A Return Visit to Shoot the Butterflies

On Thursday, Lorraine, Debbie, and I returned to the butterfly house at the Texas Discovery Gardens and took my “special friend” Lucy along.

Lucy was excited as she has never before seen butterflies and could not believe her eyes as they fluttered about. I made certain to change her clothes in hopes that bright colors might attract the butterflies but even though she held very still they seemed to prefer to flutter around the crazies instead. I was able to get one photo where a Zebra Longwing butterfly came close to get a better look at her.

Lucy and the Zebra Longwing (Photo by Lala)

Lucy and the Zebra Longwing Butterfly
(Photo by Lala)

Lucy and the Crazy Women... Lorraine, Lucy and Debbie(Photo by Lala)

Lucy and the Crazy Women… Lorraine and Debbie
(Photo by Lala)

Let me share with you a few of the photos by Lorraine.

Soon to Fly Free (Photo by Lorraine)

Soon to Fly Free
(Photo by Lorraine)

Paper Kite(Photo by Lorraine)

Paper Kite
(Photo by Lorraine)

(Photo by Lorraine)

(Photo by Lorraine)


Butterflies Flutter By…

Last year Tess and I went to the butterfly exhibit at the Fort Worth Botanical Garden conservatory but evidently that is held every other year. We enjoyed it so much and it was Tess’s first experience shooting butterflies. That was our first outing for the newly formed CWPC.

We are fortunate to have butterflies here in Dallas, year round!
On Saturday, March 2, a group of the crazies went to the Texas Discovery Garden at Fair Park to visit the butterfly house.
It was warm and humid in the butterfly house. They try to maintain the temperatures between 80 and 85 with humidity of 60-70% to replicate a tropical rainforest.

Shooting butterflies is tricky. First of all… they flutter by so quickly and sometimes don’t stay still for long. The lighting was a challenge as well, as there was bright sun and shaded areas sometimes making for contrasty photos. I would definitely like to return on an overcast day to see if that would make it easier to shoot them.

And then of course comes the question as to which lens to use. I was initially shooting with a 24-105 zoom lens and then switched to a 100mm macro lens. The macro lens was excellent but many times I could not get close enough to the butterflies and they would take off, so then I tried my 100-400mmm zoom lens which had good reach from a distance. Donna had recently gotten a macro lens and was having great success using it.

So as you can see, there was a lot of trial and error.

Around noontime, John (the entomologist) released freshly hatched butterflies into the butterfly house. Just as he had said, many of the butterflies headed to the windows seeking the light. There was a beautiful blue butterfly that we all wanted to shoot but he seemed to be quite elusive and on the move.

There is so much to consider when shooting butterflies. Do you want the wings open or a side shot with them closed? If the plane of your camera sensor is parallel to the butterfly, your chances of getting more in focus will be improved when using a macro lens. And ideally, it is nice to have a butterfly on a beautiful flower. So we wandered the butterfly house shooting from all angles and a variety of lenses.

By about 1 PM, the butterflies had worn us out and we went to Big Star Burgers in Rowlett for lunch.

The next day, my e-mail was full of butterfly shots and in spite of many deletes, I think we all came home with some keepers and fond memories of our day out together.

The Butterfly Shooters A Self Portrait Tess, Vickie, Donna, Lala

The Butterfly Shooters
A Self Portrait
Tess, Vickie, Donna, Lala

I will feature the best of the butterfly photos that the crazy women submitted to me.
Hope you enjoy them and if you have a chance, make a trip to see and shoot the butterflies.

The “Crazy Women” thank John and Kerry and the rest of the staff for their hospitality on our visit and we do hope to return again and again!

Vickie sent me some of her favorites, so let’s start with them…

This one is a Sunrise Longwing (I think).

Nectar (Photo by Vickie)

(Photo by Vickie)

I think this next butterfly is a Julia Longwing.

Shiny Orange  (Photo by Vickie)

Shiny Orange
(Photo by Vickie)

Upside Down (Photo by Vickie)

Upside Down
(Photo by Vickie)

Allison's Favorite Zebra Longwing (Photo by Vickie)

Allison’s Favorite
Zebra Longwing
(Photo by Vickie)

Tomorrow I will feature more butterflies by another crazy woman!
Stay tuned for more…