Have you ever noticed while walking or hiking, a very tiny bright blue flash out of the corner of your eye. You stop to look for it and can't find it. Well, it is probably a little blue butterfly, that flashes its blue when the wings are open. When it is sitting at rest, there is no blue color to be seen because they usually sit with their wings closed. Also, these little blue butterflies are so fast and soooo... small. Most are no bigger than 1/2" - 1" when sitting.
Now, try taking a picture of them! I creep as close as I can and then it darts away before I can focus the camera. I have to look again for this little blue, that really is only displaying its pale gray wings. But when I have a photo, it is so much fun to magnify this image and see the beautiful details of orange and black spots and little threadlike tails or hairstreaks. And it is the spots (color, shape, position and number) and tails that you need to see to identify them.
All of these images are larger than life size so imagine trying to find them or focus your camera on them.
Gray Hairstreak (with tails) - Strymon melinus
Reakirt's Blue - Hemiargus isola
Reakirt's Blue (female) - Hemiargus isola
Eastern Tailed-Blue (with tails) - Everes comyntas
Eastern Tailed-Blue - Everes comyntas
Spring Azure - Celastrina ladon
Camera: Canon EOS 40D
Lens: Canon EF100-400mm F4.5-5.6L IS USM
Steiner 10x42 Predator Binoculars
Kaufman Focus Guides - Butterflies
Butterflies through Binoculars The East
Butterflies through Binoculars The West
Butterflies of the Great Lakes
Caterpillars of Eastern North America
Caterpilliars in the Field and Garden
All images © MSCI