Sometimes my writing juices flow and I can blog forever…. then there’s times that I can go months and can’t write a thing. For the longest time I couldn’t find what to write about here. Here recently, I started noticing a few people on Facebook doing something with 30 Days of Thanks. Each day they made a post of something they are thankful for. I’ve seen 365 day projects too….
…So I thought “that’s it” : I’m going to do a 30 Days of Thanks Photo Blog.
A quick bit of history: This past year I decided to take my photography seriously and learn a bit. I never guessed macro and butterfly photography would become my “favorite”. My initial plan was to capture sports because that’s what I spent most of my time doing before. I quickly found that I had no interest in it if it wasn’t someone I knew…
Soon enough I realized: I love butterfly photography .
…So here we go….
Day 1: I’m Thankful for Butterfly Photography
But even more specifically, I’m thankful for the Monarchs this year…. they made my butterfly photography that much better ! If you’ve seen my pics, you know I love the butterflies and the occasional hummingbird, bee or other critter, mixed in with a person or two, here and there…. but butterfly photography is my favorite…butterfly photography of butterflies in flight, or still shots with a macro lens…. it doesn’t matter. Why? I don’t know….Perhaps it’s their colors; the intricate details…..the precision and complexity that make something so small and seemingly so insignificant still so beautiful. They remind us that life is ever changing rapidly, that beauty is fleeting and that the small things matter. What is here today is gone tomorrow…. As I sat in the garden this year expanding my butterfly photography, I watched….A new one would come around… It’s wings were perfect: not a single mistake and the most vibrant of colors. Over the next few days I’d continue to observe. This once beautiful creature… was becoming tattered and torn. The winds of change were upon him ever so quickly. A reminder of our own fate on this earth…
Most of my butterfly photography this year was of the same old same old: gulf fritillaries, buckeyes, the occasional yellow cloud, etc. I captured a few swallowtails, but they didn’t say long, and when they were there it was difficult finding one with a perfect set of wings. So I waited…all year for the Monarchs…. the final piece for my butterfly photography collection. I waited and waited and finally resolved they might not come.
Finally in mid-late October the Monarchs started showing up….here and there, one by one…. Each day no matter what I was doing I made sure to take time to capture them… I couldn’t miss the opportunity to add them to my butterfly photography collection…. They were the missing piece. They are always pretty skittish at first. Sometimes one would show up for a day and there’d be a few days without any. The first few times I went out to my bush they’d fly off. Soon they got used to me. They started staying around and got used to me nosing around. Towards the end of the month, they really started showing up more, staying longer, and hanging out. I think the most I had at one day was 3. It pretty much made my year when they showed up! When working on my butterfly photography , I usually start out with still shots, and macro work. I have to slowly approach them for macro. Once I get a few decent macro shots I move on to in flight shots. I shot all of these shots over the course of 2 weeks. I sat by my door waiting to see one outside. Sometimes I’d sit there for hours, just watching.
A Little About Monarchs:
My Favorite Subject for Butterfly Photography
Monarchs are known for their distinctive orange and black colorings, and their favorite food is milkweed. They
go through 4 life cycles and 4 generations in a year. The 4 life cycles are: 1) Egg 2) Larvae (caterpillar) 3) Pupa (chrysalis) and 4) adult butterfly. (As of now all of my butterfly photography is just the adult state). The 4
generations means exactly that: In 1 year there are 4 different butterflies undergoing this lifecycle. So when I say I enjoy butterfly photography because it reminds us that beauty is fleeting…. this is why…. We might live 60-80 years or more. A butterfly dies after weeks or months… Actually the first 3 generations of butterflies dies in 2-6 weeks while the final generation is the one that makes it south and lives there a few months. Monarchs migrate south to avoid the c
old temperatures and to find food. These most recent subjects of my butterfly photography are likely in their 4th generation. If they make it south, they’ll live there for 6-8 months !
So How Did I Discover Butterfly Photography, & Where Do I Find The Butterflies
I got in to butterfly photography by accident I suppose. I knew little about gardening but wanted to plant some perennials at my new house. I found a site online that offered t
ons but also had some pre planned gardens: one of which was a butterfly garden. I bought it and planted it out back. I loved it so much I bought another for out front, and another drought tolerant garden. By the end of year I had flowers everywhere and butterflies everywhere as well. As I got interested in photography, I began sitting outside capturing them. My interest in butterfly photography really grew when I picked up a used macro lens. I started getting nice shots, and decided the next addition to my butterfly photography collection was butterflies in flight. Not a day goes by that there aren’t quite a few out there on the plants. You can visit my website to see my butterfly photography: In flight shots and Macro/ Still shots.