The Butterfly Place

My friend and I visited The Butterfly Place on Monday and left with a boatload of photos after wandering around in a leisurely fashion for 90 minutes. They have butterflies from every continent except the obvious one – a mite too chilly there. The best of my photos are below, presented in the order I took them. I’ve identified a few of the butterflies in the captions, and you can find many of the other names on their web site here.

All of these photos are 1920 x 1440, about half their original resolution. The only editing other than resizing that I did was some cropping on a handful and Photoshop’s auto-tone on most. Auto-tone automatically adjusts exposure, contrast, highlights, shadows, whites, and blacks, and it’s usually the first thing I do to photos imported from my camera. It’s almost never a bad idea.

Click on any thumbnail below to enter the gallery, where you’ll see medium-sized images. To see or save any particular image in full size, click on this at the lower right – you may need to scroll down to see it:

A brief panoramic video of the flight area is at the end of this post.

The invention of pastels

I’m thinking it may have occurred on the coast of Maine, where I took these photos last month when I visited York Beach for my company’s annual user group conference. Click any of these for a 1024×768 version.

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Five years ago, the first night in York featured a beautiful moonlit salmon sky, and I took this picture:

P1020045dI had consistently good food while there this year, most notably at the Union Bluff Hotel. At the scheduled dinner for all, the choices were filet mignon, lobster, and baked chicken. I had the filet since I was planning lobster and fried clams at other places, and the steak was perfectly rare and buttery tender, with well-made garlic mashed potatoes whose garlic had obviously been roasted or braised – a pleasant surprise for me, since most restaurants simply toss in a handful of chopped raw garlic and call it a day.

The restaurant also had a tasty self-serve appetizer table at the dinner that featured several types of crackers with real and quite delicious charcuterie and what I think were locally made cheeses. Even the baked goods the hotel provided for breaks during the conference were of surprisingly high quality, including real butter croissants and two varieties of cookies still warm from the oven (!).

I went to St. Joe’s Coffee a few miles from the hotel for Americanos and breakfast the two mornings I was there. I like that place because they keep the lighting dim, perfect for 6:30 in the morning when you haven’t yet had any coffee, and you can watch them preparing the folded mini-omelette for the breakfast sandwich. Dunkin’ Donuts execs would probably say, “What? We’re pretty sure that’s not how you make an egg sandwich.”

The last night I was there, I visited this place in Ogunquit for dinner in the bar. I had clam chowder, fried oysters, truffled lobster en croute, and a sparkling pear martini. It wasn’t all that expensive; I think I would have paid about 50% more for this south of the Massachusetts border.

Next day, I paused on the way back to the office to take a few pictures of Nubble Light, then stopped for fried clams at Bob’s Clam Hut at the border in Kittery. Delicious.

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Note: In an effort to keep this post about Maine entirely positive, I decided not to mention this recent story at all.

Whoops.