrast and detail of both flower and butterfly, tfs

Hola Ken.
Un original punto de vista.
Buena nitidez, detalles, brillo...
Una escena muy bonita.
Saludos, JL.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2007-04-28 7:25]

Hi Ken.
Quality of your amazing picture is simply great. I like its perfect composition (inclined plant is balanced by butterfly excellently, cropping is exact at high level), crisp sharpness and terrific details, amazing combination of basic colours (blue and grey). Bravo and best regards. Superb work.

Well taken, good detail and exposure, though I think this would be better presentation wise if you crop just a bit tighter and put more focus on the butterfly. Just a thought, nice work.


  • Great 
  • Argus Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5038 W: 260 N: 15594] (50626)
  • [2007-04-28 11:59]

Hello Ken,
Both the post and the WS are excellent images of the Gray Hairstreak. Fine sharpness, color, BG and compo.
Especially nice to see as it is a new species to me.
TFS and best wishes, Ivan

  • Great 
  • mikou Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 869 W: 68 N: 1479] (6093)
  • [2007-04-29 5:10]

Hi Ken.
Beautiful capture.Looks it as though this blue flower be of interest for different sorts of insect:-)
I like this your composition with beautiful combination those fine coloured flowers and grey butterfly.As well as great close-up with perfect view on sharp details on this butterfly in WS.Very good DOF and perfect sharpness.I like very nice saturation blue color this flower so much.Well done,TFS.
Best greetings Milos.

hello ken!
this is great compositon and beautiful colors.
great sharpnes too.

Hello Ken,

This is a great picture of two beauties, the flower and the butterfly! I don't think we have this butterfly here in our area. Nor do we have the bluebonnet!


Very good and simple composition! Just the subjects and the wonderful background! You made good use of the power points of the composition! I also appreciate the diagonal placement of the Bluebonnet. The lack of distracting objects is a bonus! Another positive thing is the clearly readable silhouette of the butterfly against the background! Great job!


The colors are bright and well assorted! The orange color in the butterfly's wings are complimentary with the blue color of the flower. I guess there was more orange on the upper side of the wings!


The contrast was adjusted very well to isolate every flower in the blossom! Also the details in the butterfly were highlighted! The low contrast in the background is an asset!


In spite of the difficult shooting conditions you did a great job! I know from experience how difficult it is to photograph insects in windy conditions. The strong light could allow you to use a faster shutter speed to compensate for the moving flowers but it can also hinder you from exposing the scene correctly! I don't know whether you used the flash light but I can tell that the exposure was successful!


Very good focus on the butterfly! The f/8 aperture enabled you to keep a good sharpness throughout the subject while blurring everything in the background!

Excellent work my friend! Texas definitely has a beautiful state flower! Thanks for sharing!

With Friendly Regards,

PS: I also enjoyed your workshop!

  • Great 
  • Maite Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 998 W: 65 N: 1270] (5199)
  • [2007-05-14 18:08]

Hello Ken
What a marvellous capture!
This kind of butterflies are my favourite.
Excellent sharpness, natural colors and really beautiful composition!
Great job and valuable note.
Thank you very much for sharing

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