The South Downs in Mid-Summer
Southern England is currently enjoying a heatwave, thanks to an area of high pressure to the north of Britain, bringing very warm air over the country. Temperatures in parts of inland Sussex have basked in daily maximum temperatures of 30°C, while Brighton has reached 28°C on successive days. We very seldom enjoy prolonged spells of warm weather in the British Isles, which experiences a changeable, maritime temperate climate. Although there's a place for fun and games during hot weather, it's not here on alanmackenziephotography.com, as I've been hard at work in the meadows and fields with my camera.
After the dismal, wet summer of 2012, butterfly numbers have recovered significantly. Windy conditions in previous years have frustrated my attempts at butterfly photography. Thanks to stable weather systems in July 2013, winds have been almost non-existent. I've spotted large numbers of Small Tortoiseshells, Meadow Browns, Marbled Whites, Common Blues and in smaller numbers, the Chalkhill Blue, Red Admiral and Comma. Photographing butterflies is an arduous and fiddly task, made easier by approaching them in early morning (count me out) or late evening, when these ectothermic creatures are inactivated by lower temperatures. I always choose very calm weather and use a tripod, mirror-lock up (to prevent vibrations), self-timer, remote cable-release (again to prevent vibrations) and very importantly, I ensure that the camera sensor is perfectly aligned with the head and wings to ensure even sharpness across the frame.
I think after all that, it's time to put my camera away, pour out a glass of beer, enjoy the hot weather and order a curry. Chin-chin!