Sunday, April 12, 2009

10/13/08 - Action in the Gardens at the Garden Clubs Facility

After taking in the Orchid Show, I stepped out into the crisp, cool breeze and bright, warm sunshine. I closed my eyes and tilted my face to the sun for one of my favorite experiences. I love the feeling of the sun warming your face, and then a cool breeze sweeping the warmth away, only to warm up again after the breeze subsides. It is one of life's simple pleasures.

That is when I noticed that the Roanoke Council of Garden Clubs had some flowers in one of their gardens. I decided to grab a few more shots. As I was shooting the east side of the garden, I noticed movement in the west side of the garden. I turned to see a small assembly of Monarch butterflies tasting the flowers.

I can't pass up a chance to photograph butterflies, but this could very well be an exercise in futility. You see, the best time to photograph butterflies is in the morning, just before the sun rises. They are chilled from the night, very lethargic, and usually will not move, except to spread their wings to gather the warmth from the rising sun and warming air currents. This was mid-afternoon, and with a very stiff breeze. Even when they lighted on the flowers, they were moving in the breeze. But, they were there, I was there, what the heck.

As I slowly moved closer, they noticed and scattered, moving to flowers at the far west side of the garden. From past experience, I moved to a good shooting position and then froze for a while. Sure enough, they eventually relaxed and came back to my area. They were very cooperative, but had to keep their wings closed to keep from being blown off the flowers. Still, I managed to take some good shots, thanked them for being so cordial, and went on my way.

A nice cluster of Black Eyed Susan's, back lit by the afternoon sun.

This is the Bachelor Button (Centaurea cyanus), also known as a Cornflower. Thanks to Cheryl Kessler in identifying this flower for me.

This is a large Marigold (Species is Tagetes, not sure of this particular Genus). Thanks to Cheryl Kessler in identifying this flower for me.

A nice close-up of one of the guests.

I was having real difficulty getting the butterflies to open their wings while on a flower. So I asked this one if it would help me out. It did, much to my surprise.

I really like the composition of this shot.

But, I believe this is my favorite shot of the butterflies that afternoon.

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