When asked "Why butterflies?" I really don't have a straightforward answer. And yes, as a child I already was chasing butterflies (and caterpillars), and over the years I took several pictures of butterflies on holidays, but only in 2002 I started to photograph butterflies in a more serious way. And to be honest the new fire started more or less by chance when I took some pictures of a common blue (anything but common) to try out my new digicam. Since then my fascination has been growing rapidly again. If anything, butterflies make me realise how fragile we really are: life is a miracle!

Although the digicam had a good lens and an unbelievable depth of field, the colors and pixel-count weren't up to par in that time. So in 2002 I decided to buy a macrolens, a Sigma APO macro 180mm F3.5, which I mounted on my old Canon EOS 100. The Sigma crashed within a month, so I had to buy a second macrolens, a Canon 100mm F2.8. Most of the pictures I made that year are made with the last lens, handheld or on a monopod. In 2003 I started photographing again with my (repaired) Sigma on a new Canon EOS 3, and in almost all cases I used a tripod. In 2004 I bought my first digital SLR, a Canon 10D, soon followed by a 20D, and later a 40D. In 2010 I switched to my current full frame Canon 5D Mark II. The Sigma 180mm is still my favourite lens, but it seems Sigma has discontinued this lens in favour of the 150mm lens. On a full frame I need the extra mm's and I really like the bouquet of the Sigma 180mm. I am still waiting for Canon to introduce a digital equivalent for the EOS 3. The new Canon 5D Mark IV looks promising, and hopefully Canon finally will come with a successor for their old 180mm macro lens too.

I stopped experimenting with flashlight. It is a rather sophisticated matter, and apart from a darker background, the colours seem less natural, so so far all pictures are made with available light! My Canon 5D Mark II delivers more or less noise-free images at 200 ISO, but early in the morning and later in the evening this still can lead to exposure times between 1/60 and 1/15 of a second and that leaves little room for moving targets..... In my opinion, despite the before mentioned problems, the best times to photograph are in the early morning or the late afternoon. The light is beautiful and the butterflies are more easy-going! However you definitely need a tripod under these circumstances.

Unfortunately enough I don't live in an area or a country with an abundant butterfly-life. In the Netherlands you may find about 70 different species. However in my direct neighbourhood (within a range of 100 km from Amsterdam) you can encounter about 35 different species. Most of them can be found in the dunes west of Amsterdam. The woods and heathlands east of Amsterdam are not as rich as the dunes. So to get to see less common butterflies I will have to travel at least 100 kilometers. It won't be a surprise that most pictures on this site are made elsewhere in Europe. France has been my favourite destination for a long time, but the last few years I have been in Hungary, Italy, Spain, Switzerland, Germany, Greece, Turkey, Macedonia, Romania, Portugal, and Austria too.

After photographing for more than a decade I still have a huge list of wishes. Naturally I hope to improve the quality of the pictures on this site. I also would like to photograph all Dutch species in the Netherlands itself. And one day I hope to have a complete list of all European butterflies...

For any comments, answers or whatsoever you can send me an email at: groenendijk1963@gmail.com