Tag Archives: butterfly

High Flyers and Low Crawlers

Can you find the caterpillar among the bluebonnets?

It’s been a fun week bringing to the blog a taste of the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Butterflies love Indian paintbrush.

From wildflowers to cacti to sculptures to out-of-focus hummingbirds, the Austin venue has something for all nature lovers. Including different kinds of critters.

A turtle ignores me.

Turtles swim silently in a small pond near the entrance.

A chrysalis harbors new life.

Chrysalises hang on in screened eclosion boxes where they’re safe from predators.

Silk moth caterpillars hang out on leaves.

An insectary houses caterpillars that will develop into silk moths. I’d never seen so many of the little crawlers in one place before.

A bee hovers over Wright’s skullcap flowers.

My experience with wildflowers has been that beasts usually accompany the beauty. Most of the varmints have been bees, of course, who like the flowers as much as I do.

Is the bee reading the informative sign?

Looks like they want to learn more, too!

Hit and Miss

Even the sign looks pretty.

The Mister and I made the three-hour drive Saturday to Austin to visit the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center. It was my vision of paradise!

Sidebar: My vision, not my sons’. They both laughed when we suggested they come with us (we could’ve picked up my older son at UTSA with a slight detour), both separately telling us to “have fun.” I guess that’s when you know you’re getting old.

A butterfly stares from a pink coneflower.

After snapping away at gorgeous wildflowers and things that flew around them for several hours, I came away with one conclusion.

Another butterfly stops to say howdy.

Although I was over the moon at some of my photo hits, like these two of butterflies that actually wanted to pose for me (which is such a rarity here in the Houston area) . . .

Missed it by that much!

. . . I’ll spend much more time lamenting the misses, like this one of a hummingbird that suddenly was attracted to some Wright’s penstemon I was standing by. I just couldn’t lock on it with my Nikon D700’s manual focus before it flitted away. Oh, how I so wanted a crisp, in-focus photo of that darned hummer!

If only it could’ve been cooperative like my other flying friends!

Gonzales’ Wildflowers Wow Me, Too!

Indian paintbrush surround a disc golf basket.

I haven’t traveled all over the great state of Texas.

Indian blankets

In fact, I don’t like to leave my 10-mile radius in our town outside of Houston.

Winecups

Still, I can’t imagine any Texas towns that are prettier than Gonzales during the spring when the wildflowers are blooming.

More Indian paintbrush

It just so happens that driving the back way home from San Antonio takes you smack-dab through this historic, little village. I detoured a bit to see how the flora looked along the disc golf course.

Indian paintbrush amid the bluebonnets

And I was richly rewarded! I’ve never seen so many clusters of Indian paintbrush. They look so wonderful mixed in with the bluebonnets . . . probably because the University of Illinois’ colors just happen to be orange and blue. Hail, alma mater, ever so true (so true).

A butterfly enjoys a false garlic.

The skippers and butterflies, though, seemed partial to the maroon winecups and white false garlic.

I wonder if they’re Aggies!

One-Word Wednesday

A butterfly visits my neighbor’s plants.

Monarch!

Thanks for posing!

One-Word Wednesday

A monarch butterfly hangs on a flower in Chicago.

Monarch!

Showing off!

A Satisfying Butterfly Capture

A butterfly floats near our kumquat bush.

As I’ve documented before, butterflies baffle and bedevil my photographic efforts. They tend to flit and float just fast enough to make it impossible to focus on them and capture their beauty.

But I got lucky yesterday! I watched a swallowtail butterfly dance and dart around our kumquat bush in the backyard. As I admired it, I thought it was useless to go grab my Nikon dSLR and try to snap a photo. But it kept tantalizing me, so I figured what the heck?

Thank you, kumquats!

Look who caught lightning in a bottle!

One-Word Wednesday

A skipper rests on a bluebonnet in Gonzales.

Critters!

A damselfly visits the Mission Concepción in San Antonio.

A bluebonnet draws interest from a bee in Gonzales county.

This magenta wildflower is a fine stopping place for a skipper in Gonzales.

Red is this butterfly’s favorite color; the flowers are in a field in Gonzales county.

A bee is barely visible among purple flowers outside of the Mission Concepción.

A skipper watches disc golf at Imperial Park.

Communing With San Antonio Nature

Little purple flowers at McClain Park

When we decided to visit my older son at college in San Antonio last weekend, I pondered what lenses I would bring to complement my Nikon D700. The Nikon 50mm lens is a no-brainer, because it’s easy to carry and great for low-light photo ops.

Then the Mister and our #2 son mentioned that they’d like to play disc golf in a couple parks, which made the Nikon 105mm, a great action and macro lens, another easy decision.

At the cactus edge

At McClain Park, where all three of my guys threw discs, there were a lot of trees. That made the lighting conditions tricky.

Old blue eyes is back! A damselfly poses.

Still, I was pleased at how I was able to capture a good photo with the 105 of one of the many damselflies close to the creek winding through the park.

A blue-black butterfly inspects the flowers.

As we were exiting the disc golf course, a large blue-black butterfly darted among the flowers. Snapping decent pix of butterflies can be so frustrating, because they tend to flit instead of pose. But today was my lucky day!

An orange butterfly hangs from a society garlic plant.

Times two! When I saw this pretty orange butterfly moving among the flowers (including the same society garlic that attracts dragonflies to my front yard) at a restaurant, I whipped out my camera and got up close and personal.

The #2 son tees off at Live Oak Park.

Still, my favorite animals to shoot while communing with nature are the human kind like this character. He’s cute, mostly tame, and occasionally he’ll even pose for me . . . albeit often unintentionally.

Butterflies Are Free . . . and Blurry

Can you tell what this is?

I’m told all the time that I’m a good photographer. Friends praise me, people in cars driving by express their admiration, dragonflies love to pose for me.

So what keeps me humble?

Photos like these!

It looks like a butterfly.

Recently when I was snapping pix of dragonflies, a large butterfly flew from one end of my front yard to the other.

It IS a butterfly!

This was the second or third time that this beautiful, brown flyer has teased and tortured me by moving just quickly and erratically enough that I had trouble focusing on it.

Float like a butterfly.

I wanted to get just one crisp, clear photo so badly. Just one!!

Sting my ego!

Yet all I snapped were lousy pictures.

The blurry butterfly floats past my front door.

Almost all of these I would have deleted; however, I kept them to make a point in this blog post.

Bye, bye, blurry buddy!

The minute you think you’re sitting on top of the photographic world, just try to capture pix of a floating butterfly. Think I’ll get me a diet Coke to wash down that piece of humble pie.

Photographing Flying Friends With Different Lenses

Buddy looks a little like the old Mr. Magoo!

As I was lamenting not having my Nikon 70-200mm lens while I was shooting disc golf last week, I was standing by a huge tree. Two butterflies were chasing each other, as I hoped fervently that one or both of them would land on the tree so I could snap a photo.

One finally did! In fact, he kept flying off and then landing close by and almost seemed to be posing for me, as I continued to take pix after pix of him with my Nikon 105mm macro lens . . . which I was so glad I had instead of that 70-200.

Work it, Buddy, work it!

I spent about 10 minutes snapping away at Buddy (my name for him . . . catchy, dontcha think?) and chatting with him (although it was a one-sided conversation). I had a great time getting to know him.

A small, yellow skipper stops to rest.

A couple days later, I was back taking disc golf photos. This time I was toting my 70-200mm lens, because I wanted to stay out of the way as much as possible while still getting crisp pix of my #2 son and his friend Reid. When the boys had moved on to other holes, I stayed behind because some butterflies and moths had caught my eye.

Update: Actually, according to my butterfly-expert friend Brant, these are skippers, which are in the butterfly and moth family.

A brownish skipper also takes a break from flying.

Would the long zoom lens be able to compete with the prime macro lens? I must admit that I didn’t feel as close and personal with these flying insects as I did with Buddy and the macro. Nope, I didn’t even name them.

A pair of skippers seems amorous.

But I think the 70-200mm did a fine job capturing a lot of detail. And I’m sure that these two lovebirds are awfully glad that I didn’t get too personal!