New butterflies

These days, everywhere I go I look for the most beautiful things, the butterflies! Whenever I see one I try to stalk it! Usually this leads me to the other ones and the most beautiful flowers. If a special butterfly garden exists in any town or city I visit, I always make the effort to visit. The beauty of these magnificent insects manifests in their colors. There appears to be some grace and skill in their flight; some appear erratic while some appear to have a pattern to their direction of flight. Some are slow while others show some energy and speed. Some keep coming back to the same spot and flower, perhaps this spot or flower offers something they want or need! Others stay briefly on a flower and move on appearing to be directionless. Yet, some make brief stops at different stations perhaps looking for something that they can not quite find. I observe some staying permanently on the spot; tired, sick, resigned to fate or have found a permanent abode? Some share feeding stations, each taking what it needs. In trying to escape the cold weather some alter their physical attributes to cope with the flight over thousands of miles to nest and survive the harsh conditions in a more comfortable environment only to come back when they think conditions are favorable in their old home! To me, all these behaviors serve as metaphor for life. Our life!

Ado Ekiti Butterflies

I have grown to like butterflies, such beautiful and delicate creatures. My initial exposure to butterflies was at the urging of my niece. I have since photographed butterflies at protected facilities. I have written two children’s books using some of those photos.

This collection represents my first attempt at photographing butterflies in the wild. The location was along Omisanjana road in Ado Ekiti Nigeria. It was a totally different experience. I understand most entomologists have to capture the butterflies to identify them. I am not an entomologist. All I want to do is to have fun photographing these beautiful creatures without harming them.

The butterflies I encountered on this shoot were totally different from the ones I had seen and photographed in North America! It was really hilarious running after these insects with the distinct barriers of the bush and vegetation between us! I have since learned that some of these are native to the tropics and West Africa specifically. The butterflies were more active in the mornings than any other times of the day. Chasing them was fun with their definitely unpredictable behavior in their natural habitat, flying around, resting on leaves and lawn, feeding on rotten mangoes, nectar  and pollen, or just enjoying the company of each other, hanging out! Some have damaged wings while most look beautiful with normal wings.

High definition photos and posters of these butterflies are available upon request.

Looking up at the Vatican. Mesmerized!

 

A visit to the Vatican could be one of the most rewarding trips for quite a lot of reasons. People probably do it for some personal reasons. The Vatican could mean different things to different people.

As the seat of the Roman Catholic Church, The Holy See, it is appealing to Catholics. It is also a City State, a state within a city, walled around and separated from the city of Rome. That has got to be fascinating!

St Peter’s Basilica is the largest church in the world. It is worth visiting. I ran into many non-Catholics at the Vatican suggesting that the appeal of the place goes beyond religion. The architecture is centuries old and awesome. It still looks pristine attesting to the power of ongoing maintenance of the structures.

There are many people, saints and popes, buried in St. Peter’s and particularly in the mausoleums under St Peter’s Basilica. There are visible bodies of Popes on display in St. Peter’s Basilica. That gave me an eerie feeling!

A visit to the Vatican could be educational: Lots of things to learn about the architecture, paintings, administration, crowd control, and the economy – the tourist economy! Understanding how this place has defied centuries of intrigues and wars is a great lesson in itself!

The Vatican Museum is unlike any other museum in the world. It contains both religious and secular artifacts, some dating back centuries. The ceilings, paintings, archeological displays, maps, sculptures,   ornate doors, archways and the long corridors are breathtaking in their intricate designs and details. One wonders about the master craftsmanship that must have gone into making these happen. Some of these must have taken years to complete.

I was mesmerized and fascinated by the intricate designs of the ceilings, the archways, the doors and the paintings. Looking up at the Vatican could provide lessons in biblical and church history, artisanship, master craftsmanship, endurance, perseverance, and above all, the role of planning and implementation in achieving a desired target or goal in life.

It was not easy getting adequate photos. The moving crowd and the constant jostling, the lighting situation, sunlight streaming in through the roofs and windows casting reflections on the walls and ceilings make such a venture a challenge. If you have all the time in the world, it is doable. Here are some selected photos of ‘up’ at the Vatican. Admire them and see what you can learn from them!

Further information could be obtained at www.vaticanstate.va/