Award-winning nature and wildlife photographer Bill Harbin of Rome, Ga. decorates Fernbank Museum’s walls with 33 astounding photos of bright flowers and fluttering insects in his exhibition Winged Beauty: Butterflies and Other Insects.
A variety of insect photos illuminate the entry level walls with vibrant, unbelievable colors. Delicate butterflies rest on sturdy flowers, buzzing dragonflies glide motionlessly through the air, and beetles feed on flowers covered in dew drops.
The crisp photos capture every microscopic detail, inviting viewers into a bug’s world. When met eye-to-eye, the delicate, tender butterfly suddenly becomes a dominant, aggressive creature, and tiny dew drops become heavy weights.
“The world of insects dazzles in color and form,” said Harbin, who was named Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2008 by Natural History Museum, London and BBC Wildlife. Harbin also had three images published in North American Nature Photography Association's Annual Showcase Competition 2010.
In one image, the fierce heat of a Florida afternoon rests on the fiery petals of a gaillardia flower. The drooping tips of the flower petals fade from yellow, to orange, to red and finally to deep burgundy surrounding the base of the flower.
Harbin’s photographs magnify every small detail, including the interaction between blossom and butterfly in one image that depicts pollen escaping the gaillardia as a Great Southern White Butterfly nectars the flower.
“Capturing this rapidly moving natural spectacle with still camera images is challenging hard work at best,” said Harbin, who succeeds with brilliant images that stop time and allow the beauty of nature to be seen up close. “Most of these scenes lasted only a few seconds, a moment as ephemeral as the average lifespan of these creatures, but now frozen in time for lingering views.”
Winged Beauty: Butterflies and Other Insects is now on view at Fernbank Museum of Natural History through September 6, 2010. The exhibition is included with Museum admission, which is $15 for adults, $14 for students and seniors, $13 for children ages 3 to 12, and free for Museum Members and children under 3.
The exhibition is featured in conjunction with Geckos: Tails to Toepads, a live animal exhibition featuring 80 live geckos and 18 species. Visitors can experience the magnified world of more bugs by adding an IMAX® film during their visit. Bugs! A Rainforest Adventure, showing daily through September 30, follows the real-life adventure of a butterfly, a praying mantis and a variety of other rainforest insects. Value Pass tickets, which include Museum and IMAX® admission, are $23 for adults, $21 for students and seniors and $19 for children 12 and under, and only $8 for members. Call 404.929.6400 to order Value Pass tickets in advance.
Fernbank Museum of Natural History is located at 767 Clifton Road NE in Atlanta. For tickets or visitor information, visit fernbankmuseum.org or call 404.929.6300.