Butterfly Photos

Terra Sol Customer
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Terra Sol Customer

Yesterday I had intended to vist the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. I just got my macro lens back from being serviced, and what better place could there be to put it through it's paces than wandering through the Butterflies Alive exhibit? As so often happens, Saturday flew by too quickly. Fortunately, Terra Sol Garden Center is open until six these days. We stopped there to get some peppers for the garden and I thought I would snap a few shots just to test the lens.

When we arrived we found our peppers, and a great display of various flowers grouped into sections based upon what they will attract to your garden. Sure enough, in the butterfly section right next to the Milkweeds was another Terra Sol customer and my butterfly photo opportunity. This beautiful Monarch was a very patient model too, posing on several different flowers and waiting just long enough for me to catch up and snap a few shots before finding a new perch.

I'll still find time to make it over to the Butterflies Alive exhibit sometime soon, and maybe I'll get some great hummingbird photos with my new flowers too.


Backlit Monarchs
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Backlit Monarchs

It's a wonderful time of year for a trip to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. This was last weekend about two-thirty in the afternoon when the light was coming around behind them. But the light moves fast in their little gorge, only a few moments later the sun was gone from this cluster.


Resting Monarchs
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Resting Monarchs

This is a shot from our beautiful Coronado Butterfly Preserve in Goleta. This year the butterfly population seemed a bit smaller than years past, but they are still an absoultely amazing sight.


Backlit Monarchs
Monday, December 10, 2012
Backlit Monarchs

It's the time of year when the Monarch Butterflies return to their overwintering spot in Santa Barbara, the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. According to the experts the clusters of butterflies are small this year, although it's still early. Even so the experience is amazing. This is just one of the small clusters, but the position of the sun was perfect. What you can't see are the hundreds of butterflies fluttering around the grove. It's a wonderful spot that only exists because of the hard work of volunteers and donors who have protected it.


Zebra Heliconian Butterfly
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Zebra Heliconian Butterfly

Zebra Heliconian butterfly at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's Butterflies Alive display. The museum allows you to wander in an enclosed area full of hundreds of butterflies this time of year. It's a wonderful experience!


Gulf Fritillary at Rolling Hills Nursery
Tuesday, May 8, 2012
Gulf Fritillary at Rolling Hills Nursery

A backlit beauty at one of my favorite local nurseries! This is a Gulf Fritillary at Rolling Hills Nusery in Buellton. We have some beautiful nurseries in Santa Barbara, but sometimes it's nice to get away for the day and see what's happening in the Santa Ynez Valley. Especially this time of year with our June Gloom (costal fog that covers the city for most of the day,) which comes early sometimes. The fog is usually very beautiful in itself, but after a couple of days it's nice to be able to go get a little sun in the valley. Then we can come home to the nice cool evening termeratures.


November Butterfly
Sunday, November 6, 2011
November Butterfly

Our winter friends are back! The last couple of weeks have seen quite an increase in the number of Monarch butterflies around Santa Barbara. This one floated by as I was chasing a Hummingbird. The hummingbird turned out to be too shy, but there is always someone around who loves to have their picture taken!


Gulf Fritillary in the Back Yard
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Gulf Fritillary in the Back Yard

Our babies are growing up! A couple of years ago we got a couple of vines, (a Passion Flower and a Mandevilla) to try to coax the beautiful butterflies to stay in our back yard. They almost wiped out the Passion Flower completely the first year. This year the original vines are each about four times the original size, and we have two additional Passion Flowers about the same size. That was finally enough to support the caterpillar crop this year. This is one of four butterflies that we suspect were recently caterpillars in the Passion Flowers and now spend most of the days fluttering and playing in the back yard.


Fluttering Monarch
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Fluttering Monarch

This was from a trip to a local nursury just before Christmas. Santa Barbara is a popular place for them to hang out in the Winter. We actually have a grove of Eucalyptus trees they congregate in. I'd love to go take more shots of them, but the way it's raining right now I don't think I could make it through the mud.


Costa Rican Butterfly Vine
Saturday, December 9, 2006
Costa Rican Butterfly Vine

Now there's somthin' ya don't see every day! Well, unless you have one of these vines in your front yard.

This one is growing in a garden center near Santa Barbara. It's pretty wild!


Basking Monarch
Tuesday, October 3, 2006
Basking Monarch

We spent a day in San Luis Obispo last week. It is a fun place to wander around and the weather was great for it. We found this guy while walking the hound by the mission.


Long-horn Caterpillar
Thursday, August 17, 2006
Long-horn Caterpillar

The hound and I were wandering down De La Vina Street today. Only a few steps into our walk I noticed a beautiful orange flower growing by the edge of the sidewalk. When I leaned down to examine it I found a pleasant surprise!

Of course when I saw this guy I suspected that my beautiful flower was actually a weed. But that's ok. On one small plant there were two of these large Monarch caterpillars.

Monarchs dine almost exclusively on Milkweed. It gives them a lovely defense against predators. You see since the Milkweed is poisonous (and tastes terrible to almost anything with the apparent exception of Monarch caterpillars) It makes the caterpillars and resulting butterflies poisonous and taste terrible to just about anything that would try to make a snack of them.

As I was sitting on the sidewalk, watching the caterpillar it was amazing how many people went by (looking at me like I was crazy) and missed such an interesting sight. Of course I guess it is only interesting to crazy photographers like me and other fortunate people with child-like curiosity.


Monarch Chrysalis
Monday, May 8, 2006
Monarch Chrysalis

We went for another walk today. Along the way we stopped by our neighbor's yard to check on the caterpillar from our Saturday walk, and this is what we found! I thought he looked like he was trying to get comfortable there.


Hiding Heliconian in a Strawberry Tree
Monday, February 27, 2006
Hiding Heliconian in a Strawberry Tree

This guy thought he had a good hiding place. And actually, he did. I was impressed by how his wings blended with the angle of the leaves. Fortunately, I found him anyway.


Giant Swallowtail
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
Giant Swallowtail

Interesting lighting in this shot, it almost looks like a flash, but it was just the way the shadows were around the little patch of flowers this guy found.


Another point of view
Monday, November 21, 2005
Another point of view

Like yesterday this is another image that was taken at the same time as a completely different looking shot of a similar subject. Although in this case it is not the exact same subject, you can see that changing only the angle and the view in the background give them a completely different feel.


Monarch & Zinnia
Wednesday, November 16, 2005
Monarch & Zinnia

I really love the background in this image. It is a bit abstract. And the low aperture that makes the background so interesting made the butterfly's wings just out of focus enough to look like they are fluttering a bit.


Butterfly
Tuesday, October 11, 2005
Butterfly

I don't think he was actually eating from these flowers, he was just hanging out, literally.


Zebra on a Flower
Saturday, October 1, 2005
Zebra on a Flower

I like this shot because the shallow depth of field makes it look like his wings are fluttering.

This guy is the official state butterfly of Florida.


Backlit Monarch
Friday, September 16, 2005
Backlit Monarch

This flower seems to be a favorite of the Monarchs, and this was almost a tree. So, it made it easy to get a great backlit shot.


Abstract Julia
Thursday, September 15, 2005
Abstract Julia

The filters I use to take my close-ups are a combination of several lenses. This particular combination gives me an extremely low aperture, so there is only a very specific distance that is in focus. In this case only a couple of millimeters.

The effect ends up looking like a painting, especially when enlarged.


White Peacock
Friday, September 9, 2005
White Peacock

Another shot from Wednesday's trip to the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. While we were there we signed up for a year membership that includes the sea center on Stearns Wharf. So that should give me plenty of photo opportunities.