Butterfly Dust in the Wind

pieces of tiger swallowtail wing caught on a strand of sticky silk

Belying their photograph, these bits of tiger swallowtail wing were fluttering in the passing breezes on their sticky strand of silk.

Bug remnants, a disembodied leg here, a detached wing there, are all over the place, and my general rule – “It’s not as much when they’re dead.” – holds when “they” are remnants like the bits of butterfly wings above as much as when they are intact creatures. But that doesn’t mean they can’t be intriguing. In these shots, there is a certain unpictured accompanying remnant, a question: what happened to the butterfly? It wasn’t around, alive or dead, for me to say. I could infer a small but floating melancholy from an imagined hard life lived, emphasis on the past tense. Maybe even a hopeful perseverance still flitting from flower to flower, but something out there. A bird, a spider, a quiet, final resting spot in the shade of a leaf. The next sip of nectar from a rhododendron blossom glass. Whatever it is, it’s always happening; it’s butterfly dust in the wind like sands through the hourglass.

(A couple closer shots below.)Just a quick note on these shots: I messed a bit with the color, especially the yellow in the top piece of wing (above; and same piece in both shots below). The yellow was quite dull, not matching the vibrant yellow of the bottom bit. I suppose faded colors would add to the theme of “passing” but that seemed a little arbitrary when the other piece was so much brighter. Ultimately, I just didn’t like how it looked. So I kicked up the yellow; unfortunately I couldn’t figure out how to bring out the light blues more to balance it. In fact, I drowned out the light blues, especially in the photo above. I guess it’s time to learn a more advanced color saturation technique.

tightly packed scales of a piece of a tiger swallowtail wing

The colors of this faded bit of tiger swallowtail butterfly wing were difficult to bring out in post-processing.

 

tightly packed scales of a piece of a tiger swallowtail wing

The butterfly dust, just a little closer, is an intricate, tightly woven cover.

 

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