I love butterflies. All butterflies. That's just a fact of my life. The afternoons I spend photographing them, at the Conservatory of Flowers, are usually some of my favorite moments out of my week. They are so beautiful and so graceful that I cannot help but feel completely at peace as they flutter about the room and when one happens to land on my shoulder to hitch a ride, I am especially at peace inside. This week's visit was especially enjoyable. There was a wonderful variety of butterflies. Zebra Longwing, Julia's, Monarchs, Queens, Red Admiral, Great Southern White, which is the one featured in large photo above, and a new one to me, an Orange Sulphur.
As I was walking into the exhibit, I saw the tiny butterfly resting up against the glass window at the front of the building. I was just thrilled. Yes! A new challenge. The first thing I learned from visiting the exhibit in 2005 was that not all butterflies behave the same. Some are very shy, some are constantly moving, almost as if they suffer from ADD, while others are more then happy to come over and almost strike up a conversation with you. The Orange Sulphur butterfly, is tiny, very active butterfly. It is a difficult butterfly to catch with it's wings open. Some butterflies spread their wings as they drink from a flower, not so much with the gossamers, which is the class they come from.
My photography goal for this year is to capture a photograph of the Mission Blue butterfly in the wild. The Mission Blue has been on the endangered species list for a number of years, but fortunately their numbers are coming back, thanks to some dedication an effort to help them repopulate here in the Bay Area. I am thankful to be able to get some insight to their behavior by getting in a little practice with the gossamers in this exhibit. The weather is warming up around the bay, beginning tomorrow, and we have been promised, by the weatherman and weatherwoman, to be in the lower to mid 80's by the weekend. With the warm weather come the butterflies, so, next week I am heading for either Mt. San Bruno, or the Marin Headlands, with my camera, to hopefully find my goal, the Mission Blue.
On my way, I will of course stop in for a little time with my favorite friends, and with a little luck, there might even be yet another type of butterfly I haven't photographed yet. Crossing fingers. I had a wonderfully relaxing time getting to know the Orange Sulphur. As I approached her for the first time, she was sitting in a window, looking outside, and moving her limps across her face as if she were applying her make-up for the day. She turned my way, smiled, tilted her glasses, I swear she looks like she wears glasses, and just that quickly I was smitten. It was difficult to leave at the end of the day. But I will be back... I promise.
"Great Southern White"
Conservatory of Flowers
San Francisco, California
April 8th, 2008