25-11-2011 - Jumping frog

For years I wanted to take pictures of flying butterflies and dragonflies. People like Stephen Dalton are the big experts here, and every fall/winter when I look in their books I want to give this a try. Now this requires a lot of time, patience and also very important, the equipment. So I am a bit short on all three points (one more than the other), but now I have finally taken the first step. I started with a frog, which is of course much easier than a butterfly or something like that. It is, however, a very nice experiment to find out how flash units etc work. I have probably learned a few things again, and I hope to at least take a picture of a flying insect next year. I am already very satisfied with the first result.
Jumping Common Frog - Rana temporaria
Jumping Common Frog - Rana temporaria




16-11-2011 - Best for last

I saved my personal favorite from 2011 for last. In any case, I don't expect to photograph any more insects this year, except maybe another Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel. Next year I hope to be able to make more of these kinds of pictures and focus less on species and close-ups. Now waiting for spring again and in the meantime hopefully taking some beautiful landscape pictures.
Lycaena dispar - Large Copper
Lycaena dispar - Large Copper


This time two versions of the same photo. Normally I don't like cloning, cropping or over-editing photos at all. In this case I found the three light spots a bit disturbing and I decided to get started with the "clone stamp". Unfortunately I'm not really sure yet which of the two is the best, and whether the three spots are disturbing enough to remove. Anyway, here are both versions.


Original from the photo above
Original from the photo above




11-11-2011 - Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel

Over time, most insects have disappeared. However, there are a few species of butterflies and damselflies that overwinter as adults. One of these species is the Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel. A while back, with the first frost I went looking for these damselflies again. Despite the fact that it is normally quite a job to find them, it was pretty easy this time. The photo below is the result. Soon I will look again, hopefully with some more ripe.


Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel
Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel




02-10-2011 - Star trails

The past week has been beautiful cloudless weather. While most butterflies are gone for the winter, I tried something completely different. This time I went out in the evening to capture "star trails". In itself, this is nothing more than taking a picture of the sky with a long shutter speed. Because the earth rotates relative to the stars, this gives the "trails" effect. The tricky part is that you need a place with as little light pollution as possible, no clouds and if possible no moon. Some minor problems are focusing and creating the composition. So in total I wend out for three nights to take two pictures, but I think the result is quite nice.
Startrails and tree
Startrails and tree




28-09-2011 - Aeshna subarctica - Bog Hawker and the Kootwijkerveen

Last Friday I took a day off again to look for the Aeshna subarctica - Bog Hawker. In the meantime I have been trying to take a picture of this dragonfly for the last 3 or 4 years, but until now without any luck. After a whole day of slogging without taking a single picture, a Aeshna subarctica - Bog Hawker finally flies along. This lady gives me about 1 second to get a dramatic shot, then flies away like crazy. In the photo, the part with the dragonfly is enlarged, but even that makes recognition almost impossible. This might be the worst photo of the last 5 years!!!
Worst photo ever of the Aeshna subarctica - Bog Hawker
Worst photo ever of the Aeshna subarctica - Bog Hawker


This week I was once again looking for a beautiful landscape. When I lack inspiration I usually end up at the Kootwijkerveen. Personally I think it is one of the most beautiful places in The Netherlands, but I do keep making the same pictures. Still glad that I went out for a while and was able to make a better picture than the previous years. Who knows, maybe I try again this week to photograph a beautiful landscape.
Beautifull morning at the kootwijkerveen
Beautifull morning at the kootwijkerveen




04-09-2011 - Time for landscape pictures

It is already September and so the butterfly season is already coming to an end. Of course there are still a few species that can still be found this month, but they are not getting any better with this weather. Because the weather was beautiful last weekend, I had to go out. For a change I went out again to take a beautiful landscape photo. I had the picture below in my mind last year, but the circumstances were never good enough. Last Saturday everything fell into place and I am finally quite satisfied with the result.
Beautiful morning in the vicinity of Radio Kootwijk
Beautiful morning in the vicinity of Radio Kootwijk


Now just like all summer, I'm just waiting for the weather to get better again. Hopefully it will still be possible to take a nice butterfly on dragonflies photo. If not, it will be focusing on landscapes in the coming months.


08-15-2011 - Switserland August 10-12

Without any planning I went to Switzerland for a short time. Wednesday morning at 06:15 we got in the car to arrive at the Albulapass after driving for about 9 hours straight. It was the intention to find a late Melitaea asteria - Little Fritillary here. After 2 hours of walking in the mountains I gave up hope and started looking in the lower fields to find some butterflies. Finally found a nice field with quite a few different butterflies species. Unfortunately it was too windy to take pictures, but I was able to find the right spots for the next morning. After eating some bread with cheese and half a bottle of Coke I parked my car somewhere to go to sleep. This was going fine until I woke up stiff frozen around 04:00, it was freezing. Just made a round in the car with the heater on, then got another hour of sleep.
Sleeping place on the Albula Pass
Sleeping place on the Albula Pass


Woke up slightly tired, but next to the field where the butterflies were. It was quite easy to find fairly large numbers of butterflies. The light is often the only problem between the high mountains, and once the sun comes over a top it is immediately warm and the butterflies are gone again. I mainly kept myself busy with a photogenic Argynnis aglaja - Dark Green Fritillary and some other small butterflies. Most of them were unfortunately already a bit old and worn out... After eating the usual Sultanas and bread with cheese, we went out in search of dragonflies. Near Saint Moritz is a beautiful lake which is great for dragonflies. In order not to experience another hellish night, we first booked a hotel and then went out. After a little walk we found plenty of dragonflies, but taking pictures was a different story. After a few hours of struggling, I was finally lucky enough to get a picture of a sitting Somatochlora alpestris - Alpine Emerald. The other dragonfly I wanted to find was the Aeshna caerulea - Azure hawker. Because we couldn't be find it here, I checked out some other lakes, but unfortunately also without success. At the end of the afternoon we drove to the Julier Pass to see if there were still nice butterfly fields for the next morning. Unfortunately not much exciting to find and so decided to sleep in a bit. After eating a nice steak around 09:00 I fell asleep in a normal bed.
Argynnis aglaja - Dark Green Fritillary
Argynnis aglaja - Dark Green Fritillary


Because I didn't have a specific plan we didn't set an alarm. Around 08:00 we checked out and left again in the direction of the lake in search of the dragonfly. But unfortunately 5 hours of waiting without a glimpse of this animal. Furthermore, few pictures were taken and around 13:00 I was pretty fed up and went back to the car. Unfortunately, due to an awful lot of work on the road in Germany, the return trip was really bad. But after 12 hours of driving I ended up in my own bed again.
Somatochlora alpestris - Alpine Emerald
Somatochlora alpestris - Alpine Emerald


Now back in the Netherlands it's a bit of a countdown until the season is over. Hopefully there will be a few more nice photo mornings... let's wait and see...


26-07-2011 - Ischnura pumilio - Small Bluetail

With all the rain lately, I want to take every opportunity to go out and take some pictures. Last Saturday there was a chance of some sun in the south of the country. Despite the fact that it is almost a 2 hour drive, I still set the alarm clock at 03:40 and drove towards Montfort (Limburg) around 04:00. Ischnura pumilio - Small Bluetail would have been seen in good numbers on a beautiful field in the area. It therefore takes little effort to find several damsels sleeping. Even the sun cooperated nicely so this was a great morning. The weather seems to be getting a little bit better soon, so hopefully more action in the near future.
Ischnura pumilio - Small Bluetail
Ischnura pumilio - Small Bluetail




19-07-2011 - France, july 1st till 15th

This trip to France was with the whole family and this time I didn't do much with photography either. We had a beautiful house in the quiet town of Vernoux-en-Vivarais. Along the garden ran a small stream where various dragonflies could be found. Of course I made some pictures, but all within a radius of about 300 meters from the house. I managed to get 4 new species in the picture, which I certainly did not expect. The Calopteryx xanthostoma - Western Demoiselle and the Calopteryx haemorrhoidalis - Copper Demoiselle were found in reasonable numbers. The Platycnemis acutipennis - Orange Featherleg took a little more effort, just like the Cordulegaster boltonii - Common Goldenring. With a fair bit of patience, I managed to take quite some nice pictures of the different species.


Cordulegaster boltonii - Common Goldenring
Cordulegaster boltonii - Common Goldenring


After returning to the Netherlands, the weather seemed to be reasonable, so we set the alarm clock at 04:00 and left for the Maculinea teleius - Scarce Large Blue. With each kilometer I got closer to the destination, the sky got a little darker and on arrival the possible sun had unfortunately disappeared. Despite the lack of sun it was of course quite fun to take pictures. Now I'll just have to wait until the weather gets better, in any case I'm glad I'm no longer in France at the moment.
Maculinea teleius - Scarce Large Blue
Maculinea teleius - Scarce Large Blue




15-06-2011 - Germany / Hungary June 6th till 11th

06-06-2011
After putting the little girls to bed, I leave for Germany together with Jordi Strijdhorst around 20:00. The plan is to find and photograph the Coenonympha hero - Scarce Heath here. The final destination is a small forest path in a beautiful forest area about 550 kilometers from home. We arrive around 01:30 am and after drinking a beer I quickly fall asleep behind the steering wheel.
07-06-2011
Unfortunately, when we wake up around 05:00, it turns out to have rained quite a bit, but we set off anyway. The first two hours we manage to find only a few butterflies. By the time the weather starts to improve, we come across a few butterflies, including Melitaea diamina - False Heath Fritillary and a single old Coenonympha hero - Scarce Heath. As a nice extra we also find a Bombina variegata - Yellow-bellied Toad. On the way back to the car we come across a few Brenthis ino - Lesser Marbled Fritillary butterflies that have just hatched. After some bread and Coke we leave for Hungary around 10:00. The journey doesn't make much progress, and the naviation shows us half of Slovakia, but around 20:00 we arrive at our hotel in Aggtelek (Hungary). Since the weather is not great and the journey was quite tiring, we stick to chips with paprika and a few beers.


Bombina variegata - Yellow-bellied Toad
Bombina variegata - Yellow-bellied Toad


08-06-2011
The day starts at 04:00. We drive about 10 minutes to a beautiful valley and after a half hour walk we find the first butterflies of the day. I especially hope for the Brenthis hecate - Twin Spot Fritillary, and luckily we also find enough of these. There are also a few Melitaea britomartis - Assmann's Fritillary. We wait until noon to see if any Limenitis populi - Poplar Admiral comes out of the trees to drink on the ground. Before that, it starts to rain heavily and we call it quits. We have something to eat and drink at the hotel, then sleep for a while to recover. When I lie under the covers for 5 minutes, the sun starts to shine and I can't resist looking again. In the same valley I now find at least 4 Limenitis populi - Poplar Admiral and as a bonus a Lopinga achine - Woodland Brown that wants to cooperate with the photo. (which doesn't often work) By the end of the afternoon it starts to get cloudy and the butterflies are gone again. After dinner we search around the hotel for frogs and toads and find the Bufo viridis - Green Toad and the Pelobates fuscus - Common Spadefoot. We saw a lot of nice animals this day.
Brenthis hecate - Twin Spot Fritillary
Brenthis hecate - Twin Spot Fritillary


09-06-2011
Again the alarm goes off at 04:00, but this time with quite heavy rain. Because the butterflies can't be found anyway, we try to find the Salamandra salamandra - Fire Salamander. It is still fairly dark and because it is also raining, the salamanders come out of their hiding places. After walking around for an hour, we find 2 Salamandra salamandra - Fire Salamander of which we make a lot of photos. Around 10:00 the first Limenitis populi - Poplar Admiral shows itself again. Unfortunately, the sky soon becomes cloudy again and we don't see this beautiful butterfly anymore. The only nice animals that I still get in the picture are the Coenonympha arcania - Pearly Heath and the Lycaena virgaureae - Scarce Copper. At the end of the morning I meet Rob de Jong who has a beautiful campsite in the area of ​​the Bukk Mountains. After a short chat I decide to go to Bukk to look for the Lycaena alciphron - Purple-shot Copper the next day. Once at the campsite we also find the Bombina bombina - Fire-bellied toad which makes the amphibian list quite complete. By the time we have to go into the tent, it starts to rain like crazy.
Limenitis populi - Poplar Admiral
Limenitis populi - Poplar Admiral


10-06-2011
No alarm clock today, everything is damp from the rain, so we slept until about 08:00. The weather is not great but at least it's dry. The whole morning we walk in the area around the campsite. In the backyard we find Lycaena dispar - Large Copper and Lycaena alciphron - Purple-shot Copper but unfortunately we are a bit too late for fresh animals. Because I really want to take a picture of a beautiful Lycaena alciphron - Purple-shot Copper, Rob helps me find a good spot higher up in the mountains. Because it is a bit colder here, the butterflies here are slightly less old and perfect for a photo. After hanging around here for half the afternoon, the weather is getting worse and we're calling it a day. After a good meal and a drink we decide to go back to the Netherlands earlt next morning.
Lycaena alciphron - Purple-shot Copper
Lycaena alciphron - Purple-shot Copper


11-06-2011
We still get up at 06:00 to look for nice animals in the area before leaving. Again the weather does not cooperate completely and at 08:15 we get in the car to leave for the Netherlands. The first two hours of the journey are a bit disappointing, but after that it goes almost by itself and after fourteen hours of driving I get out again at home. Another beautiful trip but also great to lie in my own bed again.


24-05-2011 - Greece May 13th till 18th

13-05-2011
After saying goodbye to the family, I take the train to Schiphol at 10:20. I'm curious how it will be on my own, but I'm looking forward to it anyway. After a successful first flight I get off in Rome, after which I have to wait more than five hours for the next plane to Thessaloniki. At first this seemed like a very smart / cheap plan, but afterwards it was a drama to have to wait so long alone. Arrived hours later with a little delay at 00:30 at Thessaloniki airport. Of course, picking up the rental car doesn't go well either and I'm on the highway around 02:00. When I arrive in Siatista at 04:30 I decide to park my car somewhere in a meadow to sleep there until 06:00.

14-05-2011
After this "fantastic" trip and short night it is a bit strange to wake up in the car on a strange place, but I get out of the car anyway and go looking for the first butterflies. That is also quite disappointing and I can only find some Polyommatus icarus - Common Blue and Melitaea cinxia - Glanville Fritillary. I quickly decide to go to the next place in search of the Euchloe penia - Eastern Greenish Black-tip. After walking for over an hour I am still not much further... Getting back in the car to look a little further and have better luck this time. Finally the first butterflies I came for, the Anthocharis gruneri - Gruner's Orange Tip. Now that it's starting to get warmer, more and more nice species of butterflies seem to appear out of nowhere. I want to drive a little further and now see the Euchloe penia - Eastern Greenish Black-tip just flying over the road... After a lot of sweating I finally put the first new species on the picture. Around lunch time it is too hot to take normal pictures. I stop by the supermarket for a six pack of beers, a bottle of Coke and a bunch of bananas to serve as lunch. Until about 16:00 during the hottest part of the day, I enjoy myself with a group of butterflies drinking on a path. It's not easy to take normal pictures here, but still very nice. Then back in the car to look for a hotel. Fortunately, that quite easy here, and so I am soon back in the hills to look for some butterflies. By the time the sun disappears behind the mountains I look for sleeping butterflies so that I know where to be the next day. Unfortunately I can't find the right species, but I do find a beautiful Scolitantides orion - Chequered Blue that is sitting on a grape hyacinth.
Euchloe penia - Eastern Greenish Black-tip
Euchloe penia - Eastern Greenish Black-tip


15-05-2011
At 05:45 the alarm goes off to go out for a nice day. I don't have to go into the hills yet because the sun rises on the other side of the mountain. Nearby is a nice water where I first take some pictures of an emerging Anax imperator - Blue Emperor. Then the journey goes back into the hills. Soon I'm back at the Scolitantides orion - Chequered Blue and take some nice pictures, but I can't find many other species. I decide not to linger too long in this place and continue towards Pelekanos where I visit some beautiful places. As always, the spots are beautiful, but I can't find many special species, because the light is still pretty nice now, I photograph the still sleeping Melitaea didyma - Spotted Fritillary. When all the animals are too wild to record on camera I drive on. When I park the car halfway through the ride on the side of the road to make an overview picture of the landscape from a few rocks, I come across a Erynnis marloyi - Inky Skipper. That's just lucky, and it is already the third new species so far. Since this is not the most exciting type, I quickly move on, and after some puzzling with the map I drive to Lygeri where I continue my search in the area. The Protrebia afra - Dalmatian Ringlet can be found here in fairly high numbers. Of course these butterflies do not want to cooperate at all, but in the end I take an acceptable photo and continue. Then quickly back to see what yesterday's drinking spot looks like now. Here I am lucky enough to find the Leptidea duponcheli - Eastern Wood White, and count it as the fourth new species. The weather is starting to get worse now so it's time to try my luck again at the Euchloe penia - Eastern Greenish Black-tip. When the sun is gone, these butterflies often rest somewhere on a plant, which makes photographing a little easier. I hope for the same behavior with the Anthocharis gruneri - Gruner's Orange Tip, but they are suddenly untraceable. When the wind starts to blow and the clouds are approaching, it is time to go back to the hotel.
Melitaea didyma - Spotted Fritillary
Melitaea didyma - Spotted Fritillary


16-05-2011
After a good night's sleep until 06:00, I continued my journey. Now back to where I started in the first place. This time with more luck, I find a sleeping Pseudophilotes bavius - Bavius blue and a Pyrgus sidae - Yellow Banded Skipper. After taking a lot of pictures, I wait for the Pseudophilotes bavius - Bavius blue to open his wings, but it remains cloudy and cool. In order not to waste any more time, I check out and get in the car to drive to Xanthi via Lake Vergoritis. The intention is to look for dragonflies at this lake, but that is easier said than done. With the car I reach the water after crazy sandy paths with great difficulty. It is a very beautiful place but few animals to photograph. Still lucky enough to get a picture of a Anax parthenope - Lesser Emperor. Then relaxing with a beer and then resume the journey to the east. After a few hours of driving, just before the sun goes down, I arrive at the place where I want to be the next morning. Hopefully I will find the Lycaena ottomanus - Grecian Copper here so I don't have to search the next morning. Of course there is no Lycaena ottomanus - Grecian Copper, so I decide to take it easy the next day. Unfortunately I'm still looking for a hotel for over an hour, but in the end I find a cheap place in Xanthi.
Pseudophilotes bavius - Bavius blue
Pseudophilotes bavius - Bavius blue


17-05-2011
Sleep in until 08:00, wonderful! Because I'm already late, I also have to have some breakfast, and then go out. I walk through all the fields that look good for the Lycaena ottomanus - Grecian Copper, but without success. Then follow the River Nestos in search of suitable places. Fortunately it is beautiful here and I find a nice population of Zerynthia cerisy - Eastern Festoon that do not want to be photographed at all. After many attempts I give up and go back in search of some food and drink. In the meantime, most of my energy is pretty much gone and I hang out on a terrace somewhere. By the time the sun is a bit lower I have to go back to the Zerynthia cerisy - Eastern Festoon. This time with more success, in the shade a beautiful specimen is already getting ready for the evening. While enjoying a group of flying and squeaking Bee-eaters I make the last beautiful records of this trip. When it's dark I enjoy a snack and a drink and around 22:00 the return journey begins.
Zerynthia cerisy - Eastern Festoon
Zerynthia cerisy - Eastern Festoon


18-05-2011
00:30 I park my car in the parking lot of the car rental company. My flight back is only at 06:55 and that means waiting until 05:00 before I can return my car. The next five hours are terribly long, and I now decide to never take the cheapest flight ever again!!! The rest of the journey goes well and around 15:00 I arrive back at Ermelo, The netherlands.
This was a great trip, at times a bit boring on your own and a lot of driving up and down (1250 km) But I would love to do it all over again!


25-04-2011 - Dragonflies

Friday, April 25th we went looking for dragonflies in the Weerribben for the first time this year. Despite the beautiful weather lately, there were few dragonflies or damsels to be found. I was still able to take a great picture of the Cordulia aenea - Downy Emerald.
Cordulia aenea - Downy Emerald
Cordulia aenea - Downy Emerald




17-04-2011 - Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip

On Sunday I set the alarm again at 5:00 to look for the Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip. Wend to a nice spot near Almelo where I found eleven sleeping Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip. Of course, the predicted sun came through the clouds too late, but despite that we were able to take some nice pictures. Below the best from the series.
Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip
Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip




15-04-2011 - The first butterfly photo of the year

It took a while but this morning I finally took the first butterfly photo of the year. Before going to work I have been looking for Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip. There was not much to be found, but luckily I still came across a Pieris rapae - Small White. Who knows, maybe I will search for Anthocharis cardamines - Orange Tip again this weekend.
Pieris rapae - Small White
Pieris rapae - Small White




08-03-2011 - Spring is coming again

Fortunately, spring seems to be coming again. Yesterday we saw the first Aglais urticae - Small Tortoiseshell flying again, so just a little longer and we can take pictures again. I also booked a ticket to Thessaloniki, Greece last week. Of course you always have to wait and see what such a trip will bring, and whether the weather will cooperate a bit, but I hope to find some nice new butterflies around mid-May. Furthermore, I also planned a few days in Hungary around the beginning of June, and at the beginning of July I will go with the family to the Ardeche, France. Looks like a lot of fun plans for 2011.

I caught a dragonfly larva to take some picture af during the winter. Below is the larva of the Erythromma najas - Large Redeye.
Larvae of the Erythromma najas - Large Redeye
Larvae of the Erythromma najas - Large Redeye




01-02-2011 - Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel

The last few winters I try time to find the Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel. It is always nice to look for insects despite the fact that it is winter. Last Sunday the chance of frost was reasonably present with some fog and temperatures between -2 and -6. After an hour of searching we found three damselflies. Quickly took some pictures with the below result. Now we just have to wait until spring starts and the first frogs and butterflies can be found again.
Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel
Sympecma paedisca - Siberian Winter Damsel




13-01-2011 - Bad weather

Unfortunately the weather has been terribly bad lately, lots of rain, no sun. The inspiration is equally far to seek. Between the showers I was able to quickly shoot the picture below, but that's about it. So now that I don't get around to photography, I just tried to process the last remnants of the 2010 results in my site. So here's the last butterfly and dragonfly updates of 2010. From now on we have to wait for better weather for hopefully some landscape photos, and of course for the new butterfly season!

Arkemheen, The Netherlands
Arkemheen, The Netherlands