In the sparsely butterfly populated corner of Northwest Oregon where my family and I make our home, a fleeting glimpse of what at first glance appear to be large black and white lepidopteran wings immediately brings one name to mind: Pale Swallowtail. So when, while setting up a slip-and-slide for our daughter one hot July afternoon, just such a flash of black and white crossed my field of view, I dashed straight into our house and grabbed my camera and 100mm macro lens in hope of getting a few shots of it.

Fortunately for me, thanks to the cloacal excretion of a previously passing bird, my intended subject lighted on a just-above-eye-level leaf of the Vine Maple tree next to our driveway and began to probe it for salt. As soon as it settled, I could immediately tell it was not a swallowtail at all but an admiral – a Lorquin’s Admiral to be precise. Not a species prone to rest with its wings outstretched, its intricate underwing patterns contrasted exquisitely with the vivid green of the early summer leaves; I knew at once that it would make a superb photo. The challenge was that as the leaf upon which its fecal meal was resting was slightly higher than my five foot eight frame would allow me to see comfortably side-on, I needed to stand tip-toe and stretch in order to get the best angle for the photo. Thank heavens for the superb stabilizer in Canon’s 100mm macro lens!