Stratford-Upon-Avon, whilst may be known for being part of Shakespeare’s country, it holds a secret in the form of the tropical paradise that is Stratford Butterfly Farm. This is the Uk’s Largest tropical butterfly paradise and hosts a range of butterflies in all stages of their development.
As you first walked towards the farm the mirrors and nymphs created an unusual atmosphere.
Then when you had entered and walked through the plastic slats that hung down at the entrance, the heat was the first thing that welcomed you. This made a welcome change to being wrapped up in multiple layers but being able to take pictures in just a T-shirt for once. However initially this proved problematic for our cold cameras and the first thing they did was to fog over. While we waited for the camera and lenses to acclimatise to the tropical environment inside the butterfly flight area, it was nice to observe the butterflies all around and taking an early morning drink.
Once my trusty Canon had warmed up and the lens cleared then I could begin exploring the world of the tropics and tropical rainforest, that was home to an array of butterflies.
While the light in the greenhouse was very evenly distributed as there was no cloud to factor in the settings were applied. However, the aperture was initially around 4/ 5.6 which meant in some of the pictures parts of the wings were out of focus.
To overcome this issue, I decided to dig out my flash gun from my camera bag and make use of its capabilities. This did mean there was an added screen to fiddle with settings for but as the day progressed I got used to it, altering the amount of flash light and sometimes not using at all.
Throughout the day I tried to take visually interesting images of the tropical butterflies around us keeping everything in focus. Including the many butterflies that decided they took a fancy to resting on my or my camera bag.
There was also an interactive display/ talk where one of the staff members brought out some of the insects and butterfly pupa for us to look at at closer detail. Including this Giant African Snail and millipede
This was one of the more fun and creative of the field trip Friday outings, as there was a new butterfly on every walk around and leaf you overturned, as well as a few eggs and caterpillars of you were lucky.
The above images show the pupa neatly glued onto rods by the staff of Stratford Butterfly Farm, awaiting the butterflies to emerge.