(click photos to enlarge)
A few of us from the meet-up group drove up to Gainesville to the Florida Natural y Museum and the Butterfly Rainforest Exhibit.
It is a large area filled with butterflies. Some of them are exotic. The path through is small so tripods and monopods are not allowed. There atrium seemed bright but not to the camera. I stilled needed an ISO of 640 to get any decent shutter speeds. I was overwhelmed with the amount of butterflies fluttering all over the place. Catching them in a good shot was not so easy. Many would only stop for a moment before they flew off to another spot. The Blue Morphos are very frisky. They have brilliant blue wings which you can only see when they are flying. When they light, they close their wings to show brown which camouflages easily. I did manage to get a shot of one with the help of a docent. It's not a great shot since I only had my 50mm macro lens. (I really need/want a faster lens, someday.)
The atrium is kept at an even 80 degrees. And with all the plants and water, it's humid. We were all dripping by the time we got have way through.
We saw a few couples mating. It's rather boring process. If I lived for only 2 weeks, I might get a bit more daring. Then again, any rough sex might kill them instantly. Not a good idea if you only have sex to further the species.
We had to leave the atrium to change lenses. They do not allow bags to be opened inside because a butterfly may hop in or get trapped. They also have double door air locks to prevent any butterflies from escaping.
My first pass I used my wide angle zoom. It worked better than I expected. I went through again using my 50mm macro. I focused more on the flowers.
We left and walked through the gift shop. We also saw them pinning dead butterflies onto wood for display. They had dozens of shadow boxes lining the halls. After we cooled off, we walked outside to a nearby cafe. Bridget, Allen and Mike had come a few weeks earlier. They had said the ponds were full of water lilies. There were only a few left but they were beautiful.
The drive back was rainy. Very rainy.