marciaborell PRO+

closeup monarch orange

The last of my monarchs ready to head south and join the monarch migration.

The last of my monarchs ready to head south and join the monarch migration.
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Fall Award 2020
Peer Award
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Outstanding Creativity
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All Star



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The Animal Planet Photo ContestTop 10 class
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Behind The Lens

My yard is dedicated to Monarch Butterflies. This was my 3rd summer raising them from the eggs I would find on my milkweed plants. I have 4 small gardens filled with 3 different kinds of milkweed and other flowers for pollinators and butterflies. This photo was of the last monarch I raised and released this year. I named her Cherry. The weather was starting to get cold at night. Monarchs can't fly when it gets below 55 degrees Fahrenheit. This one and 3 others were still in their chrysalides. I had a portable heater I would turn on every night and off when it got warm enough for them in their aquarium in my small greenhouse. The weather was looking good for several days in a row. I watched her emerge and carried her out to this Mexican Sunflower. It is always a miracle to watch them warm their wings in the sun and then take flight.
It was September 29th at 12:51 PM EST. I had never released a butterfly this late in the year. I was very concerned that he would have a long way to travel. And the weather can change rapidly here in Michigan. When a monarch emerges they need 3 hours for their wings to dry. Then they are ready to fly. The first time they take flight they flutter and then they figure out how to glide through the air. It was one of those perfect sunny days. There was not much wind. A great day to join the migration.
I was very lucky that it was a bright clear sunny day. Fifty-nine degrees and slowly getting warmer.
I was using my SE iPhone. Butterflies are very unpredictable and may take flight immediately or may sit and pose on a flower for hours. I can get very close to them with my phone which is a great advantage.
Most of my flowers are pink or purple. I was so happy that Cherry was happy to stay on the bright orange Mexican Sunflower. This was the first time that I was able to capture photos of one of them on a flower that matched their wings so well.
The only thing I did was to crop it. The light, the monarch, and the flower brought it all together beautifully.
In my camera bag
I am having trouble with my wrists and have a really hard time holding a heavy camera. I do use a tripod on a unipod for many photos. For my butterfly and insect photos, I need to have something in my pocket. If it is not on me by the time I get my camera it is gone and the shot missed. I am currently looking for a tiny camera that takes great photos.
Find something you love and take as many photos as you can as often as you can and you will discover so much about them and also a lot about yourself. I released 39 butterflies this year. Much less than last year when I released 187. I find this very troubling. I am hopeful and so excited to start the cycle all over again at the end of May or early June.

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