Photographing the Butterfly Garden

Stepping into the Frederick Meijer butterfly garden, you are literally entering an indoor, tropical paradise. The temperature is set to 85 degrees with 70% humidity, a stark difference from the cold, dry, dreariness of early March in Michigan. As I walked through each room, a different phase of the butterfly lifecycle was displayed, starting with caterpillars munching on foodstuff, to the various stages of chrysalis formation, and ending in the main garden with the full-grown butterflies. The adult butterflies were housed in a large room, created to mimic the butterflies' actual habitat. It was a tiny rainforest, full of trees, plants, flowers, mini-ponds, even a waterfall. There were butterflies of every color and pattern, flittering all over, some even landing on people-whether they liked it or not.

Using a professional camera with a crazy-exceptional zoom exposed details of the butterflies that were difficult to see otherwise. The close up photos show the curled-up proboscis, and the light shining through their translucent wings reveals just how thin and fragile they are. Something as simple as lighting can really change a photo. The first two photos below are very similar-the butterfly and camera are both in relatively the same position-but using different lighting techniques makes them look like completely different photos.

Visit the Frederik Meijer Gardens website to learn more.