Every fall our Desert Botanical Garden has a Monarch exhibit. We never went before until last Sunday. It was stunning and more than worth the price! (Click photos for more detail of these lovely critters.)


There were hundreds…and we were lucky that it wasn’t very crowded, other people were well-behaved, and we got to stay in there as long as we wanted.



I did feel sorry for the butterflies being captive for awhile but, as it turns out, their life span is about as long in captivity as in the wild and they don’t have predators.



This is a male, above. They have the oval spots on their two hindwings. The black webbing is also thinner on males than females.



Milkweeds are their plant of choice but they were all over the lantana in there which is where the butterflies in our yard always congregate. However, I never see Monarchs around here even though we have them.








Fuzzy body…




I think the lower butterfly is a female and the upper one is a male, above.







Tony was using my D80 and I was using my D7100. Between the two of us, we took over 300 photos of the Monarchs.

Here’s what I learned:

1. It’s pretty awesome and magical to be in an enclosed area with hundreds of butterflies.

2. It’s hard to take a bad picture.

3. The photos (and the butterflies) all kinda look alike and it seems silly to take 300 photos. What do you do with them all?

4. Fascinating as it is, it’s more rewarding to capture an image of a butterfly out in the “wild,” than in a controlled, captive environment. It takes more effort, more patience, and more luck to get a shot of a wild one.


We got some cute photos of a little girl wearing a tiara who had one land on her fingers for quite awhile. I emailed her mom the photos and would like to post them here but I’m not sure it’s right since people get all weirded out about unauthorized photos of kids so I guess I won’t do it other than this one of her finger.

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10 responses to “Monarchs!

  1. Candace ~ what a wonderful photo oportunity and your results are super! I’d be hard pressed to pick a favorite, as you got so many beauties. Looks like a day to remember!
    P.S. enjoy your beautiful weather…..we just had our first dusting of snow. It’s a month early :(
    Happy day to you!

  2. Oh my goodness, Candace, lucky you!
    I saw but one monarch butterfly this whole summer. there was an amazing lack of them, as well as bees and hummingbirds. These are really beautiful.

  3. This is a gorgeous series of photos, Candace! Monarchs are such pretty things but we don’t have them in this part of Montana. Wish we did!

  4. This is an impressive series of these beautify butterflies. The two of you got some fine close ups of these beauties. We don’t have Monarchs in this eastern part of Washington state either as far as I know.

  5. How fun to visit the Monarch exhibit! Beautiful pictures! :)

  6. Beautiful Monarchs, great shots.

  7. Your pictures are beautiful; I really like the narrative you’ve included. I had forgotten that they are at the DBG; thank you for this reminder. I need to check the calendar to find out how long they will be there.

  8. A fantastic series for sheer variety and excellent photography. The larger version adds to much more detail and impact that it would be a mistake to rush through this without checking each one out. Excellent post, Candace!

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