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Tuesday, August 09, 2005

Good Luck, Bad Luck

A bit of my life, reinterpreted as a Taoist proverb:

I find out about a photography contest, low stress and amateurs only. Good luck! I find it's restricted to photos of butterflies, which I haven't had that much success photographing. Bad Luck. I give myself a day in the butterfly conservatory and come out with some okay shots for a first try, learn a lot -- another practice session and I'll have a photo worth submitting. Good Luck! The conservatory is closed for 5 weeks due to wind damage. Bad luck. I panic and start seeking wild butterflies. I actually start to catch some on film; a few more tries and maybe I'll get some on film that are recognizable as butterflies. Good Luck. My yard is being taking over by an invasive, aggressive bush a neighbor planted in her yard. Bad luck. It turns out the invasive weed is a Chinese lilac that attracts butterflies like catnip attracts cats. Good Luck.

As Jon J Muth paraphrased in Zen Shorts, "You never can tell."

The contest and the 'bad luck' of the wind damage, really taught me tons about butterflies and moths. Shooting in the conservatory now feels like using training wheels in terms of technique and identification. In the wilds of our state parks and my backyard, I realized just how many butterflies and moths there are around here. I never noticed and I don't know how I ever missed them. The USGS has a fabulous site for identifying and learning about the local North American fauna -- which I never would have used had it not been for my goal of taking a good butterfly picture. I guess that's why I like PhotoFriday, Macroday, and other themed contests. I learn a lot.

With all this talk about butterflies, don't think I've gone soft. Arachnids are still the coolest; mantids a close second.

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