Thursday, February 6, 2014

Butterfly Wonderland

It was a day of beauty and wonder for all of us. No matter how many times I visit, I am thrilled by this amazing natural wonder. The butterfly is a symbol of change, joy and color and a miracle of transformation and resurrection. So when I had friends visiting from out of town, I wanted to be sure to take them here. It is billed as America's largest butterfly atrium with thousands of butterflies freely flying around. They come from South America, Africa, Asia and other tropical locations. It is really a photographer's paradise!

My friends Deanna from Chicago and Barb from Canada were excited to see this wonderful place. We arrived at 10:00 in the morning and had to pull ourselves away at 12:30. The Blue Morpho above is quite elusive, flitting about but rarely landing. When they do land, they usually fold up their wings that are a dull brown on the other side, so I am always on the lookout for one who is sunning himself with his wings extended. In all the times I've visited here, this is only the second time I've been able to capture one (with my camera, that is!)

Here are a few of the other beauties that posed for me:

This black swallowtail is one of my favorites and he was so accommodating to pose on these white flowers!

And one of  my favorites is  this Paper Kite.  Even though they are only black & white and not a more striking color, I love their delicacy, and espcially love when they land on a red flower like this hibiscus!

And finally one that I'm not sure of.  I tried to find it in the handout but nothing looked quite like the right  one.  But I really liked the bands of colors on his wings.

When we were finally able to pull ourselves away, we had a nice lunch together and sat around and talked for a couple of hours more!  So glad I was able to share this place with other people who I knew would appreciate it as much as I do. 

Saturday, February 1, 2014

Fabulous Photography Friends

It is always so much fun to get together with other women photographers, people who understand when you stop to take a photo of a leaf or a heart-shaped prickly pear pad. People who will walk slowly through the garden taking it all in and capturing it all with their cameras. People like me.

Yesterday was just such a day.  I had the privilege of getting together with these beautiful women at the Desert Botanical Gardens: l-r Barbara Hurst from Anthem, Deanna Swauger from Chicago and Barb Brookbank from Alberta, Canada.  Of course, I have known Barbara Hurst for quite some time since we both live here. Deanna comes to visit friends a few times a year and we always get together but this was the first time we had met Barb Brookbank.  I read all of their blogs daily and felt like I knew them long before the first in-person meeting took place.  But it was like we had known each other forever.

The Chihuly glass exhibit is going on at the botanical gardens and so that was a bonus. There were shades of blue:

And purple:

And some yellow and red:

But I really prefer to focus my lens on the natural elements in the garden like my favorite agave:

And the blooming aloes that were all around:

These beauties will be here long after the Chihuly exhibit has gone, always changing, always beautiful. So much fun to be able to share this place I love with friends from near and far.

We have a couple of more days planned together and I can hardly wait!