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 US Pictures dot com.

Fabricated Unlikelihood Of A Sunflower In Love

Heart-Shaped Sunflower Manipulation

The other day I went out shortly after sunrise to catch two small fields of sunflowers with my camera. I did mange a couple of nice shots and one “interesting” image that I grabbed from an oblique angle. It might have been fine by itself but I imagined a reflected image creating something more. So I fired up Photoshop Elements and flipped the right side over the left and voila – had a heart-shaped sunflower. Had it been red instead of yellow I might have had the makings of a Valentine’s Card. While I don’t mind taking a different view I don’t want to mess with Mother Nature too much (like making a yellow flower into a red flower). 🙂

Sunflower HeartWhile it is somewhat heart-shaped it also has some other possibilities. I posted the image over at Fine Art America and asked for suggestions. Wow! I was both surprised and impressed with the variety of images seen within this sunflower. Some were rather remarkable and insightful – and gave me a new perspective on what I had created.

To read all about it (and to see a larger version of this image in more detail) click on over to my online gallery at US Pictures dot com. Either click the photo above or click: http://uspictures.com/featured/many-faces-of-a-sunflower-bill-swartwout.html.

 

BTW, the title for this post was gleaned from a suggestion by RG Kernodle Art.
BTW #2 – Camera used was an Olympus E-M10 (mft) with a 40-150mm m.Zuiko Lens.

Cactus Flower at Indian River, DE

Cactrus Flower near the Indian River Bridge

The elusive Cactus Flower

Cactus flowers are not east to find in the wild. This beautiful example was right next to the “trail” at the Burton Island Nature Trail near the Indian River Bridge at the Delaware Seashore State Park, just south of Lewes, DE.

Cactrus Flower near the Indian River BridgeThis was a hand-held shot in natural light. It was captured with a Nikon D3200 camera using a 55-200mm zoom lens, at (about) 200mm. The light was hazy sunlight just after mid-day, which is usually not a good time to shoot – but this one worked.

This was but one – of hundreds of such flowers.

Group of cactus flowers at the Delaware Seashore State Park