A Sinister Butterfly?

Well, it could be, if you are so predisposed – or if you don’t like bugs of any sort. When I shared my latest butterfly image on Facebook, a good friend, Cheryl, complimented the photograph but mentioned that this butterfly looked sinister.  I titled the piece “Butterfly Victory” because of the v-shape made by the wings. But the little beast does have a sinister-looking face.

Victory Butterfly Art Photograph

Actually, it is the life cycle of a butterfly, such as this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail Butterfly, that may be sinister. These insects are born as tiny worms – caterpillars, really (there is a difference). They spend most of their life eating everything in sight – your flowers, your vegetables, trees, you name it. If it looks like insect salad, it’s gone. When they’ve eaten their fill for a few weeks they take a siesta for a week or so and wrap themselves up in a blanket called a cocoon. Inside, during the siesta all of that food gorging makes the caterpillar begin changing into a chrysalis, of butterfly pupa. Even though Dr. Frankenstein has no part in this, it’s body is changing! When the nap is over and the metamorphism has completed, it’s time for “sleeping beauty” to awaken and crawl out from under the covers. The beautiful butterfly that emerges from the long sleep is a promiscuous sort – it will mate (have butterfly sex), lay eggs and die. All that happens, depending on the particular species in a few days or a few weeks. Most adult butterflies, sadly, live two weeks or less.

Caterpillar Camouflage

Then the cycle repeats. But we, as humans, do get to see the beauty in the adult and in some of the caterpillars…as long as they don’t eat our gardens, that is.

Note: the Eastern Swallowtail Butterfly in the first photograph was found “dining” at the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore.

See more of my photography at Bill Swartwout Photography.

Model Railroad Photo or the Real Deal CSX 9029

So…a few days ago I posted this image of CSX 9029 on a railroad interest group on Facebook and it attracted a ton of comments. Many of them claimed it was a photograph of a model railroad setup and, consequently, did not belong on the “page.”

What do you think of this photograph of this CSX 9029 Locomotive? Real – or a model?

CSX 9020 Locomotive at the Locust Point Yard

You just might have to click THIS LINK to find the rest of the story.

Please leave a comment to let me know what you think…

Working on Fort McHenry Photographs

Baltimore’s Fort McHenry is historic, easily accessible to one of our homes and is very popular. Plus, in a former life I was a social studies teacher – hence my interest in photographing the Star Fort and in sharing those images with others.

I am working on some large size prints (y’know 30 inches x 40 inches or so) of Fort McHenry and various features of the fort. These will be offered for sale in a Fort McHenry gallery in my main online Photography Gallery at http://USPictures.com. The first photo is of the main gate at the entrance to the “Star” portion of the Fort – and shows off the new ($30,000) flag pole. The flag flying in this photo is 17′ x 25′ and is known as the Storm Flag.

Fort McHenry Main Gate
Main Entrance to the “Star Fort” of Fort Mchenry

Many of my photos of the fort include the United States Flag. After all, it was the flag flying over Fort McHenry, during the Battle of Baltimore in 1814, that gave inspiration to Francis Scott Key when he wrote the poem, The Star Spangled Banner, that later became our country’s National Anthem.

Below is the Ravelin Magazine. The above picture was taken from a position withing the right-hand arched doorway.

Ravelin Magazine at Fort McHenry
Ravelin Magazine at Fort McHenry in Baltimore, MD

Near the end of the Civil War, several lage cannon were mounted on the ravelin (triangular fortifications outside of the main fort) and in the adjacent water battery (line of cannons even furthere out). The commanding officer ordered that 1,000 rounds of ammunition be kept nearby for each gun. In 1866, this magazine and two others were built to safely store the needed gunpowder.

The covered entrance with its angled stairway was designed to prevent enemy projectiles from reaching the explosives. Three feet (1m) of concrete and up to 16 feet (5m) of earth were laid over the afched brick vault.

In addition to the undergraound magazines, there are two above-ground brick magazines at Fort McHenry – on inside the star fort and one 250 yards to the west.

These two photographs are available, along with many others, from my online gallery at US Pictures .com.