Photographing the monarchs in Mexico is challenging. There are so many, your brain goes into overload! They are most active in the mid-day between 11am and 4pm, so the light can be rather harsh and contrasty as well. (Is contrasty a word or did I just make that up?). Flash? Not an option – prohibited in the sanctuaries.
So what to do?
My solution – I looked for monarchs backlit by the overhead sun and tried to place them against a dark forest background. The mid-day sun actually worked in my favor, and I could occasionally get them to glow from the backlighting, like in this image.
I focused on the cluster of butterflies on the wildflowers and then waited for others to fly in and bring a little bit of motion to the image.
Monarch butterflies in flight and resting on wildflowers, El Rosario, Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Mexico. Canon 7D Mark II. 361mm. ISO 1600. f/13 @ 1/500 second. EV 0.