So a bit of an explanation:
Some time ago, when I was still writing for Gadling, I featured a photograph taken by a reader of a "corpse flower" -- so named because its fragrance is reminiscent of the odor of a decomposing body. The photographer had taken a photo of this, one of the largest flowers in the world, while trekking through the rainforests of Indonesia, and I remember reading something about the fact that in the wild, this endangered flower's foul stench is so strong, it can travel for over 2 miles.
Wrap your mind around that, for a second: the smell of death traveling for over 2 miles.
As you might imagine, my immediate reaction on reading these words was likely similar to your reaction right now: to recoil in complete horror. I couldn't imagine just coming across one of these flowers in the wild, much less actually seeking one out to investigate. They sounded nauseating.
But then, I learned that the Houston Museum of Natural Science was in possession of one of these flowers, and that it was on the verge of blooming. I learned that fewer than 100 of these flowers have bloomed in cultivation (since they only bloom about once every 6 years or so), and that fewer then 30 have bloomed in the United States. And given that I've sort of been known to take a photograph of a flower or two, I became single-minded: I had to take a photograph of this stinky blossom.
Unfortunately, as of the typing of this post, "Lois" (as this flower has been affectionately nicknamed) hasn't bloomed yet. And let me tell you, Houston is ABLAZE in anticipation. Twitter is on fire. We're keeping up with the museum's blog posts (including video updates by the museum's chief horticulturalist, Zac). We're watching the live camera feed. We're even following Twitter updates from Lois herself.
And so, I'm on point to leap into action to photograph Lois at a moment's notice: my camera is at the ready, and I even have a fresh pot of Vicks Vaporub in my handbag to dab under my nose to handle the smell, if necessary (although, honestly, if the smell really does travel for miles, I'm thinking my little pot o'Vicks isn't going to do a heck of a lot).
So basically, this post is a long-winded way of saying that I'm sharing yet another butterfly photo with you today because my obsession with a weird-looking, stinky flower has taken over all aspects of my consciousness. Apologies, and with a little luck, this puppy will bloom tomorrow, so I can snap some shots and get over it.
Image: Butterfly from the Cockrell Butterfy Center photographed with my Nikon D300 and 60mm micro lens.