Tattered tails

Butterflies are such amazing creatures to observe.  The way the flit about through a garden and search through the flowers for their favorite nectar it a great joy to watch.  At the same time, when you look closely you will see that most butterfly wings show signs of wear.  It is somewhat unusual to see the wings unscathed by everyday life.  I don’t know if it is birds getting to them or if the delicate wings just get damaged in their constant landing and taking off but most often, I see holes and tears and missing pieces.

You can see on this yellow swallowtail that only one side has the iconic tail at the end of the wing.  She lost that other one somewhere but that does not really diminish the overall beauty.  Thinking about this reminds me how often we judge things based on our idea of perfection.  When something fails to meet that standard, we feel like it has less value and we tend to dismiss it.

This happens even in the case of how we treat other people. This behavior of holding things up to a standard of perfection often causes us to miss out on what is wonderful in spite of small flaws.  Nothing is really perfect.  We should be looking for what is good and building it up instead of tearing down what is imperfect.  Again, my photography teaches me life lessons.  What a great way to spend time learning more and looking for beauty.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail
(Papilio glaucus)

Atlanta Botanical Garden
Atlanta, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/11 – 1/100 sec – ISO 200

Flowers of all types

The butterfly is a flying flower, the flower a tethered butterfly.

                                                                 Ponce Denis Ecouchard Lebrun

Once again, nature shows me how beauty appears in so many shapes and forms.  The colors and details of the butterfly’s wings against the flower’s petals and color is amazing.  The delicate legs and antennae, the curl of the proboscis which allows this insect to draw nectar from the flowers, all part of a little creature that we see float past on lazy summer days.

Doesn’t it just make you want to sit and wonder over the miracle that is our home?

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
250mm @ f/9 – 1/40 sec – ISO 100

Chasing butterflies

Along with beautifully landscaped gardens, visitors are treated to a variety of sculpture when strolling through Gibbs Gardens.  In the area leading up to the Japanese Garden, there are a group of bronze children.  I think these are representations of the founder – Jim Gibbs’ grandchildren but I’m not absolutely sure of that.

I grabbed an image of this little girl in bronze chasing butterflies.  It seemed to be capturing a past memory or a dream so, I added a bit of hazy vignette to give it that effect.

Gibbs Gardens
Ballground, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
300mm @ f/18 – 1/60 sec – ISO 100

The art of Nature

There is no end to the amazing beauty of nature.  Looking at landscapes or flowers or animals is a constant source of fascination for me.  It is incredible to think that all of this surrounds us every day and yet, we mostly ignore it.  Sometimes, you just have to stop and enjoy the simple joy that is available in appreciating how glorious our world is!

Photography is my excuse to pay more attention and find things that are beautiful and/or interesting to the eye.  I find that the more I try to do this, the easier it is to spot the things that make a good image.  It doesn’t mean that there is no work involved.  I still need to seek these things out.  I must go out earlier or later than I usually would, visit places I’ve never been or just take a closer look at what’s right in front of me.  This takes patience and practice but the rewards are great.  I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
270mm @ f/9 – 1/60 sec – ISO 100

Camouflage

Nature has many forms of beauty and amazing patterns in so many different places.  This butterfly was a challenge for me to capture for a couple of reasons.  One of them was that its pale-green color was very close to the surrounding foliage.  It also didn’t move very much but tended to stay on a single leaf with wings folded so, it looked like a leaf rather than a butterfly.

I know this is all part of nature’s design to help these little creatures avoid being scooped up as food for other animals.  In a lot of ways, it also adds to the fun of nature photography by requiring me to hunt for a good opportunity and be patient.  I have to admit that patience is not my favorite thing.  I would much rather have what I want, RIGHT NOW!  But, there is only one thing that increases patience and that is PRACTICE.  Of course, if you don’t have much patience, that can be very frustrating.

Ah well, I guess if I had everything immediately and didn’t have to work for it, I wouldn’t appreciate it much.  When you think about it, taking time to slow down and appreciate the little things is what is really good about life.  So, I guess I will need to keep practicing…

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
135mm @ f/11 – 1/80 sec – ISO 100

Oooh, Aaah!

It’s not fireworks but we got to see some breathtaking beauty in the Butterfly Encounter at the Chattahoochee Nature Center on July 4th.  The exhibit is an annual event where they set up an enclosure with flowers and lots of free-flying butterflies that you can walk through and see up-close.

Some of these amazing insects rarely stop moving, beating their wings constantly and rapidly moving from one flower to the next.  A few will stop and draw nectar from a flower for a long while and only move the wings on occasion before moving on.  We even had several that landed on our shoulders or heads and hitched a ride for a while.

It is great fun seeing this flying artwork and admiring the many shapes and colors that make each one unique.  From a photographic viewpoint, they are beautiful subjects but quite demanding. It’s not easy to find spots where they land which has good lighting, a favorable background and an angle where you can see the details all in the few seconds before they move somewhere else.

Butterfly Encounter
Chattahoochee Nature Center
Roswell, Georgia

Nikon D7100
Tamron SP 16-300mm F/3.5-6.3 Di II VC
135mm @ f/9 – 1/40 sec – ISO 100

Eastern tiger swallowtail

On our trip to Harris Neck, I got a couple of bonuses when looking for bird images.  One was the presence of some cool insect life around Woody Pond where the bird rookery was.  Another, was to discover that my Tamron 150-600 works equally well for relatively close shots as it does for distance.

There were some neat butterflies and dragonflies at the pond’s edge enjoying the wildflowers and sunshine.  I certainly couldn’t blame them since this was a beautiful morning to be out enjoying nature and all it has to offer.

I guess I have to go back to work now but, I can always dream of the next opportunity to see beauty like this and capture more images to share.

Harris Neck National Wildlife Refuge
Townsend, Georgia, USA

Nikon D7100
Vanguard Altra Pro 263 AT tripod
Tamron SP 150-600mm F/5-6.3 Di VC USD G2
600mm @ f/9 – 1/200 sec – ISO 320