Yorkshire Photo Explorer

Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre

Asian Short-Clawed Otters, Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre

It may seem odd that I’ve chosen otters as the main photo for this post about the Tropical Butterfly House. However, the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre in North Anston, Sheffield, is much more than just butterflies. The centre houses a number of animals and birds, from meerkats and lemurs to owls and red squirrels.

In particular, the otter enclosure is fantastic for photography, as you can photograph them at eye level with no barriers and natural looking backgrounds. The two Asian short-clawed otters provided me with a lot of entertainment and a lot of photos. They certainly aren’t camera shy (and I still haven’t learnt restraint with the shutter button)! My only wish was that the day was a bit brighter as I was struggling to get enough shutter speed (my ISO was ramped up really high). I’d love to come back and get them splashing through the water. However this was a minor point, as just watching them was a pleasure. The male even posed for me on a log.

Asian Short-Clawed Otter, Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre

Feeding time was also good for photo opportunities and the accompanying talk was very interesting. The otters made short work of a whole trout – or at least the female did. The male did not get much of a look-in!

Asian Short-Clawed Otter, Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre

My original reason for visiting (before being completely taken in by the otters) was to try some macro photos in the butterfly house. Doing macro in low light, hand held, is never easy, but I had a lot of fun trying. It’s not difficult to find butterflies to photograph, so there are plenty of opportunities. This owl butterfly was particularly spectacular:

Owl butterfly, Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre

I find that coming somewhere like the Tropical Butterfly House makes me look harder for photos. Closely inspecting the plants and surroundings that everyone else was just rushing past opened up so much more, such as this locust resting amongst the leaves. I think this is one of my favourite shots of the day from the butterfly house:

Locust, Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre

To challenge myself even more, I attempted some photos of the leaf-cutter ants. I’ve tried photographing ants before (see the northern hairy wood ants at Hardcastle Crags), so I know that they move fast! I only really got one photo that I like, which I don’t think is too bad for a hand held shot.

Leaf-cutter ant, Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre

In summary, I had an enjoyable afternoon at the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife and Falconry Centre and would recommend it as a place to visit. Here are a few more photos:

Practicalities
Approximate post code (for sat nav) S25 4EQ
Parking/entrance There is free parking on site. There is an entrance charge to the centre.
Website http://www.butterflyhouse.co.uk/

This is the location of the Tropical Butterfly House, Wildlife & Falconry Centre:

Notes for next time
  • Go on a brighter day. Most of my photos are taken on a very high ISO
  • Experiment with depth of field
  • Watch the flying displays

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