Macro photo of eastern tailed blue butterfly atop purple coneflower.

The Small Blue

Macro photo of eastern tailed blue butterfly atop purple coneflower.
The Small Blue — 100mm | f/3.5 | ISO 100 | EXP 1/500

Editor’s note: [July 29, 2017] This is not a small blue butterfly. It is an eastern tailed blue butterfly. It’s the small thin tail that earns this distinction. Shout-out to Dave Blinder who coincidentally posted a shot of an eastern tailed blue on his Instagram today thus unveiling my error. It’s always good to learn something new. I’m keeping the title as is—it’s still a blue butterfly small in size.

A favorite bug friend came to feast upon a favorite flower. Macro serendipity multiplied. It’s been years since I’ve photographed a small blue butterfly. (Note: This is not a small blue) So you can imagine my happiness when I spied it doing its nectar thing atop a purple coneflower.

Outside with my gear I got to work making photos. Pleased the dive bombing carpenter bee that was harassing the silver-spotted skipper earlier had left its post, the little small blue eastern tailed blue was able to feast unmolested. While small this little fella packed plenty of courage. He paid me no mind as it drank about the coneflower, dexterously darting its tongue amid the orange spires. With notable discipline the small blue eastern tailed blue worked clockwise about the coneflower stamen at a steady pace. The predictable clockwork fashion aided my shooting. I was able to get close and anticipate its maneuvering with ease.

From here I worked the full midday sun into advantage. It afforded fast shutter speeds to aid handheld sharpness. More beneficial, it infused the exposure with strong contrast. This creates the deep blue-black behind the small blue and amplifies the dramatic streak of highlight running atop the edge of its wings. Lending a theater quality that might shine upon the actor during her soliloquy. The small blue eastern tailed blue muse was not lost on me.

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