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The Apollo.

A few weeks ago I spent a cracking 10 days in Bulgaria leading a macro photography trip for Natures Images. I had not been to Bulgaria for many years and with my appalling memory it was like visiting a new country. The emphasis on the trip was to work with the many diverse insects that we would find in the meadows of what became quickly apparent, is still a largely unspoilt and beautiful country. We visited many areas but those in the mountains, especially the Rila and Rhodops Mountains were spectacular.

During the trip we visited many meadows and pointed our lenses at a large number of gorgeous insects. However, it was difficult to select a favourite. Often anticipation, the moment of having to wait, intensifies the senses, and with luck, the actual experience lives up to your long waited expectations. This was certainly the case with the absolutely stunning, apollo butterfly.

The butterfly season in Bulgaria this year was really late because of a prolonged cold and rainy month before we arrived. In fact we had actually arrived on the first, really sunny day of summer.

We had chatted about apollos during the whole trip and because the season was late it was never certain we would actually get to see one, let alone photograph it. So, on that eventful dawn when we left the warmth of the hotel and walked out onto the mountain top, with a vista to die for, and we got our first glimpse of a roosting apollo, it literally took our breath away.

Superlatives are often over used as if they are trying to justify something is actually better than it is, or to redress that slight disappointment when you actually find your long waited for quarry. This though is not a case of tired, over blown words, the apollo butterfly is absolutely fantastic, large, glitzy and drop-dead gorgeous!

We spent a couple of hours working with 5 different adults as they roosted in the cool, dawn air. When the sun crested the mountain tops and its magical, warm fingers caressed the butterflies they woke as if from a long hibernation and slowly flapped their lazy ways across the sun-kissed, high altitude meadows. What a morning, what a butterfly.