Photo Bruce Larner
Insects are fascinating creatures with far more species than all the other multicellular animals put together. Butterflies are just one small subsection of insect life but perhaps the most colourful. There are more than 15,000 species of butterflies worldwide but only 59 or 60 can be seen regularly in the British Isles.
Butterflies have very varied lifestyles. On the wing in the sexually reproductive adult form in the UK mainly in summer months, all of them must get through winter somehow, to reappear the next year as the beautiful flying insects so many of us love. Some species do this as eggs, many as caterpillars, a few as chrysalis and several as hibernating adults.
My interest in wildlife started around the turn of the millennium, initially with wild flowers in Southampton Old Cemetery, UK. My ‘wow moment’ with butterflies came when a Small Copper flew past me one hot sunny day. I couldn’t believe how beautiful this tiny butterfly was. I realised I needed a camera to record the beauty I was now discovering all around me.
Having not owned a camera since I was a child in the late 1950’s, in 2005 I purchased a Nikon Coolpix E4800 ‘point & shoot’. Soon I started to wander far and wide to record these truly amazing insects. I was captivated and I still am.
I upgraded in early 2011 to a Panasonic G2 but found it far too difficult to use, so in late 2012 I purchased a Panasonic FZ200. This is a super-zoom bridge camera that I still use today.
I’m no ‘photography geek’; most of the time my camera is set on ‘Intelligent Auto’. My skill is to be in the right place at the right time and to recognise a beautiful composition. Then, with the right camera, to act quickly before the subject takes flight.
In 2018 I entered a Butterfly Conservation photo competition and to my great surprise won first prize in the prestigious ‘UK Butterfly’ section (out of about 30 entries). This recognition was the spark that made me decide to start this website.
In February 2019 I exhibited 31 of my photos at Harbour Lights Gallery in Southampton as a fundraiser for Butterfly Conservation and raised £2300 for this wonderful organisation from sales of 63 butterflies.
In March another 13 photos are being displayed in the Hawthorns Wildlife Centre on Southampton Common - ends 31 March
I live in Southampton and spend a lot of time during the butterfly season recording these beautiful insects with my camera.