Small blue thing

The Small Blue, cupido minimus, is Britain’s smallest butterfly. I took this photograph at the end of August on the chalk downs of southern England on a bright sunny day.It isn’t particularly rare but it is very small – only about 22mm wingspan (7/8 inches), so difficult to spot. Luckily for me this one sat still long enough for me to photograph it. I took about 8 versions of this and chose one with a lighter exposure as it concentrated the eye onto the butterfly itself.

It was quite a tricky shot to take as the butterfly is so small and it was difficult to focus on it with the numerous strands of grass in front. Using an auto-focus just wouldn’t work so I set my Olympus Pen to ‘P’ setting so I could manually focus. I was using a 40-150mm lens to get close to the little creature. The light and movement of the grass in the wind is captured beautifully by this camera – one of the reasons why I love it so. I am trying, when I get time, to learn more on how to use it and am reading a combination of two books to learn more, I will write some more about this in another post.

I don’t know much about butterflies and I could have identified this one wrongly – so happy to correct this post if I’ve called it the wrong thing. It could be a Short-tailed blue (but this is quite rare) or an Adonis blue, or a Chalk hill blue, or Common Blue, so any entomologists/lepidopterists out there please tell me! Here’s what Reader’s Digest’s ‘Field Guide to the Butterflies of England’ say about the Small Blue:

These frail little butterflies – the smallest in Britain – are vigorous flyers as they flit from flower to flower drinking the nectar….The constant movement through plants gradually wears the scales off their wings and the butterflies lose their colour, develop ragged edges and become rather pathetic flyers.

The title of this post comes from the lovely Suzanne Vega song Small blue thing

Today I am
A small blue thing
Like a marble
Or an eye

With my knees against my mouth
I am perfectly round
I am watching you

I am cold against your skin
You are perfectly reflected
I am lost inside your pocket
I am lost against
Your fingers

I am falling down the stairs
I am skipping on the sidewalk
I am thrown against the sky

I am raining down in pieces
I am scattering like light
Scattering like light
Scattering like light

Today I am
A small blue thing
Made of china
Made of glass

I am cool and smooth and curious
I never blink
I am turning in your hand
Turning in your hand
Small blue thing


2 thoughts on “Small blue thing

  1. Great shot – I know a little about butterflies (not a lot) but I am pretty sure it isn’t a common blue; although I too would go by a text book ID. Look forward to more posts on the Olympus Pen.

    1. Hi Jools. Thanks for stopping by and commenting – it’s really good to hear what people think of my shots. I still haven’t figured out what it is and can see some similar butterflies on 500px and Flickr (just signed up to both of these as MsPolyethylene) that have been labelled common blue – so really not sure!

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