Sunflower Queens

Reminder:  You can enlarge any of the photos in this blog by clicking on it.  Click again for a full-screen image.

Sometimes I hesitate to post photos because I find my images too pretty in a banal sort of way.  I really don’t want to make the kind of trite photos that get turned into get well cards.  On the other hand, I am as appreciative as any of a naturally beautiful scene.  Today’s images really do remind me a bit of postcard photos but, what the heck, the subjects are really nice, so I’m posting them anyway.

Yesterday I went over to Tohono Chul Park for some photography.  Tohono Chul is a privately operated park on Tucson’s west side and it really is a nice place.  It has a lot of natural desert vegetation but it also contains several planted gardens.  This time of year the gardens are full of flowers — not necessarily native species but beautiful nonetheless — and they attract a large insect population, including many butterflies.  I went over there hoping to photograph a Monarch Butterfly.

I had no luck in that respect.  Monarchs are becoming increasingly rare everywhere and it seems that is particularly the case in Tucson.  I’ve only seen one individual in the past three years.

However, there is an abundance of Queen Butterflies and I contented myself with photographing them.  Queens are close relatives of Monarchs.  They are a bit smaller and a bit less brightly colored than are the Monarchs but they are very attractive nonetheless.  I found many Queens hanging out among some sunflower plants.

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I really like the juxtaposition of yellow, orange and green in this first photograph, so I’ll excuse the fact that it is a scene that has been photographed 10 million times.  I particularly like the shape and structure of the sunflower.

But, I much prefer the second photograph.  I spent quite a while trying to get a photo of a bee and a butterfly sharing a nectar snack.  There were lots of butterflies and lots of bees feeding on the sunflowers but the two species didn’t do a lot of mixing.  The butterflies tended to yield whenever a bee showed up.  These two, however, got along pretty well, and I was pleased to make a photo of them.

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Images made with a Canon 5DS-R, 180 f3.5L Macro Lens assisted by Canon 600EX-RT Speedlite, M setting, ISO 200, f13 @ 1/160.

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