I try to bring my camera with me almost wherever I go, because I never know when a great photo opportunity will present itself. Earlier this week I was teaching piano lessons at Regis University and had some time to kill when one of my students didn’t show up. I decided to go for a walk around campus, but didn’t get more than 20 feet beyond the front door of the building, because I found myself surrounded by a cloud of butterflies that were feeding in a flower bed next to the building. I’ve never seen them there before, but assume they must be passing through as part of a migration, or maybe conditions were just right for them this year.
I spent the next twenty minutes attempting to photograph them. In doing so, I looked more closely at the insects than I ever had before, and learned some things about them I probably should have known already but didn’t . For instance, this species at least feeds with wings closed. The butterflies extend their wings only just before taking off and just after landing, or when a gust of wind causes them to lose their balance. I learned to anticipate these moments as the best times to shoot. Even so, it took a great deal of patience and luck to get even a few decent shots.
For the joy these creatures gave me while shooting, for what learned in the process, and for the pictures I ended up with, I have to figure those were among the best twenty minutes I’ve spent all year.