A miracle of monarchs, Axel Gomille, Germany, 2010

Axel Gomille/Unforgettable Behavior
October 28, 2021
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Flock of monarch butterflies
Axel Gomille/Unforgettable Behavior

A miracle of monarchs
Axel Gomille, Germany
2010

Millions of monarch butterflies migrate south through North America to spend the winter in the cold but sheltered forests of El Rosario, in the mountains of central Mexico. “The sheer density is unbelievable,” Gomille said. In March, as the temperature rises, the monarchs become more active and the migration north begins. After warming up in the first rays of the morning sun, the roosting monarchs fly down to drink, needing water to make use of their tiny fat reserves. Gomille’s aim was to capture both the butterflies’ movement and their rich colors, “lit up against the dark forest backdrop.” This required lying almost in the puddle, so that the sun hit the butterflies from the side, highlighting those in the air.

Technical specification: Nikon D300 + 17-55mm f2.8 lens at 17mm; 1/125 sec at f13; ISO 500

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