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Friday Slide Show: A Painted Lady Share This on LinkedIn   Tweet This   Forward This

25 September 2020

Just a few days before we lost Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who certainly had more to say to us, this butterfly made its last landing near our front door. An ominous sign, we thought at the time, although we couldn't have guessed the specifics of its warning.

We've chased a few of these beauties, which can travel at a very haphazard 30 mph, with a camera in front of our nose. It's always been a frustrating experience. So we were delighted to be able to examine this one up close.

Our up-close kit was the same one we used in The Keys to Lost Locks to get so close we didn't know what we were looking at. That would be an Olympus E-PL1, Lensbaby Tile Transformer, BR-2 reversing ring and 35mm Nikkor. Which provides a great deal more magnification than a +10 macro converter on the 14-42mm kit lens.

We found, up close, the little beauty is a rather ugly bug. Hairy legs, a face only a mother could love and the underside of those colorful wings can only be charitably described.

There are so many days that never come.

Still, in the interests of science, we persisted. In the end, we didn't achieve anything near the beauty of the insect itself in flight. We simply sated our curiosity.

We thought it wouldn't be entirely inappropriate to dress it up a bit in a preset. We abhor presets as a rule. But sometimes when you are looking at a dull brown insect, it's just the thing.

Vintage Image was the Lightroom preset we found most illuminating. Not much of a color cast either way but a bit more saturation. Stage makeup, in short.

Working late into the night, we couldn't help but associate the loss of Ginzburg with the appearance of this inert butterfly. She was a fan of opera and Puccini, who wrote the opera Madame Butterfly. That particular opera wasn't a favorite because the girl doesn't fare too well.

Puccini's opera includes the aria Un bel di vedremo (one fine day we will see...). We will see, the faithful wife sings, a ship come into the harbor and then the long-awaited husband coming up the hill calling her name at last as she sits on the slope waiting for him finally to draw near.

That day never came.

There are so many days that never come. But once in a while, you are blessed by what someone like Ginsburg has done or a butterfly falls into your hands or some other unexpected wonder befalls you. And you think, That was quite a day!

And so it was.

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