Armed with my Canon 100mm/2.8 Macro lens, those tall-tall Mexican Sunflower (Tithonia) plants prevented me from getting scrumptious images of the many Monarch butterflies that day. I just couldn’t get close enough to captures the dramatic detail of the monarchs.
Denied, I began reviewing my situation. I wanted to cop Monarchs against the unique blue Eatonton, Georgia sky. This was the Butterflies & Blooms Briar Patch Habitat, and when Monarchs fly, fresh ones like this one, it doesn’t matter that you own dozens of good Monarch looks, you’ve got to respect the remarkable beauty before you. You’ve just got to grab some Monarch images.
My decide? I decided to go for it, to get a good image of a fresh Monarch, sitting high above me on a Tithonia bloom, with the rich blue sky framing it, all doable with my wonderful Fuji Velvia 50 slide film.
Here it its. I love it. You?
The beautiful butterflies descended onto the Tithonia (Mexican sunflower) blooms, reminding me of memorable celebrities appearing at awards ceremonies, fully adorned in fashionable gowns. With hair placed just right, their shoes, jewelry and accessories all contributed to near visual perfection. This time though, we were not in Hollywood, New York or Nashville. I was working those Tithonia blossoms, walking with eyes pealed for extraordinarily fresh winged beauties.
Many of the flyers were worn, would not cooperate. They did not pause to nectar, or sadly, were seriously birdstruck. Patience dictated that I not depress the shutter button on my Canon camera. Film is expen$ive and keepers require all the goods: good positioning, good light, good angle to the lens, good luck, good timing and . . .
Then she descended onto a nearby bloom. Oh, there was so much to like: Her blues were gushing. Those swallow tails were whole. Her blacks were solid and dense and orange spots were Florida orange. All of her white chevrons, spots and streaks were straight from make-up. This Tiger swallowtail dark form female was more than Cartiers, Tiffany, Van Cleef & Arpels, all in one.
Absolute beauty in the Butterflies & Blooms in the Brair Patch, now pied pipering butterflies to the center of Eatonton, Georgia for what, Virginia, the 4th year now?
This Pittsburgh northerner thought that he’d drive down to the Butterflies & Blooms in the Briar Patch, and collect a good sized library of superb images of Giant Swallowtails. I was right on one score. This haven for butterflies attracts Papilio cresphones from mid-morning through early afternoon. They were there, and they were plentiful.
Problem(s) was(were) many were bird-struck, and . . . they hover over these Tithonia (Mexican sunflowers) in constant motion, with wings moving quickly. Compound that with a universal aversion to being approached. I shoot macro-. They leave on approach. They all leave on approach. No laggards among these Giants. I come, they go.
Strategies had to be deployed. Which strategies? Good question. The only strategy that worked was try, try and try again, followed by more trying. Kid you not. Yes, I once or twice found Giants sun-bathing on broad leaves in the surrounding wooded area, but they too refused approach.
Here then is a share of one of those giant swallowtails. Don’t know if male or female, as they are outwardly alike. Do know that seeing giants, dozens on dozens of them, makes the trip down to the land of the Giants, a real, long awaited treat. Eatonton, Georgia.