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American Lady

American Lady
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: 2008-04-22
Categories: Insects
Camera: Canon 350D (Digital Rebel XT), Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM, 58mm circular polarizer
Exposure: f/8, 1/250 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Theme(s): BUTTERFLIES OF AMERICA, Angelina's Favorites - Part I [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2008-04-30 13:59
Viewed: 3752
Points: 42
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
American Lady (Vanessa virginiensis)

Tucked away in the countryside near the town of Mineral Wells, Texas is a beautiful botanical park called Clark Gardens. That’s where I found this butterfly last week. In butterfly photography, the quality of the specimen makes a huge difference. I always feel lucky when I find a fresh, new butterfly with untattered wings and deep, rich colors.

This butterfly is the American Lady. It is often confused with the Painted Lady but note the more squared off forewing tip, the white spot in the red-orange area of the forewing, and the 2 large (rather than 4 medium) eyespots on the ventral hindwing.

Identification: Upperside with uneven brown, yellow, and orange pattern. Forewing with a black apical patch, a small white spot in the orange field below the patch, and a white bar at the leading edge of the forewing. Underside of hindwing with two large eyespots. Winter form is smaller and paler, summer form larger with brighter coloring.

Life history: During the afternoon, males perch on hilltops or on low vegetation if there are no hills. Females lay eggs singly on the top of host plant leaves. Caterpillars are solitary, living and feeding in a nest of leaves tied with silk. Adults hibernate.

Flight: Three to four broods from May-November, all year in the Deep South and South Texas. It is not known if adults can survive very cold winters; the East may have to be recolonized each year by southern migrants.

Wing span: 1 3/4 - 2 5/8 inches (4.5 - 6.7 cm).

Caterpillar hosts: Plants in the sunflower family everlasting (Gnaphalium obtusifolium), pearly everlasting (Anaphalis margaritacea), plantain-leaved pussy toes (Antennaria plantaginifolia), wormwood (Artemisia), ironweed (Vernonia), and burdock (Arctium).

Adult food: Flower nectar almost exclusively, including dogbane, aster, goldenrod, marigold, selfheal, common milkweed, and vetch.

Habitat: Open places with low vegetation including dunes, meadows, parks, vacant lots, forest edges.

Range: Resident in the southern United States, Mexico, and Central America south to Colombia. Migrates to and temporarily colonizes the northern United States, southern Canada, the West Indies, and Europe. Rare stray to Newfoundland and Labrador.

Source: http://www.butterfliesandmoths.org/species?l=1769

Aperture = f8.0
Shutter = 1/250s
ISO = 400
Focal Length = 300mm
Canon EF 70-300mm f/4-5.6 IS USM lens

nglen, spalaxtr, Amadeo, Luis52, iris, JPlumb, anel, earthtraveler, loot, jusninasirun, peter_stoeckl has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Ken,
Sharpness and details really great. POV, DOF on butterfy, natural colors, composition and BG all very good. Well done. TFS. Regards,

  • Great 
  • Amadeo Gold Star Critiquer [C: 168 W: 0 N: 755] (3323)
  • [2008-04-30 14:34]

Hola Ken, magnificos detalles y texturas, una bonita composición con una luz muy buena. Un saludo

Hello Ken,
THis is beautiful. The light, the colors, the butterfly, the compo and so forth are all well done.

Hi Ken,
Wow! This lovely creature just jumped out my computer's screen! What a great shot! Details, colors, exposure and composition are outstanding! I feel I can almost touch it. Thanks,

  • Great 
  • Art_R Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 244 W: 20 N: 839] (3892)
  • [2008-04-30 16:48]

Hi Ken , this is a wonderful close up of the American lady , the colors are very bright and cheery , great detail and composition. thanks for sharing it.



  • Great 
  • Luis52 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 1175 W: 8 N: 4240] (15809)
  • [2008-04-30 18:52]

Hola Ken.
Resalta en este Macro la iluminacon y nitidez de la Mariposa. Tiene en sus alasa hermosos tonos de diferentes colores que lucen de sobremanera. La pose fina y el recorte ideal para la presentacion.
Saludos Ken.

  • Great 
  • iris Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 479 W: 60 N: 970] (3088)
  • [2008-04-30 21:45]

Hello Ken,
A very stunning shot of the Lady -Vanessa virginiensis.
I love the focus you have put on the wings, the details simply outstanding showing of every bot of the patterns etched up there.The framing is just perfect with a great contrast provided by its flowery perch.
TFS & cheers

Well hello Ken, and welcome back. I'm not sure if I've ever seen an American Lady, so thanks for the introduction. This one is in very fine form and you've done a great job with it. You have a shot with very excellent sharp focus and exposure, you've positioned it perfectly in the frame, depth of field is excellent giving us the butterfly with a muted background, and you've capped the presentation off with excellent notes.

Thanks, John

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2008-05-01 3:00]

Hello Ken,
a picture of virginiensis showing the butterfly with extraordinary sharpness and brilliance.
I enjoy to study its clear and distinct colour patterns.
Best wishes, Peter

Hello Ken,

Very well-composed picture of this colourful butterfly. Excellent POV, DOF and sharpness. Great detail of the wing patterns. Colours are wonderful. I like very much the purple patches of the flowers in the backround, they give a good colour balance in the picture.

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2008-05-01 4:21]

Hi Ken,whata wonderfull pic,perfect under all corners of view,excellent sharpness,colours and details and very interesting note too,my best compliments,Luciano

Hi Ken

What a stunning shot of this butterfly. It is excellent with great DOF, sharpness and composition.


  • Great 
  • Mana Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1772 W: 36 N: 5597] (18598)
  • [2008-05-01 6:38]

Hi Ken,
Outstanding shot of this gorgeous looking American Lady with such amazing colours, details and markings on its wings. Looks so beautiful perched on that violet flower. Superb light and exposure management and you have captured it with precise DOF and a skillfully chosen POV. The BG is so special. Very nicely composed. Kudos.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2008-05-01 7:33]

Hello ken,
Wonderful American Lady in a marvellous surrounding. What a catch. Perfect composition, sharpness ang magnificent subject.
Thanks and best regards

  • Great 
  • nglen Gold Star Critiquer/Silver Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2883 W: 30 N: 9683] (36145)
  • [2008-05-01 11:26]

Hi Ken. this is a first class close up of the beautiful butterfly. great detail and colours. the markings stand out so well. a nice pOV/DOF. well done TFS.

Superb image Ken! The color and sharp focus details of this butterfly and flower are gorgeous. Excellent work with composition and BG also. Well done! Tfs Richard

Oh wow! Perfect color...perfect light! Wonderful dof. The detail inthe wing is amazing!
This is truly a "KEN" photograph! Great stuff!!!!!

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2008-05-02 23:05]
  • [2]

Hi Ken

Oooooh, aaaah, mmmm, yummy, yes man, I'll have 2 for Christmas – oh sorry, am I on the Internet air? For a moment there I lost myself as I got carried away by beauty.

Dang Ken, this is amazing. Of course finding a beautiful unspoiled subject makes half of the work, but that still does not guarantee a magnificent capture such as this. It takes skill and hard work (I know) to get this kind of shot and it is absolutely worth a WOW.

You have captured amazing details down to the little hairs on the underwing area near the body. Those intricate patterns and colours are absolutely spectacular. The colours are a feast for the eyes and the exposure was well controlled thus ensuring great light on the subject.

Very well done and TFS.

Hello Ken. beautiful butterfly in stunning perch. I like the detail and strong color and well muted background. Regards. jusni

Hi Ken,
perfectly clear portrait of the American Painted Lady.
Very pleasant opulent details and rich light. Thank you!
With best regards,

  • Great 
  • arfer Gold Star Critiquer [C: 2731 W: 0 N: 0] (0)
  • [2008-06-06 11:57]

Hello Ken

What a splendid capture.The colours are wonderful.
The clarity is exceptional with spot on focus and sharpness.
Excellent texture in the wings.
The pov is lovely .


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