Thursday, March 27, 2014

Magic Wings Butterfly House

I have enjoyed several visits to the Magic Wings Butterfly House at the Museum of Life + Science in Durham, NC. March 23 was special because I went there on an outing with the Carolinas Nature Photographers' Association. We were given access before the facility was opened for the public that day, which meant good opportunities to quietly stalk these creatures.

While I waited for the front element of my camera lens to defog (the butterfly house is kept at about 80ºF/27ºC year round, and fairly humid, while outside that morning it was cold, not much above freezing), I spotted a cooperative poser on a photogenic perch.

The dew hanging from this flower caught and magnified the images of leaves around it.

Recliner? Reclining Maja?

Reclining Magenta?

When I'm surrounded by colorful butterflies and flowering plants, I'm not usually "thinking in black and white", but I could hardly keep myself from imagining these leaves in a monochrome rendering, so that's where I went with this one.

This succulent is an unusual shade of blue-green.

A sudden flurry of motion caught my attention:

She lit on a joint of my tripod leg.

Here's an overview, the widest view I could get with the lens on my other camera.

She paused on the camera body.

I swapped cameras so that I could hand hold the shorter lens and locked the big rig on the tripod. That's when it became clear that my friend was female. She laid a few eggs (yellow spheres) on the lens hood among other places.

[all photos EF 100/2.8 L IS macro or 70-200/2.8 L IS II + Extender 2X III]



  1. These are stunning photos, Jess! The incredible detail that you've captured is just amazing! I don't think I've ever seen better photos of these beautiful creatures.

  2. Yes, fiddlefreak is so right, these photos are stunning! I love the dew drop picture and did you say one butterfly lit a joint? Seriously, your writing and pictorial story are profound and breathtaking! Bravo!!

    1. "...and did you say one butterfly lit a joint?" LOL!
      Thank you Jacqui, and fiddlefreak!

  3. I can't think of a better word than the one used in the previous comments, "stunning!"
    You could produce a beautiful photo-essay for children, about the photographer whose camera became a place for a butterfly to lay her eggs. It would be wonderful! Would you consider expanding on this series of photos?

    1. I think that could be a great idea for a collaborative effort!

  4. Bravo, Jess!!! Great job with some beautiful compositions. I was on that shoot with you, as you know, and I did not get squat!! As the flies were too quick, I started shooting the photographers, who were somewhat slower. Getting those butterfly shots is not as easy as it looks, folks!


    1. Thanks for the appreciation, Ken. You have the eye, the artistry and the basic skills, and I know your success rate with this type of photography will improve with practice.


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