Did you know that butterflies taste with their feet and smell with their antennas?

Did you know that butterflies are solar powered and that their beautiful wings are actually made up of delicate scales?

Did you know that it takes 4 generations for Monarch butterflies to complete one round trip migration? (Good thing that’s not the case for us snowbirds)


I was getting restless for another photography shoot and my girlfriend was wanting to learn more about taking photos with her camera. It was serendipity that Butterfly Wonderland had a special photographer hour on Saturday morning.

Entering the 10,000 square foot conservatory, was like entering an oversized greenhouse. Simulating a tropical rainforest, the misting machines had created such a cloud that it was hard to see across the huge atrium. I winced as I wondered what all that moisture would do to the camera.

The stormy skies above us cast dark shadows through the glass ceiling on the butterfly habitat. Inside the conservatory was still and dark.

The butterflies were sluggish without the sun, so it was up to us to spot them folded up tight against branches and tucked under leaves. But as we looked closer at the foliage around us, the hidden gems of color and pattern appeared. It was like a treasure hunt.



Clipper Butterfly



Another variation of the Clipper Butterfly

Stained Glass

Doris Longwing Butterfly


“Common Buckeye” or simply, buckeye, is a butterfly in the family Nymphalidae. It is found in southern Manitoba, Ontario, Quebec, and Nova Scotia and all parts of the United States except the northwest (Wikipedia)

The butterflies were of various shapes, sizes and beautiful iridescent colors from all over the world. Most types of which I had never seen before. This was not surprising after learning there are more than 28,000 species in the world.

Here at the conservatory there were several dozen kinds of butterflies to photograph, and for me, it was truly a butterfly wonderland.


Common Lacewing (Asia), Closed


Common Lacewing (Asia), Open


Not technically a butterfly, the Atlas Moth is one of the largest moth’s in the world found in southeast Asia. The wingspan can be close to 12 inches. This one was 10-11 inches. Notice also, the pattern on the edge of the wings and how it resembles that of a snake.

For the first time on a photo shoot, I used up all my film. Or should I say, that I completely used up my 32GB chip – capturing close to 500 shots in the course of 2 ½ hours.

For those of you who are photographers, the low light conditions were a challenge. Although monopods were permitted, they were not that helpful given the subject matter. Some of the photographers had fast lenses. One lady had a flash set at an upward angle with a diffuser which looked to be producing good results. I opted to use my all purpose Nikkor 28-300mm f3.5-5.6 lens, shooting f5.6 or lower, and set the camera to “auto-ISO” with the max at 6400.  Given the high ISO, the photos came out better than I anticipated.

But there is always the possibility of a better shot and another species to be captured. Like all treasure hunters, I am hooked. The allure of capturing the delicate iridescence colors and patterns already has me planning my next visit. This time I’ll be sure to bring a macro lens, a flash with a diffuser and, of course, more memory chips.