Monday, August 31, 2009

Struggles Of A Butterfly

From my Spirit Art Blog post today, August 31st ~
Whenever I see a butterfly these days, I think of this story. There are many versions on line but I like this one the best. I hope you like it as much as I do.

Struggles of a Butterfly

When he was a small boy, he had loved butterflies. Oh, not to net and
mount them, but to wonder at their designs and habits.

Now a grown man with his first son to be born in a few weeks, he found
himself once again fascinated with a cocoon. He had found it at the side
of the park path. Somehow the twig had been knocked from the tree and
the cocoon had survived undamaged and still woven to the branch.

As he had seen his mother do, he gently protected it by wrapping it in
his handkerchief and carried it home. The cocoon found a temporary home
in a wide-top mason jar with holes in the lid. The jar was placed on the
mantle for easy viewing and protection from their curious cat who would
delight in volleying the sticky silk between her paws.

The man watched. His wife's interest lasted only a moment, but he studied
the silky envelope. Almost imperceptibly at first, the cocoon moved. He
watched more closely and soon the cocoon was trembling with activity.
Nothing else happened. The cocoon remained tightly glued to the twig and
there was no sign of wings.

Finally the shaking became so intense, the man thought the butterfly would
die from the struggle. He removed the lid on the jar, took a sharp pen
knife from his desk drawer, and carefully made a tiny slit in the side
of the cocoon. Almost immediately, one wing appeared and then outstretched
the other. The butterfly was free!

It seemed to enjoy its freedom and walked along the edge of the mason jar
and along the edge of the mantle. But it didn't fly. At first the man
thought the wings needed time to dry, but time passed and still the
butterfly did not take off.

The man was worried and called up his neighbor who taught high school
science. He told the neighbor how he had found the cocoon, placed it in
the mason jar, and the terrible trembling as the butterfly struggled to
get out. When he described how he had carefully made a small slit in the
cocoon, the teacher stopped him. "Oh, that is the reason. You see, the
struggle is what gives the butterfly the strength to fly."

And so it is with us. Sometimes it's the struggles in life that strengthen
us the most.

Author Unknown

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Monster in the Butterfly Bushes

It was a gorgeous day here today. I spent some time playing with my camera and different lenses. It was a "gear learning" session. I used three different lenses and two Nikon speed lights. This is my favorite for the day, shot with my Tamron 90mm macro lens. I call it "Monster in the Bush". This Praying Mantes posed for me all afternoon and barely moved a muscle. Much easier to shoot than hummingbirds! Especially ones being tormented by Yellow Jackets!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Another Shot From My Hummingbird Marathon

This is one of my favorite shots from the past week of renting telephoto lenses. It was taken with a flash (Nikon SB 900 Speedlight) to stop the motion of the wings. It is full frame with no cropping and I haven't done any post processing on it yet. My mentor, Nancy Louie, turned me on to the idea and helped me get my barrings with all the technical stuff involved. See more about shooting hummingbirds with a flash here.

Monday, August 17, 2009

Stillness in the Midst of Chaos

"Art is the achievement of stillness in the midst of chaos." ~ Saul Bellow

Here's a few of the hummingbird photos I took over the past couple of days. See more about "Shooting Fish in a Barrel" on today's Spirit Art Blog.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Telephoto Lenses and Flies

Nano and I headed down to the Forsythe Wildlife Refuge yesterday afternoon to check out the telephoto lenses I rented for the week. What we did not anticipate however, is that there were massive numbers of biting flies! They swarmed our car like a pack of angry bees. Needless to say, we were not able to get out and try out the lenses. Afterwards we headed down the road to Atlantic City and took a few shots from a casino parking garage. Here is my favorite shot of Absecon Lighthouse looking eastward out towards the ocean.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

A Hundred Happy Hummingbirds

I just like the sound of today's title, don't you? Here's another shot from yesterday. See the drawing I did from it on

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Big Lenses and Little Birds

The invitation still stands for you local people to come over and see some hummingbirds. I rented 2 telephoto lenses this week and I am trying to learn how to use them. I just received them yesterday afternoon and I'm hoping before the week is over that I'll get some good shots of my little jewels. Here's a couple photos of molting juveniles from this morning. My buddy, Betsy Hudson, who owns two "Life Is Good" stores, came over with her Nikon for a couple of hours and we tried to figure this out together. I may not have gotten a lot of good shots, but time spent with "Ms Sunshine" is always a fun and uplifting experience. Thanks Bets!

Interesting Side Note: Molting or Moulting in birds from Wikipedia:
"In birds, moulting is the periodic replacement of feathers by shedding old feathers while producing new ones. Feathers are dead structures at maturity, and they become gradually worn down and need to be replaced. Adult birds moult at least once a year, though many moult twice, and a few three times."

Monday, August 10, 2009



Take a look through the slate of upcoming FREE classes from Creative Techs, and sign up for a couple that catch your interest here. I took their 10 week Photoshop Class and it was AWESOME!