Blue Clipper Butterfly on Firebush
The butterflies are back! The Butterflies and Blooms exhibit at the Chicago Botanic Garden opened this past weekend to great crowds and beautiful weather for the holiday weekend. As many people know, this is one of my favorite things at the Chicago Botanic Garden in the summer. I am fortunate to be able to help the Garden document the butterfly species and they use many of many images for advertising and exhibit materials. Yesterday was my first day back in the exhibit. It was a bit chilly early in the morning, so the butterflies were hiding, but I managed to get some good shots. The number of butterflies are more limited right now but they are quickly emerging in the Pupa Emergence Room and new species are being released each day. Be sure and meet Patrick Sbordone, butterfly extraordinaire. He oversees the exhibit and cares for the butterflies. He releases newly emerged butterflies every morning about 10:15, right after opening - a fun event to watch. The exhibit is open daily, weather permitting, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. until September 7th. Because of construction of the new Learning Campus, the exhibit has been moved this year to a new location - the Annex Road near McDonald Woods. The location is truly spectacular, with views of McDonald Woods to the north and the Japanese Island and Lake to the south. The new 2,800 square foot black mesh enclosure allows for better views of the surroundings. The layout if almost identical to past years and the variety of plants and flowers, all ideal for butterflies, will grow lush and full as the season progresses. It's best to visit multiple times as the species vary from week to week, with new arrivals coming weekly. Bring your camera, but no tripods allowed unless you rent a private butterfly shoot before opening. Check out the CBG website for more information.
For tips on shooting butterflies in the exhibit, read my blog post from last year about photographing butterflies.