Sunday, August 28, 2011

Chasing Butterflies at a Festival in Japan: A Photo Essay

On a hillside at a festival in Ogimi Okinawa, Japan last Wednesday this butterfly distracted me.  I'm easily distracted, I guess.  Wildlife photography, to me, is way more interesting than festival photography.
Give me a choice between shooting butterflies or a gaggle of photographers congregating around some sacred site to snap shots of a village elder performing an ancient ritual and the butterflies win everytime. 

It aint like I was getting paid to do this photo shoot.  So, I skipped the rituals part !

Not that I'm sacrilegious, or anything like that, I had photos of the same priestess, whatever they call her, from last year's Unjami Matsuri.  I figure, if I do a magazine article on the festival, the gal probably won't be too offended if she comes out looking a year younger. This butterfly was driving me nuts.

It was the big white spots on the outside of the wings that I hadn't seen on any butterfly like this before.

This character didn't like Auto Focus.  I had to go fully Manual and focus on the hibiscus flower.
Remember me saying something about packing everything because the lens you need will be the one you left at home ?
Well, my 500mm lens was in my backpack, in a car, about 2 miles away.  Dammit.
The Pentax 18-250mm would get the job done.  I wanted to know the name of this butterfly.
So, I captured as many shots of it as I could using Burst Mode on my camera.
This black, white and red butterfly with big white spots on the sides of its wings was a new one to me.
New to me, so I thought.  Until I researched it in THE JAPANESE BUTTERFLY GALLERY and discovered it's a Red Helen (Papilio helenus).
 As long as I was all set up and focused on that hibiscus I figured I might as well keep shooting whatever butterflies landed there.

Along came this character which I knew was some sort of Swallowtail.
Well, facrynoutloud, I had shot photos of the Red Helen before but this was the first time I ran across a Common Mormon (Papilio polytes).

So, I guess chasing butterflies instead of shooting some ritual at a festival in Japan wasn't such a sacrilegious thing to do after all !









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