May 2010



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Common Mime 1













Butterflies - San Diego


For a few weeks every April, Wild Animal Park displays live butterflies from Central America.  I once asked a zoo keeper why such a short period of time and I was advised that the USDA had placed strict limitations on the zoo and the handling of butterflies.  Wow, being politically oriented, I thought to myself, the USDA is more concerned about a few butterflies that might escape (they die in a few days) than the  thousands of people that are poisoned annually due to improper handling of meat and other food products.  Oh well, I guess butterflies are low hanging fruit, so to speak. Sorry for the transgression.


Due to strict limitations on butterfly exhibits, you do not get very many opportunities to photograph them.  As a result, there is more demand to view butterflies than supply resulting in very crowded conditions inside the exhibit and hour-long lines outside the exhibit.  This really is not conducive to being very creative in photographing the butterflies, not to be too cynical. 


So, being shoulder to shoulder with lots of other persons carrying serious photo equipment, I heard a lady next to me "freak out" about the size of my 200-400 zoom.  Of course, the guy next to her blotted out that the "guy" using the lens probably doesn't even know how to use it.  I just smiled.  The lady was carrying an elaborate setup of macro lens, several flash units, and a reflector.  I suspect she was a beginner and had been sold a bunch of equipment that is very difficult to use.  Personally, I've never been able to create acceptable images of butterflies using flash.  Flash just makes the image look flat. 


The image above was shot with a 200-400 F4 VR zoom on a cropped frame DSLR, F8 with ISO 1600, mounted on carbon fiber tripod with ball head. 


 Additional images at Living Desert can be viewed here