Monthly Archives: June 2017

“Emerald Jewelwing”

“Emerald Jewelwing”

“She glitters like she walked out of a Klimt painting”
― Jandy Nelson

I came across this Emerald Jewelwing, who was resting briefly on a leaf just below eye level. There are time where they just sit and pose for long periods, but not today. This brief pause lasted only a few seconds and it was fluttering madly about once more, in the warming air above me. It also provided me a challenge, as half of its body was shaded by a leaf, a common problem when doing nature photography, and it was not about to be moved, nor could I move the leaf over without disturbing it. So, I ended up with a less than ideal, partially shaded image, which is better than nothing at all

With a motion a bit like a butterfly, random and seemingly without direction, the jewel wings float and dart among the branches. This leads me to wonder what the purpose of this haphazard motion is? Since they are not quick, like dragonflies, I wonder if the random movement protects them from predators, it certainly makes it difficult to photograph them in flight.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/7.1 ISO 100

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“Unexpected Guest”

“He was a killer, a thing that preyed, living on the things that lived, unaided, alone, by virtue of his own strength and prowess, surviving triumphantly in a hostile environment where only the strong survive.
–  Jack London

You never know what you may  come across while doing macro photography. I had stopped to make a picture of this bladder campion, but was a bit disappointed in its advanced condition. As I reviewed the shot to verify focus and exposure, I noticed this sneaky crab spider lurking on the bladders. I’m seeing these spiders a lot lately, it seems almost every plant has one hiding somewhere.

This image shows the spider in its typical attack position, sitting above the bladder, waiting to pounce on some unsuspecting insect. It’s quite the effective predator. This one is quite large, with a pea sized abdomen.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/400 sec, f/7.1 ISO 100

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“Yellow Dragon”

“Yellow Dragon”

“Time is for dragonflies and angels. The former live too little and the latter live too long.”
– James Thurber

Here’s another companion from my orchid hike. A beautiful yellow dragonfly, sunning itself in the warm trailside sunshine. If someone could help me out with its identification, that would be appreciated.

I’ve had varying luck photographing dragonflies, and this is my first shot of one using my 90mm macro lens.  I’m quite pleased with how it turned out. The light was just right to highlight the veining in its wings.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/7.1 ISO 100

High Resolution Image on 500px

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“Trailside Showy Lady Slipper ”

“Trailside Showy Lady Slipper”

“We only know a tiny proportion about the complexity of the natural world. Wherever you look, there are still things we don’t know about and don’t understand. […] There are always new things to find out if you go looking for them.”
― David Attenborough

There are moments in our lives that leave us breathless. For me, one of those moments occurred last year, when I came across this small cluster of Showy Lady Slipper orchids. They are native to my region and seem to be fairly scarce, as I have not seen them anywhere else, but here. The ‘grove’ currently consists of five flowering plants and two non-bloomers, all tightly grouped around a rotting balsam log, right next to a trail. I’m encouraged in that I spotted a few new plants, just in leaf, popping up nearby and I’m hoping this expansion continues.

I wrote about my discover around this time last year and my anxiety that someone might pick them or dig them up before they bloomed. The plants are quite stunning, being almost a half meter tall with large, intricate blossoms. As I photographed them this year, I was dismayed, as someone had picked one of the blossoms and another had been trampled down, likely by the same person, in their quest for the largest flower. Unfortunately, the plants grow quite close to the trail and are easily visible, if you are looking for them.

I’m getting better at picking up on the cycles of these magnificent wildflowers, based on other companion plants, saving me numerous trips back to this locale, which is also a haven for mosquitoes, which hungrily buzzed around me as I squatted low to get my photos. Oh, the joys of nature photography. It’s all worth it for even a single image like this.

One final challenge, bugs aside, is the poor lighting conditions. The orchids grow in a heavily wooded lowland, thick and dark and green. So it’s a real challenge to set white balance. To get the desired details, I also had to push my ISO higher than I like to get good detail. It was also windy, adding unwanted movement and limiting my exposure time. All in all, a good lesson on lighting and adapting camera settings, since I did not want to blow this opportunity to capture a good image. A return trip is unlikely till next weekend.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/15 sec, f/18.0 ISO 1000

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“Morning Feast”

“Morning Feast”

“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.”
― Joseph Addison

Yesterday morning, my son and I went for a hike to see how a patch of Showy Lady Slipper orchids were coming along. More on that in a future post. On the way into the forest, the wildflower lined path was abuzz with nectar seeking insects, crowding onto the blossoms dining and sunning themselves.

We’ve had yet another wave of rainy days and I’m sure the wildlife is also feeling the effects of wind and downpour. So, when the day dawned bright and clear, the opportunity to feast opened up.

In the image above, a Pearly Crescent butterfly works its way around a fleabane blossom, a small bee dines next door, the the next visitor arrives from above, to share in the bounty of this single plant. The pattern repeated throughout the meadow as the world eagerly greeted the sun once more.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/7.1 ISO 100

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“Texas Buttercup” – Oenethera triloba

“Texas Buttercup” - Oenethera triloba

“Waiting for you
is as delightful as
waiting for sunset.”
― Kamand Kojouri

Hey, will you look at that, a flower that is not pink for a change. The seasons are turning, and as my lovely peonies fade into memory, yellow has returned in full force.

This flower, which we mistakenly named ‘moon flower’ when we first got it from my mother-in-law, who also called it that, because it opens at dusk. It’s a fascinating plant to watch, though with foliage that very closely resembles dandelion, some do not survive till summer. I’ve pulled a few before realizing the error.

In any case, the flowers start as elongated pods with pointed ends. You can actually sit and watch them twitch before they open rapidly. Yes, they actually move from the energy of their opening. Then, in the blink of an eye, the pod bursts open at one seam and the delicate yellow petals unwind, yielding this wonderful, bright yellow blossom. The split pod can be seen below the flower in the image above. As the plant gets bigger, it may produce three to five blossoms in one night. The blossoms are short lived though, shrivelling up at dawns light, having been pollinated by moths and other night flying insects.

I have yet to watch one open this year. This one was already fully opened when I saw it.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
0.8 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

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“Bursting Forth”

“Bursting Forth”

“Everyday can be extraordinary
And ripe,
Like a flower burst,
If the will is there.”
― Scott Hastie

As a follow up to yesterday’s post, I revisited the bud I photographed the day before, titled “Opening Soon“. Well. it did open and I’m still amazed at how all this pomp and frill can fit inside such a small bud.

The peony season is beginning to wind down and we had a torrential downpour yesterday, which did not help them much. Yet, some survived and keep providing us pleasure through their soft and intricate blossoms.

This was, however, my only peony image of the day, as it was bright and sunny today, so I ventured out to see how the wild orchids were fairing. More on that tomorrow.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
2.0 sec, f/36.0 ISO 100

High Resolution image on 500px

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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