Winter is bleak and cold, no bones about it. So what do you do as a registered addict to photography when the light is poor and the hours short and the temp is way below freezing? In my case I head for a warm place, one I know that is always warm – Dobbies Butterfly World in Edinburgh. This oasis of heat and warmth is not really for humans it is for the exotic tropical butterflies and moths. Whilst at this time of year there are not a lot of butterflies specie about, there is the challenge to get good shots of those that are about. One thing you have to do is keep your camera warm before you enter the tropical heated world, then do not take it out of the heat – unless you can ensure it stays warm. First time I visited the Butterfly world I made the mistake of not making sure I kept the camera at a plus temperature – result – Instant fogged lens. Nowadays I have a well insulated camera bag that keeps my camera snug and warm. As well as butterflies and moths the centre has reptiles (snakes, lizards etc.) and Insects (Spiders, ants, etc.) Sometimes I wish I was a people photographer so I could have the nerve to photograph the reactions of some visitors to flying butterflies and feeding of the reptiles. I see from their faces people struggling against the fear of insects flying near them or even landing on them. On one occasion I witnessed a mother abandoning her child and run from the room. No she was not a bad mother, the child was left with the dad. I’m lucky the thought of anything flying towards me or around me does not generate such a panic. Some really do make the effort to overcome their fear/paranoid for the sake of their child, others… well they tried. The best of all are the kids from toddler to preteens - their faces when a butterfly or moth lands on their hands is priceless. The wonder in their eyes as they hold their hand steady and look at the butterfly/moth. Alas not all kids have this wonder, some chase the insect only to destroy it and their parents are oblivious to this act. thankfully they are few and far between, come to think of it, perhaps it is that innocent child in us that makes some adults react the same as the toddler when the butterfly lands on them and their face lights up with the wonder and awe of such a delicate creature alighting on them. I think it is the Buddhists who reckon that Butterflies are the souls of the blessed or so I was told by a work colleague, I like to think they are anyway.
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