<< Previous Next >>


Photo Information
Copyright: Peter Stoeckl (peter_stoeckl) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1738 W: 291 N: 4005] (11530)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2011-09-03
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1
Exposure: f/8, 1/500 seconds
Details: (Fill) Flash: Yes
Photo Version: Original Version, Workshop
Theme(s): Alex99 favorite photos, TN Classics [view contributor(s)]
Date Submitted: 2011-09-06 5:49
Viewed: 5305
Favorites: 2 [view]
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note

Red Apollo, Roter Apollo, Apollofjäril, Isoapollo, Niepylak apollo, Jasoň červenooký, Gorski apolon, Червен аполон, Аполлон обыкновенный, Apollo kelebeği, Apolló-lepke, Apolo tximeleta, Mariposa Apollo, Apollon...

Parnassius apollo (Linnaeus, 1758)

Subfamily: Parnassiinae
Family: Papilionidae
Wing span: 65 - 90 mm.

Apollo is considered to be rare and threatended, and it is protected by law for good reasons. The butterfly is a rather frequent guest on TN. Meeting this large, shiningly transparent and strangely marked butterfly on a steep mountain meadow never fails to be an exciting experience.

Going up Sonnleitstein, a quite remote and little known limestone peak within a distance of one and a half driving hours south of Vienna last weekend we expected to have a magnificent view while finding most meadows brown and dry, most flowers gone by the arrival of September in the Alpine mountains - maybe just a few exceptions like silver thistles, willow gentiana, Cyclamen, and Autumn crocus, and certainly very few butterflies left.

As expected, there were very few butterflies, just a few aged and worn specimen of Erebia, a few Small Whites, some Small Tortoise Shells. So it came as a surprise that near the rocky top of the peak, several large white butterflies were slowly sailing and landing at remote flowers between the rocks - Parnassius apollo. We remember to have seen the species in that region as early as the end of May, with a peak in June and early July. Now, that late in the year, we would have expected to meet just a few aged specimens. During our resting hour at noon we were lucky to watch probably a dozen of them, some of them really old and torn, with red eye-spots bleached and fade: But some of them were in remarkably good order.

That broad range of Apollos of different ages at this time of the year came as a surprise to me. The other surprise was to find a considerable variation in their markings within a small and probably locally restricted population: not only pale individuals – male ones, dark individuals – females, but also some of them showing very large eye spots, some oft them just small ones, eye spots with white centres, eye spots fully red without any white, red spots at the inner discal region where others would show black spots only. It is a very variable species with much variation within a population. The identification of distinctive local races – as it has been tried repeatedly - should be rather difficult.

As a caterpillar, Apollo requires a dry and stony or rocky habitat where its feeding plant – Sedum album or Sedum telephium (stonecrop) – will grow. As a butterfly, it may leave those barren grounds for rather short distances only to visit meadows with thistles (Cirsium sp.) that are preferred as a rich source of nectar. This time, we have seen them visiting Gentiana campestris and Aconitum napellum, too.

During daytime, Apollo butterflies would show some hilltopping behaviour – indeed. Here we found them close to the peak of Sonnleitstein (1639m) at an elevation of approximately 1600m above sea level.

It was after an extended and rather hectical photographic shooting with much creeping up and down the steep meadow between the rocks, and photographic results of some documentary but little artistic value, that we decided to go down again. That very moment I discovered another quite fresh looking Apollo sitting and feeding in a very relaxed way on Knautia arvensis within perfect reach just beside the path. A large cloud was resting over the top of the peak, giving pleasantly dimmed light lasting for several minutes, and the resulting cool air obviously made the butterfly even more patient. Here’s some result of that private session.

The same individual seen from above may be viewed in the workshop.

By the way, on the Knautia blossom you may also discover some red Velvet Mites waiting for a victim or a ride. That might ask for a description of the parasitic feeding habits of Trombidiidae. But enough for today.

Christian Stettmer, Markus Bräu, Patrick Gros, Otmar Wanninger: Die Tagfalter Bayerns und Österreichs, Laufen/Salzach 2007
Tom Tolman, Richard Lewington: Collins Butterfly Guide, London 2008
Christopher Jonko: Butterflies and Moths of Europe. http://www.lepidoptera.pl/

The camera:
SONY DSC-HX1, 3456 x 2592 pixels, sRGB, 9 mm macro zoom (equivalent 50 mm at full size SLR), F/8, 1/500sec., ISO-125, bias: -0.7, hand held, fill flash. 03.09.2011, 14:35.

Postwork: Photoshop CS4, slightly cropped, levels adjusted, selectively resharpened after downsize to web.

Have a very good day.

anel, buscape, maaciejka, maurydv, bungbing, flashpoint, BREARD, eqshannon, KOMSIS, Alex99, CeltickRanger, sranjan has marked this note useful
Only registered TrekNature members may rate photo notes.
Add Critique [Critiquing Guidelines] 
Only registered TrekNature members may write critiques.
ThreadThread Starter Messages Updated
To cataclysta: .. great DOFpeter_stoeckl 1 09-13 01:10
To anel: ... immer Glück mit dem Apoll ...peter_stoeckl 1 09-09 03:32
To eqshannon: ... pleased as punchpeter_stoeckl 1 09-09 02:37
To maurydv: tribute to this butterfly, and point of viewpeter_stoeckl 1 09-09 02:28
To lousat: ... our camera : )peter_stoeckl 1 09-09 02:19
To batu: ... wieder aktivpeter_stoeckl 1 09-06 10:36
You must be logged in to start a discussion.

Critiques [Translate]

Ciao Peter, fantastic butterfly on a lovely flower, beautiful blurry BG with nice mountain landscape and blue sky, fine details, excellent sharpness, splendid light and wonderful natural colors, very well done my friend, ciao Silvio

  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2011-09-06 6:58]

Hello Peter,
Amazing photo of this Red Apollo, taken from an original low POV in splendid light and colours. The background is gorgeous. Fantastic sharpness, details and composition.

  • Great 
  • batu Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 1079 W: 293 N: 4497] (16383)
  • [2011-09-06 7:16]
  • [+]

Hallo Peter,
eine deiner luftigen Aufnahmen wie ich sie schon lange kenne.
Seit wann bist du wieder hier aktiv? Ich hatte deine Fotos
und Kommentare lange vermisst, bin dann selber für längere
Zeit auch abwesend gewesen und nun seit einigen Tagen wieder dabei.
Es freut mich, verdiente Smilies an dich vergeben zu können
Schöne Grüße, Peter

hello Peter
a super good picture with very nice BG
the colours and sharpness are beautiful
thanks greeting lou

A beautiful image, good point of view, nice colours. Good to see this butterfly. regards yiannis

How work weel our camera? Eehehehe....Fantastic pic,the shot of a day on TN,no doubt.Magnificent point of view to take so well one of the most spectacula butterflies living in Europe,total focus,sharpness,details,splendid colors.....2 points are not enough my friend!!!!Have a nice evening and thanks,Luciano.

Hello Peter

This is one of those images which stands out and attracts at first glance even in thumbnail with its simplicity, sharpness and freshness of the colours both of the BG and the subject. To me somehow the whole image whether it is the blue sky, the butterfly or the mountains and clouds convey a pollution free environs.


  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2011-09-06 8:05]
  • [+]

Lieber Peter,
Sehe gerade Dein Bild, mit unverkennlicher Stoeckl-Signatur. Mit dem Apoll scheinst Du immer Glück zu haben! Dass Du so spät noch frisch geschlüpfte Apollos gesehen hast, erstaunt mich auch. Habe bis jetzt noch nie welche im September gesehen.
Der Bildaufbau ist so gelungen und speziell, hast ja fast unter der Knautia liegen müssen :-) Und der Ausblick auf Berg und Himmel ist so gelungen. Auch gefällt mir dein WS-Bild sehr gut.
Herzlichen Dank auch für die ausführliche Beschreibung in Deinem Begleittext mit sehr interessanten Details.
Herzlichen Dank und liebe Grüsse

Hallo Peter,
tolle Aufnahme von diesem schönen Schmetterling mit einem gut gewählten niedrigen Betrachtungsstandort. Wunderbare Farben und gute Schärfe. Das Bild im Workshop gefällt mir ebenfalls ausgesprochen gut.
Viele Grüße,

Hallo Peter,
Die Aufnahme ist ein absoluter Traum. Ganz wunderbar präsentierst Du diesen tollen Schmetterling.
Gruss Georg

Hi Peter,
really amazing photo. Perfect point of view. Great sharpness. Nice natural colours. Great composition.
Have a nice evening,

Fantastic photo Peter! Beautiful subject, impressive POV, excellent composition, fantastic BG, wonderful colours and very good sharpness.

Hallo Peter,
what a fantastic macro shot, a great tribute to this magnificent butterfly, excellent poit of view for a superb visual impact
Best regards

Hello Peter,
This is a very beautiful butterfly and you have captured so well, excellent low point of view, very good clarity and great sharpness against a lovely view as the background, a superb work!
Thanks for sharing and have a goodnight,
Best Regards,

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2011-09-06 19:26]

Hello Peter,
The composition in this shot is great. You have a very beautiful butterfly filled with fine detail, which is perched on a singly flower, and an attractive mountain range as a BG. mountain. Well done!!

  • Great 
  • BREARD Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 106 W: 1 N: 419] (2141)
  • [2011-09-06 22:36]

Bonjour Peter,
Une très belle composition que cette image. Un papillon Une fleur, le ciel et la montagne.
Très bien fait

Queen of the Alps. Fantastic framing,Bravo

  • Great 
  • Nilson Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 488 W: 0 N: 566] (4423)
  • [2011-09-07 10:32]

Belíssimo trabalho de macro muito bom à composição e a nitidez excelente imagem perfeita meus parabéns por esta linda foto.

One of the most superb in my top ten Peter. It gives a out of focus but well known look to the environs...it just simple is an amazing image....I'll bet you were as pleased as punch that this one stood still for you just long enough!

Hallo Peter
Apollo featured against a clear blue sky, how beautiful! I just love the point of view, the bright colours, arty composition, but most of all, the atmosphere you captured here. The image as a whole has a feeling of blamelessness and quietness that surrounds it. Like the most of your previous images, it is truly beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Best wishes.

Hi Peter
Beautiful photo. Apollo is always fantastic. I like the POV and nice 3dimensional effect Great DOF, good sharpness Another good shot in your gallery

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2011-09-13 9:01]

Hallo Peter,
My favourite butterfly!
Great shot of this big beautiful butterfly perched on top of a purple flower. Great composition and sharpness.
Best wishes,

  • Great 
  • foozi Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2791 W: 0 N: 6696] (25839)
  • [2011-09-22 4:05]

Hello Peter,
it is simply an exciting shot to have this butterfly viewed on a pretty pink flower. Mostly, the wonderful mountain background make it so special. The view is hard to get and hard to compose too.
Excellent composition, thinking your position while taking this shot is quite interesting.


  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2011-10-11 1:27]

Hi Peter.
This picture is as wonderful as previous one. Its key point is fine soft lighting despite the use of flash light. Amazing individual of the splendid species. Hair of the butterfly, every colour tone of the insect and flower too is reproduced extremely exactly and well. Exposure of the image is precise too. It is visible simply on clouds and their colour shades. My compliments and best wishes, dear friend.

Peter, this is absolutely a beautiful shot. You did a wonderful job capturing it. Great sharpness and detail. Congratulations, Bill

Hello Peter

WOW ! great photo of this butterfly with a fine POV including the background
with the mountains, clouds and sky, contributing to the beauty of the photo,
great focus, sharpness, and details of the subject with its flower, TFS


Hello Peter,
Beautiful composition with great details against the faded background of mountains & sky.
Best wishes Subhash Ranjan

Calibration Check