I have come to the conclusion that the best moments in life are definitely the unplanned ones.
Yesterday afternoon I went out to the clothes line to get the towels. While I was there I noticed that there was a lot of butterfly activity near the sunflowers. I took the towels inside and got the camera.
Now, you have to know that there are several critters on my “most wanted” list. I have yet to photograph a coyote, even though I’ve seen seven of them at the distant edge of the woods. I don’t want them in my yard- just within range of the telephoto lens. I would also like to photograph another skunk- last year’s shots weren’t that good. I want a really good scissor-tail photo. There are several butterflies that I see that avoid the yard and stay in the pasture.
It seems that good things come to those who wait…patiently. I wanted a turtle photo and finally got one this week. I have been watching a bright orange butterfly for over a week and she finally posed for me yesterday. In fact, she hung around the garden for so long I got bored with her and moved on to other critters. Lol
It occurred to me yesterday that part of my success with nature photography is my ability to be still and quiet. I learned those skills as a child, wandering in the fields and woods, and I have neglected them as an adult. Women are constantly on the go, getting things done. It is only lately, with my critter photography, that I have learned once again to just exist. At first I tried stalking butterflies and dragonflies. Then I realized that they are creatures of habit and territory. If I observe their actions and figure out their territory I can go stand quietly for a time and they come to me. There is actually an area of the garden that is so thick with butterflies that they will land on my shirt!
I was also curious about why there is always a group of about eight to ten butterflies on the stem of the big sunflower, but never on the flowers. Yesterday I removed a few leaves from the morning glory vine on the fence so I could see it from the back side of the garden. There is a large oozing scrape on the back side of the stem and whatever is coming out of it must be candy for the butterflies!
By the way, if you look carefully you will notice that one of these butterflies has a broken wing. There is actually a big piece of it missing. I had always heard that if their wings are damaged they cannot fly. Wrong! She is definitely a survivor and is managing with her disability. I watched her flutter around the garden for quite some time just to make sure she was okay.
I was about to go back inside the house when I noticed these strange insects on the thistle by the gate. (Found out they are leaffooted bugs - Leptoglossus phyllopus.) I took a couple of photos, turned around, and almost ran into the squirrel! Serendipity!
So my lessons for the afternoon:
1. Embrace opportunity.
2. Be patient.
3. Be still.
4. Be observant.
5. Be happy!