26 November 2008

A magnificent book of butterfly photographs

The top image is a macro closeup of the scale pattern on a butterfly wing; it exemplifies the attention to minute detail in Thomas Marent's book Butterfly. This is a large, heavy, classic "coffee-table" book dominated by photographs - full page and even two-page images, many of which are breathtaking.

The text of the book is interesting and reasonably comprehensive, but is clearly secondary to the visual spectacle - 500 photos of tropical and nontropical butterflies, moths, caterpillars, chrysalids, cocoons, and even eggs. Top to bottom above: the book cover, the cleverly-named "89" butterfly (that's it's real name), defensive spines on a caterpillar, "eyespots" on wings, and a macro image of an eyespot. You can explore more photos and find out more about the author and his other books at his website.

Overall the book is very much like its "oceanic" counterpart The Deep, which I reviewed 6 months ago. It is available from Amazon (where it is mistakenly called a "reference" book; it's not - it's a picture book); for $30 it would probably make a nice Xmas gift if you know someone interested in the natural world. Otherwise just get it from your library for a few evenings of pleasant browsing.

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