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 on Wildflowers

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.