This alone was one of the main reasons why I wanted to go. I heard so many good things about this tour. The driver finally pulled up. Candy from Canada popped her head in. She said that she will be our guide. She said that we have a total of 45 minutes inside, the first 15 she was going to speak.
45 minutes??? Are they insane? I was expecting a lot more time. I was so shocked to hear this. That is not a lot of time at all. It's ok if all your going to do is look at them. But I had big plans on shooting them. Just shooting them all.
She started talking about how the butterfly is endangered, and that everyone should plant some kind of butterfly weed in their garden. After all, if the butterfly dies, who will the make the weather on the other side of the world? I was planning on making one of these at my own house, but I don't have enough time to listen. I didn't care about how the cocoon's look like bird droppings. I wanted to shoot those things.
So I wandered. It takes a while to find one in a good spot and take a picture of it. With digital I have more control. And I practiced at home. Taking pictures under different lighting conditions, with different settings. The balance that worked for me using a Powershot Pro90 was to use my 550ex flash - with Stofen Omni bounce, set to 45 degrees. Manual, 1/2-1/8 power, most was on 1/4 power, full manual on the camera, at f8 250th of a second. I wanted them lit and clear.
They are under a large tent, a black fine mesh. It provided an almost over cast effect on the whole place. I really wanted that blue Morpho, but it never left it's wings open long enough to get one.
Candy made one fatal error in judgment. She stated at the start, that if you touch a butterfly's wings, it can die. You rub off the scales, and it can absorb water. Then she goes on to say, that if butterfly lands on you, it's good luck. She made it worse by saying that if you put some of that free punch on your hand, the butterfly will go to that. The kids were all poking them. Everyone did the same thing. They tried getting in on their hand like you would a bird. That won't work, why? Because they are all happy where they are, the flowers their on right now has the good stuff. Why would they want to change from a sweet flower, to some kid's dirty hand?
So a lot of shot's are ruined because kids are poking those things. The other thing was instinct - Jimmy, there's one on your back - and they swat at it. Me, a large one flew by my head - and I heard it flap. Creepy.
I recommend, that if you want to take pictures of this place, do it in the morning. It opens at certain times, because that's when they wake up or go to sleep. You'll have to arrange for a cab service, as it's in the middle of nowhere.
This place is not very big. I would be very generous in saying that it is 100ft square. It winds around, but it's very small. There is a small bridge there, and some Koi. She controls mosquitoes by placing a small pond, and putting Guppies in it. They eat the mosquito eggs, and it's cheap too.