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Butterfly, Butterfly

I heard the best time to photograph butterflies is early in the morning when their wings are still heavy with dew, and they move slowly. I came across this one in the middle of the day. She was much too busy feeding on the wild Rhododendrons to pay me any attention. She turned and twirled and opened her wings as she carried out her business while I snapped away.

I confess to loving the 105mm lens for closing in on details. It tends to stay on my camera and gets used for situations that it is not suited for. Sometimes I use a 180mm close-up, but these days hand-holding a Nikon 810 with a heavy lens serves as an annoying reminder to get into better shape.

I love the fanciful side of the butterfly – iridescent colors, shapely, symmetrical wings. It is no wonder the butterfly form has inspired decorations, designs, and doodles through the ages. Their delicate beauty speaks of transformation and sends a quiet message of hope.

However, there is also this other side of the beautiful butterfly – the insect. Furry body; bendy, hairy, spidery legs; bulgy eyes; weird, threatening antenna; and what is that slender appendage attached to its mouth? It looks like a stinger! Fascinating!

Giving it shorter legs, a curving form to the antenna, and proboscis (stinger), would undoubtedly make this creature’s appearance more appealing to the eyes. However, here she is. Magnificent. Uncaring about how I see her.

In looking at the insect, the hopeful symbolism of the butterfly doesn’t change for me. I’m just reminded that there are more ways of looking at the same picture and that we are all so much more than what we appear at any given moment.

Image: Painted Lady Butterfly on wild Rhododendrons in Murtal, Portugal, June 2021

Jamuna Burry

Exploring ideas on creativity through digital art.