170826 Butterflies - matthew piers robertson • photography writing creative toronto

Wildlife isn't really my thing, but if I was to develop an interest in something small and moving, butterflies would be it. They're easy enough to find in the city, especially with so many great parks and the Leslie Street Spit nearby, and they have the good manners to be active in the middle of the day – I'm not exactly crepuscular myself. They don't need exotically long lenses, and once they land, fast autofocus isn't strictly necessary either. Plus they're usually pretty, with lots of variety to try to spot.

My favourite person and I were at the Butterfly Festival on Tommy Thompson Park last weekend, where there were all kinds of interesting events and activities that we enjoyed from a distance. We counted 45 Monarchs over the course of about three hours of strolling through the park, and not one single Viceroy was among the ones I photographed. 

Butterflies here are associated with delicacy and femininity – an image search on butterfly toys and clothing makes that clear. So take another look at these animals. They're tough, resilient creatures that literally eat poison for breakfast. They're amazing aerialists who can fly faster than we can run, whose entire life is an incredible and irrepressible journey. 

What an awesome role model for kids of all genders.


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