Montana Outdoors

June 26, 2013

Sometimes they’re easy, sometimes they’re hard…

Filed under: Butterflies, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 10:03 pm

The easy photo is of a Cabbage White Butterfly who was visiting a Delphinium in our flower garden at home.

Cabbage White butterfly on Delphinium

The hard photo is this one of some unusual pink Penstemons, the only satisfactory result of an exhausting hike into the high country in search of an old trail leading to Marmot Peak from the Fishtrap area.

Pink Penstemon



  1. So beautiful! The penstemons are gorgeous. Do they only grow at high elevations? Stunning photo of the butterfly on a delphinium – one of my favourite flowers.


    Comment by Jo Woolf — June 27, 2013 @ 1:28 am

    • There are many species of Penstemons and they grow at nearly all elevations although there are a few that seem to prefer it up high on the peaks. This is one that I’ve not seen before and I don’t know if it is a separate species or a variation in color.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:08 pm

  2. Absolutely stunning photographs! What equipment did you use?



    Comment by Shakti Ghosal — June 27, 2013 @ 2:36 am

    • The first was taken with a Nikon D80 using a Nikkor 60mm macro lens. The second with an old Kodak 712IS: I used it on that trip only because it is very light and the hike was a hard one.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:09 pm

  3. Both of your photos are great but the one of your pink Penstemon is my favorite 🙂 // Maria


    Comment by mariayarri — June 27, 2013 @ 3:14 am

    • I like that one too. I fell in love with that little flower!


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

  4. The picture of the cabbage butterfly asnd the blue is awesome, Montocky, a great one. But I am glad you did the hard work and showed us the pink lady.


    Comment by bentehaarstad — June 27, 2013 @ 3:59 am

    • I was surprised to see the pink penstemon and in such an unusual location too.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:10 pm

  5. The color of that penstemon is fantastic. That would have made the hike worth while for me.


    Comment by New Hampshire Gardener — June 27, 2013 @ 4:18 am

    • It made my day too. There were plenty of blue penstemons in that area but I saw only two plants of the pink color.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:14 pm

  6. Either of those photos would make a beautiful poster.


    Comment by wordsfromanneli — June 27, 2013 @ 4:32 am

  7. The white cabbage-moth butterfly looks fantastic against the purple background.


    Comment by Vicki (from Victoria A Photography) — June 27, 2013 @ 5:13 am

    • That is a beautiful combination, isn’t it! Two of my favorite things!


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:17 pm

  8. Wow—stunning contrast of blue and white :-). I know what you mean—-sometimes you go to great trouble and end up with very little and other times you take a random shot and presto!


    Comment by winsomebella — June 27, 2013 @ 6:36 am

    • I take a lot of pictures on my hikes just for that reason. Sometimes one that I thought had little promise turns out to be the best.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:19 pm

  9. That’s a rich blue….and very nice pink, too, out in the wild. I stumbled across a whole mess of Colorado Columbine the other day…usually find them in only single or maybe double blooms out in the mountains, but happened to find them growing in near profusion up in one canyon…was a very nice reward….


    Comment by seekraz — June 27, 2013 @ 6:59 am

    • I envy you that find! I haven’t encountered a columbine around here. Interesting how flowers do that sometimes!


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:20 pm

  10. Just like real life, sometimes it’s easy, sometimes it’s hard. Beautiful finds with gorgeous colors. Looks like your efforts were well rewarded.


    Comment by anniespickns — June 27, 2013 @ 7:09 am

    • It just pays to be ready all of the time because opportunities will suddenly arise.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:21 pm

  11. I have to agree with the commenter above, life is like that – sometimes easy, sometimes hard – but always worth the trip! The first photo is stunning with the white butterfly popping off the background of color. The second one reminds me that beauty can arise from difficult and rough surroundings and isn’t that a good thought to hold on to?


    Comment by Mama's Empty Nest — June 27, 2013 @ 8:43 am

    • Yes it is a good thought, and so frequently happens in the natural world. This is indeed an amazing world!


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:23 pm

  12. Great photos, well worth the effort and perspiration!


    Comment by Mike Howe — June 27, 2013 @ 8:59 am

    • Thanks Mike. Yes, there’s always a reward for getting into the back country and it’s usually surprising.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:24 pm

  13. I love these pictures. They’re beautiful and very detailed. I’m also jealous. When film disappeared, I lost the use of my good camera and since then have been stuck with a cheap digital camera that gives me no control over depth of field. When I try close-ups like this, either the whole thing is blurry or the camera decides to focus on the background leaving everything I wanted in a blurred mess. What kind of camera are you using?



    Comment by knightofswords — June 27, 2013 @ 11:38 am

    • I usually shoot with a Nikon D80 and use the AF Micro-Nikkor 60mm f/2.8D lens for wildflowers and that is what was used on the butterfly. It gives you complete control over depth of field and also provides the ability to spot meter and the option of using a very small focus area. The other photo was taken with my old Kodak 712IS. It has problems and I replaced it with the Nikon, but I sometimes take it because it weighs only a pound compared to the 5 pounds of the Nikon and second lens. I’m now of an age where that much weight difference is significant for longer or more difficult hikes.

      Focus is always a problem, getting the camera to focus on what you want and not what auto-focus wants. The D80 has a very poor view finder and so manual focus is usually not nearly as good as auto, if you can get auto to focus where you want. On close-ups I usually re-focus a half dozen times before I see it zero in on my target, most difficult on light colors and delicate things with no sharp contrasting edges. The ability to increase the depth of field really helps.

      I just ordered an inexpensive point and shoot to take on those strenuous hikes to cut out those 4 pounds (which I can replace with sleeping gear). I’ll keep you posted on the results.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:35 pm

      • I’m eager to see your p&s results. Have you read about the Sony rx1 (and rx1r)? They’re supposed to be phenomenal, get glowing reviews, but it’s almost $3K for a point and shoot with a fixed lens! I would never in a million years buy that but I find it fascinating and would love to see what the photos are like, firsthand.


        Comment by Candace — June 27, 2013 @ 8:36 pm

        • Some of the prices for cameras now are way beyond ridiculous. I wouldn’t spend that kind of money for a P & S even if I had it to spend! I don’t have very high expectations for the little one I’ve ordered, but I’ll soon find out and if it gives me relatively good landscapes I’ll be content.


          Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 9:29 pm

      • I’m not a fan of auto focus, except in a point and shoot camera. Too many years with my Honeywell Pentax and the control if gave me.


        Comment by knightofswords — June 30, 2013 @ 7:41 pm

        • I prefer manual focus too, but with the poor viewer on the D80 it does better than I can manually, especially on closeups.


          Comment by montucky — June 30, 2013 @ 7:47 pm

  14. More superb photos and both were worth the effort!!!


    Comment by dhphotosite — June 27, 2013 @ 12:37 pm

    • A decent photo is worth a lot of effort as far as I’m concerned. Ironically, my photos are a side benefit to my hiking and exploring but they have become an important one. I will go to a lot of effort to photograph something that really catches my eye.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 3:38 pm

  15. I had a dress once that was precisely that color blue, and I didn’t know how to describe it. Now I know – delphinium! I do think the flowers made a wonderful setting for the butterfly. Also, I see that you were around Marmot Peak – do you have marmots in your area? I know they’re native to the Rockies. They’re wonderful creatures.


    Comment by shoreacres — June 27, 2013 @ 6:20 pm

    • We have two species of marmots, the Hoary Marmot and the Yellow Bellied Marmot. They have been pretty much pushed into the back country now by “civilization” and are seldom seen in or near the valleys.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 7:48 pm

  16. Well, they’re both beautiful but I’m a little partial to the easy shot. The white b-fly against that sumptuous deep blue/purple background is really eye-catching. I bought some penstemons recently that were supposed to be heat-tolerant, they didn’t even last a week. I guess there’s heat and heat.


    Comment by Candace — June 27, 2013 @ 8:38 pm

    • I’ve never tried to grow penstemons. There are 28 species of them that are native to the northwest but I can’t identify this one for sure. It may be a variant of the Penstemon humilis or Lowly Penstemon, but a very rare color for one in my experience.


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 9:41 pm

  17. your pink Penstemons are lovely ~
    and the white butterfly on the dark purple delphiniums is so gorgeous
    the light colored delphiniums i saw were on a trail in GNP, i have never seen them before and there was only one plant that color. fun.


    Comment by Tammie — June 27, 2013 @ 9:42 pm

    • I love the dark color of the Larkspur, but those pale ones are real knock-outs! Must be a variant. I’m glad you got such a great photo of it!


      Comment by montucky — June 27, 2013 @ 9:51 pm

  18. Hi Montucky, Your efforts have been well-received! Both pictures are great! Love the Penstemons. Have a super Sun. tomorrow!


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — June 29, 2013 @ 6:23 pm

    • Thanks wildlifewatcher! Have a great rest-of-the-weekend!


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2013 @ 7:43 pm

  19. oh wow….that first one looks like a fairy tale….I want to set that as my wall paper!


    Comment by skouba — June 29, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

    • That should make very pretty wall paper! I also love the color and the contrast.


      Comment by montucky — June 29, 2013 @ 8:18 pm

  20. Gorgeous. I love the saturated colors.


    Comment by anniespickns — July 5, 2013 @ 9:37 pm

  21. Wow, that’s such a crisp and sharp photo with the butterfly! Very nice!


    Comment by Fergiemoto — July 7, 2013 @ 11:42 pm

    • Thanks! Those little guys are everywhere now and they are such pretty little things!


      Comment by montucky — July 8, 2013 @ 8:00 pm

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