Choreographing a swallowtail ballet

Inspiration plus perspiration plus going where angels fear to tread into the thistle meadow in search of the dramatic black swallowtail photograph.  The butterfly always one more giant prickly weed beyond the range of the sun-dazed photographer with her tiny camera. Digital click click click zoom point zoom out of focus tangled on thorns wondering about snakes click click swing zoom. Percussion mostly.  Vertical stripes pink black glaring white yellow greens.  A Seventies disco floor flashing backdrop. Exaggerated prickly prancing silhouetted photographer sharp shadow dancing spiky.

Corps de ballet in pink tutus.  Male corp in shades of green-- vertically striped tights. Photographer frames shots larger and smaller circles. Lighting changes from soft to stark contrast.

Floor a glowing pink light projection.  Back a bokeh of greens and bright whites. Dancers in yellow leotards and tights with black markings, orange and blue spots on the floor.  Legs open close angle point pivot from floor. Small shifts to other pink circles of light.

Solo.  Black swallowtail prince.  Slightly battered.  Short movements between vertical green translucent banners.  Sense of confinement.  Needing nourishment.  Corps returns in front with windy shielding and frustrated photographer.

Sphinx moth interlude.  Low to floor. Two moths with three fading thistle flower dancers.  Hovering with strobe.  Rosy hues and browns.

Color invert dance.  Black light effect.  Sharp wire sculpture wings with pearls and jewels.  Neon edges glowing.  Sphinx moths, dragonflies, damselflies, hornworms, wheelbugs, tiger beetles, orb spiders, weevil, caterpillars, praying mantis.  Grand, triumphant, dark. Sousa meets Pink Floyd.

Brown.  Roly-polies.  Millipedes. Snails--how to leave a sparkling silver slime trail??  Worms slightly pink by comparison. Cicadas. Dark background and floor.

Grand finale starring fabulous black swallowtail male in dances with strong, leaping yellow swallowtail female.  Occasional entrances of small groups of female yellow swallowtails. Prolonged threesome frolic with black swallowtail and two yellows.  Exit into dark woods.

Finale--Black swallowtail emerges from shadows and flies weightlessly toward the glittering crystal sunlight on the creek.  Ode to Joy?

© 2012 Nancy L. Ruder


Bluestem said...

Where did you find the American Basketflower growing? I would like to collect a few local seeds to try in my yard. I am not sure where my plants originated, but they don't look quite as healthy as the ones you photographed.

Collagemama said...

I took these photos out at Oak Point Nature Preserve.

Bluestem said...

You find all of the interesting plants. I see in your Martians post that you found some Illinois bundleflower out there too.

Bluestem said...

Finally got that posted. I had trouble proving that I was not a robot.

Collagemama said...

I agree that this robot ID is getting really annoying. My bifocals cannot get the squishy letters. I changed my settings so recent posts shouldn't need comment moderation.

Collagemama said...

I love the sculptural structure of those seed pods, but I had never noticed the plant in the growing season. "Illinois bundleflower" is such a great name! And Oak Point is a Plano gem.


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