Happy Labor Day to all! I'm spending this rainy Labor Day catching up on a long overdue blog post, continued processing on the many photos I've shot over the summer, not to mention a much-needed cleaning out of my photo files to make room for lots of new files as fall approaches. Today marks the last day for the Butterflies and Blooms exhibit at CBG, another sign that summer is almost over. It has truly been a labor of love to spend time each week photographing in the exhibit. Unlike the previous two years where the plant life and the butterflies began to wane slightly about mid-August, this year the exhibit has remained lush and full of new butterflies until the very end. We had a cooler than usual August this summer and just enough rain to keep everything blooming and beautiful. A bit of warmer weather two weeks ago encouraged the final emergence of many new butterflies in the pupa emergence room. Patrick and staff had their biggest release of the summer - about 75 butterflies released in one day - so there were plenty of beautiful butterflies to photograph until the very end. Spending time with these magical creatures, learning about new species and watching their behavior remains one of the highlights of summer photography for me. This summer I was able to share that magic with the many people who signed up for our very successful private butterfly shoots through the Out of Chicago community.
Large Tiger Butterfly
Flame Bordered Charaxes - a real stunner!
Emerald Swallowtail or Banded Peacock - always a favorite among visitors and photographers.
Tiger Longwing on colorful Lantana
Male Mocker Swallowtail - the Mockers remain one of the most fascinating of species for me. Read a bit about them here.
Beautiful patterning of the Buckeye, a butterfly sometimes seen in our region
And lastly this Zebra Longwing is dedicated to one of my favorite people in the world, Courtney Quigley. It is her favorite butterfly and she loves it because it is so familial - always flying and resting in a group or family. I am so sad that Courtney has recently left CBG and her job as Exhibition Manager, but happy for her and her family to begin a new and exciting adventure living in Spain as her husband takes a Navy assignment there. Courtney is one of those special people I have met and feel a great connection with - her passion, energy, intelligence and positive view of the world make her a delight to be around. It was such a pleasure to work with her on the 'Nature in View' exhibit for the Garden Photographic Society, my work with the butterflies, and other projects that Courtney and I have collaborated on. She will be dearly missed at CBG by so many people and I know there won't be a time I walk the grounds of the Garden without thinking of her. Thank you, Courtney, for your friendship, your support and your belief in my work...and thank you for sharing your passion for butterflies with me. I know our paths will continue to cross - you are not to be forgotten. If you haven't listened to the podcast Chris Smith and I did with Courtney this summer at the Garden, don't miss it here. Courtney was a wonderful ambassador for the Garden and her knowledge about the natural world is beyond impressive.