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I visited butterfly park in Six Flags Discovery Kingdom Vallejo, California in March 2008, (with no photographs of course as I started taking interest in photography only a year back) and those were my only butterfly encounters till 2 weeks back , when I visited Butterfly park in Bannerghatta National Park in Bangalore.
Established in Nov, 2006, Butterfly park in Bannerghatta National Park, spreads across 7.5 acres of land, had a 10000 sq ft of butterfly conservatory and can support about 20 species. there is a museum and also a audio visual room in the facility. (more details on link above)
Its quite a task chasing butterflies and shoot 'em in the angles that you want! those flutters and continuous runs could take the best out of you patience and you might get tired much you could in an otherwise entire days shoot. :P so when I went wandering and running around some, just waiting for those delicate darlings to land on some colorful flowers, or plants, but they simply wouldn't, I finally learn to not to chase 'em like a mad cow, but to just be with 'em and being part of their moment of life, and then shoot it. and yes afterwards, it came easy!!! :-)
Since it was a photography trip, let me detail you a bit about my gears as well. I have n't shot or attempted macros yet in my one year of photography life. I own a 450D Canon body, a Canon 18-200 EF-S IS all purpose and my kit lens, a 50mm f1.8 and a UWA Tokina 11-16 f2.8 which is my favorite too.
Till now both 18-200 and 11-16 has served me well, as I had been been more on landscapes and architecture photography, and did a very little of portraits with 50mm. my 18-200 is a 3-stop macro and this is what I kinda wanted to check if i could get some good shots with my kit lens. and I sure am definitely surprised by the results, since most of these photographs are not cropped and not photoshoped either, and undoubtedly have got some real good colors and sharpness and background blurs and bokeh, at 200mm f5.6 which I thought It wouldn't. So well, if you want to do bird photography or insect macros, a longer zoom, and a proper macro lens is required respectively for these types but if you want to click something size of a butterfly or flowers etc, 18-200 is just awesome!
We ( Me and Sandesh, joined by Shalini who, was already there when we reached) had reached the park, at around 2:30 PM and were definitely sweating in the hot afternoon under that polycarbonate roof. The caretaker who soon started watering the plants, told there are totally around 10 species of butterflies currently, however based upon my shots and observations, I would say they were only 5-6, blue tiger, and red pierrot to name a few. The care taker told, that we should visit in July to find more butterflies in here. and this (May-June) season is mating season for some species. and yes we did spot a pair of red pierrot mating.
Well, I was really wondering, if I could find some cool critters, Like i did, some of the most colorful and big ones, in Sixflags, and SO was a little -little disappointed :(, but still managed to get some decent shots, I think, however I do believe the park could be improved considering the dedicated facility it has. By around 4PM, we found lots of families and some bunch of school kids too, in the dom, making it a little crowdy and congested to photo shoot so we left the dom around 4:15, sat outside relaxing near the pond, took cool breeze in a little, and headed back home thinking of butterfly park in july and more of some pizza and pastas at dominos for now. (hungry that we were! :P)
If You want to visit : Butterfly park is towards the left, to the entrance, a little ahead to the jungle lodge resorts and restaurant. Visiting fee and camera fee is each 25 bucks. you can drive all the way to the Bannerghatta road crossing IIMB, Paint Ball Arena, etc until you reach small circle with few shops and a tree, you should not take that more obvious left, and rather take the next one few meters ahead which'll take you to the BNP. Other things you can enjoy at BNP are zoo and safari. ( check out the post on my previous visit to BNP and grand safari here)
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