My most rewarding project of 2017 was photographing butterflies at Red Butte Garden. In fact, the image above of a Satyr Comma (Polygonia satyrus) is my personal favorite photo of the year. I photographed Swallowtails, Monarchs, and Greater Fritillaries during a couple of visits to Red Butte Garden over the summer, but the real action was in November.
The weather had turned warm again after an early October cold snap. Butterflies were concentrating at Red Butte Garden to get nectar from the last prolific blooms to be found anywhere around; showy pale pink chrysanthemums and purple asters. I was able to observe and photograph ten different species of butterflies on a handful of visits in late October and early November.
The first Autumn butterflies I noticed were Painted Ladies (Vanessa cardui). It was the Painted Ladies loving the blue hyssop in my backyard that first put the idea of going back to Red Butte Garden to photograph butterflies in my mind. When I got there I wasn't disappointed, there were a lot of Painted Ladies. I was able to capture a number of fine images, none more exquisite than the wing detail above.
I was excited by a number of the butterfly images I was able to capture last year. I can also see a lot of room for improvement and exploration, which is exciting as well. Certainly some of the little guys that aren't represented here, like Coppers, Skippers, and Blues are worthy of more attention. I'm looking forward to observing butterflies even more closely this year.