Butterflies captured landing on flowers in Cambridgeshire countryside

Sign of the summer! Gorgeous butterflies are captured landing on flowers across the British countryside in stunning pictures

  • Retired Cambridge University lecturer Dr John Brackenbury photographed butterflies between 2017 and 2019 using unusual technique
  • Unconventionally, he would picture them from below, revealing large amounts of sky and glare of the sun
  • Butterflies including Large White, Peacock, Duke of Bergundy and Red Admiral were captured 

Remarkable close up photos show a series of beautiful butterflies mid-flight.

Captured against brilliant blue sky, the extraordinary images showcase the insects’ allure as they alight on flowers in the Cambridgeshire countryside.

Retired Cambridge University lecturer Dr John Brackenbury photographed the butterflies across the county between 2017 and 2019 using an unusual technique of shooting them from below into the light.

Remarkable close up photos show a series of beautiful butterflies mid-flight. Captured against brilliant blue sky, the extraordinary images showcase the insects’ allure as they alight on flowers in the Cambridgeshire countryside. Above: The Large White species of butterfly prepares to land on a flower

Retired Cambridge University lecturer Dr John Brackenbury photographed the butterflies across the county between 2017 and 2019 using an unusual technique of shooting them from below into the light. Above: The sun beams through the wings of this Painted Lady butterfly as it flutters above a field

The zoologist originally began taking detailed, close up photos to study insect flight, before turning it into a hobby

The 71-year-old from Willingham, Cambs, said: ‘I have a passion for insect photography in general although for the last three years or so I have concentrated on the butterfly story. Above: The Brimstone butterfly flies through the sun’s gaze

Dr John Brackenbury said he initially used high-speed photography as a research tool to study insect flight but became ‘more and more drawn’ to what he called the ‘sheer beauty’ of butterflies which was revealed through the camera

Dr Brackenbury said his high-speed photography was ‘technically accomplished’ but that it not portray the kind of image that he was looking for. He said he wanted to find a way of bringing the viewer ‘so close to an insect in flight’ that they felt they were ‘almost flying alongside it’. Above: The Duke of Bergundy butterfly flaps its wings above a field’s tall flowers

Instead, he began the concept of what he termed ‘panoramic close-up’ photograph but he then had to embark on a ‘years-long search’ for a photographic means to convey what he wanted. He said the final pictures his successful result. Above: Above, a Large White’s wings almost touch as the butterfly scythes through the air

The zoologist originally began taking detailed, close up photos to study insect flight, before turning it into a hobby.

The 71-year-old from Willingham, Cambs, said: ‘I have a passion for insect photography in general although for the last three years or so I have concentrated on the butterfly story.

‘Initially I used high-speed photography as a research tool to study insect flight but gradually I became more and more drawn to the sheer beauty of these creatures that was being revealed through the camera.

‘The photography was technically accomplished but it did not portray what I was really after – to bring the viewer so close to an insect in flight that they felt they were almost flying alongside it.

‘So began the concept of a ‘panoramic close-up’ photograph and with it the years-long search for a photographic means to portray it.

‘The final design are the pictures that you now see.

Dr Brackenbury said he goes against ‘normal photographic conventions’ by shooting upwards into the sky, often almost ‘straight at the sun’, as is clear from the photo above

Dr Brackenbury said his unconventional way of taking pictures gives a ‘magic’ to the photos by creating a ‘coincidence of time and light’ which ‘links the viewer with the butterfly’. Above: A proud Peacock  butterfly’s wings, which are flecked with dashes of purple, illustrate how it got its name

Another Large White comes in to land on a bright pink flower amid patchy cloud and bright sun in a Cambridgeshire field

The Red Admiral in flight just before it lands on a large collection of flowers. Dr Brackenbury said his pictures are an attempt to enter the world of butterflies and take the viewer with him

‘I go against normal photographic conventions by shooting up into the sky and often almost straight at the sun.’

‘To me, that coincidence of time and light is a kind of magic that links the viewer with the butterfly.

‘I would describe my pictures of butterflies as an attempt to enter their world and take the viewer with me.’

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