Feature Story

Oh those Butterfly mornings

Heading out of town
Jacque's enchanted forest
Our pond and Butterfly bushes
Victor's View
Inner Wings
Mother Nature's paint dabs
Stained Glass
Arrival of the Monarch
Fading Butterfly Bush

The Great Smoky Mountains are a photographer's paradise. My wife and I are so lucky to own ten acres just one half hour from the gate of this famous park.

We purchased the property in 1985 and retired here in 2002. We had decided to make the Southeastern region of the country our retirement home so that we could escape the brutal Michigan winters. We have never regretted that decision and for the last 30 years, we have watched this property change from a cow pasture, into an enchanted woodland. Our Granddaughter has reinforced this fact by happily naming it...

"Jacque's Enchanted Forest" (I've attached a photo of her handcrafted sign.)

My wife and I loved the sign but, over our granddaughter's objections, we named the land, "Hillcrest Acres."

I know that sounds cruel but, let me explain. When we lived in Michigan we first rented, and then later purchased a home. The rental was in East Lansing, and the house was in Lansing. By coincidence, they were both located on streets called "Hillcrest." What else could we name our newly built retirement home? It had to be "Hillcrest something"

But, I digress, this is a story about photography.

Now this last summer, there might have been hundreds, if not thousands of butterfly cocoons in the branches of our numerous trees. To be honest, I never gave it much thought. It's not like I donned a British pith helmet and grabbed a blooming butterfly net each morning so that I could hunt for the elusive Lepidoptera Moth.

In fact, I don't even hunt. Ten feet off our front porch, we have built a pond with a waterfall, and my wife has surrounded it with four giant butterfly bushes. Like they say; "Build it and they will come."

Butterflies everywhere, flocks of them, flickering all over the place. Is that correct, do butterfly's flock?

Anyway, I digress again.

My wife enjoys having her early morning coffee on the porch. By early I mean... 6 or 7a.m.; and almost every morning for the last two months, I have heard her lovely voice yelling at me to get out of my comfortable bed.

"Oh Honey, look at this one, it's so pretty, wake up, grab your camera, grab your camera!"

I stumble outside in my shorts, and aim my Canon 7D at the bushes.

"Where, Where?" I mumble. I still have un-brushed teeth and morning sleep in my eyes. When I look into the viewfinder all I see are nineteen blurry, wildly flashing auto-focus squares. My poor camera is trying to figure out what the hell I'm aiming at. I just point, shoot, and fire off 8fps.

Later at night, when I download my hundreds of captures, I'm astounded by what I see.

I yell for my wife. "Honey, come in here, look at this one, look at this one."

Her answer usually comes from the bedroom.

"Are you still on that computer? It's late; I'm going to sleep."

Thank you JPG for highlighting my photos on your September newsletter and blog. I don't want to disappoint you but, I'm not so sure I deserve your coveted attention.

I think it might be better to... thank my wife.

Please visit my "Stand-up Photography" web site. There are over 4,750 photos of stand-up comics captured by a fellow stand-up comic. Me. www.zenfolio.com/joedunckel

12 responses

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (5 Oct 2014):

    I loved your story as much as I loved your photos!! You're a great photographer as well as a stand-up storyteller!!

  • Joe Dunckel

    Joe Dunckel   said (5 Oct 2014):

    Thanks Susan!!!

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins (Deleted) said (5 Oct 2014):

    Just a wonderful story and the butterflies are beauties! You owe your wife BIG time. Got you springing into butterfly mode. :-) So glad you shared this neat story with us Joe. Got my vote for story of the week. Good luck!

  • JPG

    JPG gave props (12 Oct 2014):

    Congrats on having the Story of the Week!

  • Donna Mullins

    Donna Mullins (Deleted) said (12 Oct 2014):


  • Andrea Petersen

    Andrea Petersen said (12 Oct 2014):

    Congratulations on your well deserved photo essay making it to story of the week...Your photos are beautiful...We unfortunately had
    a shortage of butterflies this year and it is great that you had many.

  • Joe Dunckel

    Joe Dunckel   said (12 Oct 2014):

    Thank you Susan and Donna and JPG! I sure do appreciate you all. Those are Tennessee butterflies. Y'all

  • Susan Littlefield

    Susan Littlefield said (13 Oct 2014):

    I'm just tickled pink that y'all won with your fabulous story!!

  • Saroj Swain

    Saroj Swain gave props (19 Oct 2014):

    wonderful shots... congrats!!!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (20 Oct 2014):

    Hell YEAH! Rad!

  • John Linton

    John Linton gave props (20 Oct 2014):

    Congrats on making Story of the Week!

  • rekha nag

    rekha nag gave props (1 Nov 2014):

    Fabulous story!

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