We were wondering what to do one February weekend in Hyderabad, when we decided to visit the Zoo and explore wildlife photography in a relatively controlled environment.
The Hyderabad Zoo is a good place for wildlife lovers and photographers looking to practice wildlife photography (Our personal belief is that animals should be in the wild where they’re supposed to be rather than a zoo – but we can debate that some other time).
Housed in the Hyderabad Zoo is the Butterfly Park. The authorities have taken care to plant as many flowering & nectar producing plants, in the park, which attracts these delicate winged creatures.
On the walk through the butterfly park, we spotted a large number and variety of butterflies. It wasn’t long before our cameras were out and we were enjoying the beautiful day with these delicate creatures. While walking though the thick undergrowth of flowers and shrubs (I wish we knew which plants these were), there were several instances when there would be a sudden flurry of activity where thousands of butterflies of all shapes, sizes and color would suddenly take flight and swarm in the air like falling leaves on a beautiful spring day before settling back on their plants for the next feed of nectar.
Pictured here is the Painted Lady Butterfly or the Cardui. The wingspan of the butterfly is about 5-9cms. The identifying mark of the butterfly is the Dark coloring at the edge of the wings (with light/white spots). The rest of the wing is orangish in color and may have variations in its coloring. The name painted lady comes from its various colors and dots on its wings.
Photographing butterflies: Can be quite an engaging and fun activity. But then the mantra for getting a good picture is PATIENCE. Like all butterflies, if you go chasing after them, you probably will not be able to get that perfect shot. Instead, try sitting peacefully around the butterfly’s habitat (nectar producing plants). Be as still as you can and soon enough these little ones will get accustomed to your presence. As they get used to your being around, they will resume their activities as if you’re not even there. By this time, you need to have setup your camera (and tripod) for the shot. Experiment, click away, have lots of fun. Just remember, chasing after them will probably just disturb them and they won’t pose for that shot. This one was clicked with a Canon EOD 350D and the Canon 100-400mm f4.5-5.6 IS lens.
Here is a picture showing what we mean when we say patience. This is from our valley of flowers trek. While trekking, we noticed several of these butterflies fluttering around at a particular place. We decided to sit down and wait. Sure enough, after a few minutes wait, these little butterflies just came and sat on our hands, our cameras and shoes. Great fun shaking hand with these little guys.
Patience pays – Well, eventually we didn’t get those great shots where we could get details of the butterfly in the image, but we did get to shake hands with them. An experience worth more than any gorgeous photograph!