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Making of the Monarch Butterfly School Photo

Monarch butterfly made of people school photo

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About the Butterfly Book Project

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This is another one of my favorite all-time photographs. Unlike the past 3 photographs where I was standing on the roof of the school, this is photographed using a drone. Technology has really improved in just a few years. The photograph is by Scott Stoll with Tim Spanagel of MasseyGreenAVP. Tim needed two licenses to fly the drone. One from the FCC and another to flyover or come within 500 feet of people. Nonetheless, I said, “Play it safe and don’t fly overhead.”

See an overview of my other three school class photos, the bicycle, the cupcake and the worm, and read more about how the class photo is made.

This photograph was the most difficult to arrange. We needed permission from every parent, the school district. Plus, the weather wasn’t cooperating. We had to cancel several times, including March 17th which meant that instead of wearing green for St Patrick’s day, the kids were all wearing orange and black. (There was a lot of Cincinnati Bengal’s gear this day.) Below you can see more preparation. In the first picture, using Google Earth, I plotted out two potential locations. Unfortunately, the grassy field is muddy all spring, so we used the roundabout at the school entrance.

Monarch butterfly school photo preparation 1

Preparing for the school photo of a monarch butterfly. Two choices. And an attempt to estimate size.

The second photo is the final location. The footprint of the butterfly is about the same size as the other three photographs. But I made a much more careful measurement using the scale in Google Earth and the circumference of a circle to estimate about 2 people per meter.

Preparing for the school photo of a monarch butterfly. The final location. And a careful estimate of size.

Update: One photo I missed was the project coordinator Nuria Lopez donating a 24×36″ framed class photo to the principal Ms Simmons. I hope it will be a timeless piece of art for the school office. Also, as you can see below, we made the front page of the local newspaper.

The Northsider Monthly May 2017 Front Cover

Parker Woods Students and Staff lined up in the shape of butterfly.

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