We’re at the butterfly show at the Cincinnati Krohn Conservatory. This year the butterflies are from Brazil.
We get our tickets inside a big white tent decorated with three large chandeliers made from recycled bottles and bubble wrap. I read in my pamphlet, “Making useful things from recycled materials is a popular art form in Brazil.”
We walk through the orchid room and past the window to the butterfly nursery. You can see a catepillar here,
and chrysalises waiting in a glass aquarium. When the butterflies hatch they will be moved to the main showroom.
These are a second kind of chrysalis hanging on a stick inside a glass aquarium.
We have to enter an airlock to get into the main show room. We go through one set of doors and wait until they close and then are allowed through the second set of doors into the room of butterflies. The Conservatory is being very careful not to allow the foreign butterflies into our environment.
We are now in a large greenhouse filled with plants native to Brazil, people of all ages milling about, and butterflies galore.
Orange-striped tiger ones,
red, black and white ones,
graceful orange ones,
and very large spotted ones. If you look closely there are actually two types of spotted ones here. The ones on the left are a beautiful blue when they spread their wings.
You can the blue here as the butterfly flaps its wings.
Children are running around with little foam pads trying to catch the butterflies.
Even the large ones will allow themselves to be held in this way.
Some butterflies are so friendly they land right on you. This blue one is attracted to my husband Mark’s shirt shortly after we enter the room.
My son attracted this large one. I’m not sure how I would feel about that. You might notice that the wing is torn. Although we were instructed to be gentle with the butterflies and allow them to walk onto our hands, or fingers, it is obvious that some of them did not fare well in this environment.
This woman catches one of the beautiful blue ones. These blue butterflies look magical as they flit about the room. They are very fast and look like shooting blue lights as they fly around. I desperately want to capture one with my camera.
Usually their wings are folded when they land and you can’t see the blue.
I need to photograph one in flight.
But they are fast little buggers and most of my photos look like this, only sans partial butterfly.
I stand still with my camera pointed in the direction where I see the blue butterflies and shoot aimlessly hoping one might pass through the view of my camera when I snap a shot.
This is an elusive butterfly. I decide to take a video, but quickly discover how loud the voices are in this greenhouse with children actively engaged in capturing butterflies.
Oh look. I almost got one.
I wish I knew the names of the beautiful butterflies I see, but alas, I don’t.
The lifespan of these colorful little creatures is quite short. They’re beautiful, but fragile.
People of all ages are charmed by them. This is my 20-year-old son.
I read in my pamphlet that the Conservatory held special photographing events before hours for an extra fee. Once again too late. The butterfly show closes this weekend.
I do the best I can to shoot around the people and above the noise,
and record these beautiful brief little lives for eternity.