DP Photo Challenge: 2017 favourite

The last butterfly has emerged and flown away, leaving an empty shell and the Big T and I with new skills and great memories of our Monarch rescue mission. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The last cocoon. The final butterfly has emerged and flown away, leaving an empty shell and the Big T and I with new skills and great memories of our Monarch rescue mission. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

2017 has proved to be a bit of a watershed for me photographically.

I have taken more shots than ever before, spent time learning about photography and my cameras, and for the first time have actively composed shots, rather than just pressing the shutter and hoping for the best.

I have also learned that seeing the world through a camera lens brings me closer to understanding and engaging with the natural environment.

So my choice of most meaningful shot for this week’s Daily Post challenge is less about my development as a photographer than a reminder of the fragile beauty of the natural world outside my door.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | 2017 favourites

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DP Photo Challenge: the beginning of the end or the end of the beginning

The beginning of the end, or the end of the beginning. Close-up shot of Monarch butterfly chrysalis hanging from cable tie against black background. The wings are already visible as the chrysalis shell becomes translucent, indicating that emergence is imminent. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Monarch butterfly almost ready to emerge from chrysalis. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

It is a special privilege to observe nature at work. Over this past summer, the milkweed that the Big T and I planted attracted record numbers of monarch butterflies. When it became clear that most of the caterpillars were falling prey to wasps and praying manti, the Big T built a butterfly sanctuary. This meant that not only did dozens of caterpillars survive to emerge as viable butterflies, but that we had ring-side seats to one of nature’s most beautiful shows.

We watched and documented the transition from egg to caterpillar, to chrysalis, to butterfly — right up to the moment our “babies” flew away for their winter hibernation.

The Daily Post Photo Challenge | Delta

Chrysalis update: a happy ending, we think?

No news is good news, right? The shell was empty when we got home from the beach. In age: Su Leslie, 2017

I had such high hopes of watching our latest chrysalis emerge, but when we got home from the beach yesterday, the shell was empty. I’m taking this as a sign the butterfly successfully emerged. The process was much faster than with the last hatchling, which I think might also be a good sign. 

So sadly, no video of  an emerging butterfly, but hopefully one more Monarch to thrive and breed.

By way of compensation, here are a couple of shots of the first hatchling; which somehow survived the chrysalis stage glued to a matchstick, held in place with a bulldog clip, attached to a nail in a piece of wood. 

Hatchling one; rescued from the ground, and held in place with glue and the Big T’s ingenuity.Image: Su Leslie, 2016.


Testing its wings. Monarch butterfly rescue hatchling #1. Image: Su Leslie, 2016