Thursday, August 18, 2011

Beauty of Butterflies

 The summer after I graduated high school was my first real period of spending time behind the lens, and delving into nature photography.  Six days after I received my diploma I moved to central Minnesota which offered many incredible experiences for a burgeoning photographer.  Our first home was a rental on the outskirts of a neighborhood, a couple blocks from several large lakes and several parks.  Not to be all Wizard of Oz, but many of the best things to photograph are never further away than your own backyard.  As was the case with monarch butterflies outside our backdoor.  At first I saw one, then two, and then realized there were a dozen or more all in one tree!  (Insects in Minnesota have the Sam's Club factor.  They only come in bulk quantities! Yikes!)  But I remember shooting frame after frame trying to get closer, more detail, better lighting....and over ten years later photographing butterflies as September is around the corner is still a favorite backyard joy. 

Trust me, you can spend hours chasing these guys around a field trying for the perfect shot.  This year I was given a last minute heads up that our field was being mowed and if I wanted some shots I better head outside.  So to the hum of the Kubota I fluttered up and down the field for an hour shooting over a hundred frames.  It was tough to narrow down, but here is a sample of what I ended up with.

Eastern Tiger SwallowTail

 As you can see the preferred flower in our field is clover.  I tried to correctly ID each butterfly but it was a little tricky as several are similar. 

Not only do butterflies offer incredible evidence of God's creation, which contradicts evolutionary science (please check out the awesome video below) but they also are an incredible illustration of other Biblical truths.  Enjoy the three excerpts from Puritan authors as they tell you what they see when they look at a butterfly!

By J.R. Miller:
“One day a friend sent me a splendid butterfly, artistically mounted, known as the Lima Moth. This little creature is said to be the most beautiful of North American insects. Its color is light green with variegated spots. In its caterpillar state, it was only a worm. It died and entered its other or higher state, as we would say—and then the worm became a splendid butterfly.”
This illustrates the two stages of a Christian's life. Here we are in our earthly state. After this will come the heavenly condition. "The things that are above" belong to this higher, spiritual life. But the Christian is exhorted to seek these higher things—while living in this lower world. We belong to heaven, although we are not yet living in heaven.

By J.C. Ryle:

And all is the result of the spiritual nature implanted in them by the Holy Spirit. Just as the caterpillar when it becomes a butterfly can no longer be content to crawl on earth—but will fly upwards and use its wings, so will the affections of the man who has the Spirit be ever reaching upwards toward God.

And what is it they need in order to make them fit to enjoy heaven? They need to be Regenerated or born again. It is not a little changing and outward amendment they require. 

Black Swallowtail
It is not merely the putting a restraint on raging passions, and the quieting of unruly affections. All this is not enough. Old age—the lack of opportunity for indulgence—the fear of man, may produce all this. The tiger is still a tiger, even when he is chained; and the serpent is still a serpent, even when he lies motionless and coiled up. The alteration needed is far greater and deeper. They must have a new nature put within them. They must be made new creatures. The fountain-head must be purified. The root must be set right. Each one needs a new heart and a new will. The change required is not that of the snake, when he casts his skin and yet remains a reptile still. It is the change of the caterpillar, when he dies and his crawling life ceases—but from his body rises the butterfly—a new animal, with a new nature. All this, and nothing less, is required.

By C.H. Spurgeon:

See that creeping worm, how contemptible its appearance! It is the beginning of a thing. Mark that butterfly with gorgeous wings, playing in the sunbeams, sipping at the flower bells, full of happiness and life; that is the end thereof. That caterpillar is yourself, until you are wrapped up in the chrysalis of death; but when Christ shall appear you shall be like Him, for you shall see Him as He is. Be content to be like Him—a despised worm—that like Him you may be satisfied when you wake up in His likeness.

Dark Female Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

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