The Tucson Botanical Gardens is repeating its Butterfly Magic exhibit in the Tropical Greenhouse.
The exhibit contains about 50 different species. About 400 chrysalids are shipped from butterfly farms to the Botanical Gardens each week and are placed in a pupae chamber to mature. After they emerge from their casings as butterflies, they are transferred to the exhibit space, which is maintained at 85 degrees Fahrenheit and 85% humidity. In addition to tropical flowers, the butterflies are supplied with a variety of fruits to feed on. Butterflies come from Costa Rica, Suriname, Ecuador, Thailand, the Philippines and Florida.
In conjunction with the exhibit, TBG is offering a two-session course: "Butterfly Magic Photography" taught by Jay Rochlin and John Rhodes. The first session was this morning. After a talk on technique from John and Jay, eleven class participants had the exhibit all to ourselves for about ninety minutes. It was an amazing experience. The butterflies seemed unconcerned by us. Several landed on me.
Here are five shots I took in the first session:
This was my first try at photographing butterflies close up. I have a Canon Rebel XT with the kit lens (Canon EF-S 18-55mm f3.5-5.6 II Zoom). Most of the time I kept the camera at 55 mm, F/5.6, ISO 400 (Jay's suggestion), and primarily used the Aperture Priority mode. I didn't use flash, although I probably should have for a couple of the shots where the background was very bright.
I'm really looking forward to going back next week. We'll critique each other's photos and then get another private photography session in the greenhouse.