Indeed, insects don’t have quite the same photographic appeal as many other high-profile natural subjects. However, butterflies are the one group which are the exception. They are, without doubt, the most popular and best loved family of insects in the world. They occupy a special place in people’s affections and are admired for their beauty and elegance on the wing. Their bright, vibrant colours and graceful flight add an extra dimension to the countryside and bring colour and interest to the landscape and gardens throughout the spring and summer. Even people with entomophobia make an exception and can’t help but admire their beauty and charisma.
There are approximately 750 species in the United States, compared to 473 in Europe. Despite their popularity among photographers, many butterflies are in decline, with some becoming scarce or even close to extinction. Their abundance in country lanes and meadows, commonplace in previous generations, is now a thing of the past in many locations. Changes in agricultural practices and the large scale destruction of pristine habitats are the primary causes of their diminution in many parts of the world. I have fond memories of how common some species were when I was younger, but, sadly, this is no longer the case. I have spent many years travelling and running workshops to see and photograph many other species in the mountainous regions of Europe.