A magnificence of monarchs

Jaime Rojo's Image

Jaime had witnessed the spectacular gathering of monarch butterflies before, but this time he had a permit to remain until dusk. ‘I had to run uphill chasing the last light, all the trees around me trembling with butterflies,’ says Jaime. The finishing touch came as one butterfly opened its orange wings, the rest of the colony filling the frame.

Every autumn, millions of monarch butterflies migrate nearly 5,000 kilometres from their breeding grounds to overwinter in Mexico. The sacred fir forests drip with insects gathering together for protection. But this remarkable event is threatened by the use of herbicides across North America, illegal logging and an increased frequency of winter storms.

Behind the lens

Jaime Rojo

Jaime Rojo


Jaime is a Spanish-born photographer based in Mexico City. He frequently collaborates as a photographer, filmmaker and communications advisor with environmental organisations, educational institutions and government agencies in Mexico, the United States, Canada and Spain. He is a Senior Fellow of the International League of Conservation Photographers and a trustee of the WILD Foundation.

Image details

  • Nikon D4
  • 70–300mm f4.5–5.6 lens at 155mm
  • 1/8 sec at f11  •   ISO 1250
  • El Rosario, Monarch Butterfly Biosphere Reserve, Michoacán, Mexico
Copyright in WPY competition photographs remains the property of the respective photographers. You may not copy, share, reproduce or republish the photographs except as expressly permitted by copyright law. For media image usage enquiries, please contact us.

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