Monthly Archives: August 2017

“Incoming”

“Incoming”

“Sometimes opportunities float right past your nose. Work hard, apply yourself, and be ready. When an opportunity comes you can grab it.”
― Julie Andrews Edwards 

This was a fun scene to watch. There were initially two large bees, hastily gathering nectar from this bull thistle. As they busied themselves, a smaller bee approached closely, but when it saw the blossom full, darted off, yet kept coming back to check on the situation.

While I was snapping photos, one of the larger bees left, freeing up a large tract of real estate. As I continued to track the large bee, waiting for a good composition, the small bee darted in from the periphery, just as I hit the shutter release, yielding the action shot above.

The image makes me smile because I am so keenly aware that the small bee was so anxious to get its share of nectar and was probably relieved that one of its larger competitors had departed. Also, the slight blur of the smaller bee’s body gives a sense of speed and urgency to the image. The larger bee was so busy, it never even noticed the new arrival.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Monarch Butterfly on Queen Anne’s Lace”

“Monarch Butterfly on Queen Anne’s Lace”

“You are imperfect, permanently and inevitably flawed. And you are beautiful.” 
― Amy Bloom 

I’ve been saving a quote for some time, waiting for the right image. Well, the image presented itself a few days ago. As I’ve said in a few posts, butterflies seem to be scarce this year, Monarchs even more so. I think this whole season I’ve only seen a handful.

This one was simply too wonderful to resist, despite it’s damaged wings? What, what, damaged? Have a closer look. What at first appeared to be a ‘perfect’ specimen, on further inspection shows some late summer wear and tear, though not extensive, the damage is irreparable. Does this make the butterfly any less beautiful? Not to me, as I watched it perched so wonderfully, posing, as if just for my benefit.

It was beautiful in its imperfection, and I’m glad for that. The damage makes me wonder how it came about. With all our rain and wind over the past few weeks, I’m surprised to see butterflies at all, let alone mostly intact. I can’t imagine how they survive. Yet, this one did, offering me a nice long view.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/200 sec, f/7.0 ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Yellow-collared Scape Moth” – Cisseps fulvicollis

“Yellow-collared Scape Moth” - Cisseps fulvicollis

“The real voyage of discovery consists not in seeking new landscapes, but in having new eyes.”
– Marcel Proust

It seems to be butterfly and bug week for me. Butterflies, especially, have been sparse this year, though small months are plentiful, yet elusive. The butterflies also serve as subject matter as flowering plants seem to be in a transition phase, many is seed and others just budding.

When I went hiking during yesterday’s eclipse, I found that most insect life seemed quite subdued, except for mosquitoes, who welcomed the early dusk as an extended mealtime. As I passed a small cluster of Joe-Pye Weed, I spotted this colourful flying insect. Having no idea what it was, I photographed it with the intention of looking it up on my return home, which is my practice lately.

I thought this was some form of fly and was surprised to find out that it is a moth. It did not fit the common form of moths around here. Yet, when I look more closely, it does have all the characteristics of a moth.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/320 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Wood Nymph on Crab Apple Leaf”

“Wood Nymph on Crab Apple Leaf”

“Miracles… seem to me to rest not so much upon… healing power coming suddenly near us from afar but upon our perceptions being made finer, so that, for a moment, our eyes can see and our ears can hear what is there around us always.” 
― Willa Cather

For those living in the path of today’s solar eclipse, I’m sure it will be tough to compete with the spectacle in the sky. If I had to chase those spectacles, I’m sure I would have stopped making photographs years ago. Fortunately, that is not the case and there is so much wonder in the seemingly mundane spaces around us daily.

Today, I set out mid-morning to make a few images of local wildflowers, only to find many have already gone to seed and the next ‘wave’ is just starting to bud. Yet, in my periphery I caught movement and noticed this wood nymph floating and fluttering from plant to plant, occasionally sitting to sun itself, then taking to the sky again.

It took a while for it to finally land on a leaf that offered me decent lighting and a side view. And, it took me a while to get close enough to get a good image, without spooking it away. Persistence paid off and I was a able to get a few nice shots of it. Despite some wear and tear, so common in butterfly wings this late in the season, it was a fairly nice example of this common woodland butterfly. The only drawback was that the butterfly was content to just sit there and did not open its wings to offer me a top view. Despite this, I’m always happy to be reminded that being in nature frequently puts me more in tune with it and makes it easier for me to spot things like this that others simply don’t notice. I often have people looking at my photos surprised that I made the image steps from home.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/40 sec, f/16.0, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Monarch on Purple Coneflower”

“Monarch on Purple Coneflower”

“There are times to stay put, and what you want will come to you, and there are times to go out into the world and find such a thing for yourself.” 
― Lemony Snicket

For the past several days, I’ve watched one or two monarch butterflies on my purple coneflowers (Echinacea purpura) and I have not had my camera handy. By the time I gathered my camera and got outside, it seems the butterflies had flown off. Or, they fly off as I slowly approach the flowerbed, not to return that day, to my knowledge.

Today, fortune was with me. I was on my way to gather a blossom to photograph in my studio and I noticed a Monarch as busy feasting on the flower’s nectar, along with many honeybees. Once more, I did not have my camera with me and, once again, I went inside to get it. On my return the butterfly was still on the flower, but flew away as I approached. I decided to wait it out by photographing the blossoms and the bees, seeing the butterfly floating around in my periphery. Well, it paid off, and the butterfly, unable to resist this large cluster of Echinacea, returned once more and gave me the opportunity to snap a few shots before taking off once more. This is one of the three images I made while it fed.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/160 sec, f/10.0, ISO 320

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“End of Day Cool Down”

“End of Day Cool Down”

“There’s a special quality to the loneliness of dusk, a melancholy more brooding even than the night’s.” 
― Ed Gorman

After a day filled with sunshine, family, volleyball, and too much food, a quick dip in the lake after the sun has set is in order. As I considered this photo of my son standing in the shallow beach waters at Sauble beach, surrounded by the incredible reflected dusk, I realized how strange it may appear to someone who did not know that the water is so shallow.

The beach is made up of long underwater dunes which reach far out into the lake. From the shore the water is very shallow and a few meters out, drops to about waist or even chest level, depending on the shape of the dune (and your height). The water then becomes quite shallow, again, as the next dune rises, say, knee deep. In the photo, my son is on the outside of the second dune, where the waters once more drop a bit deeper.

It’s also a bit of an unusual photo for me because my landscape and nature photos tend to deliberately omit people. In this case, I like the inclusion of the silhouetted form of my son, being part of the beautiful scene that spread before me, after the sun had already set. As a side note, I joined him in the water soon after this image was made, enjoying my own cool down and revelling in the beauty of dusk on Lake Huron.

iPhone 7 back camera @ 4.0mm
1/120 sec; f/1.8; ISO 32

“Purple Loosestrife” – Sauble Beach, Ontario

“Purple Loostrife” - Sauble Beach, Ontario

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” 
― Euripides

Continuing on my “purple phase” theme, here’s a beautiful invader. Though a beautiful flowering plant, in Ontario and other areas where it was introduced as a garden flower, this garden escapee soon established itself in meadows and wetlands, crowding out native plants.

It spreads through rapidly spreading rhizomes and seeds. Each plant can produce over one thousand seeds. It also has no naturally occurring predators, so it spreads uncontrolled, though something, likely earwigs or slugs, seems to be feasting on the leaves below the blossoms.

The plant was spreading like wildfire a few years ago, but recent dry and hot summers seemed, coupled with human efforts to eradicate it, seemed to be taking its toll on the population. This year, which has been extremely wet, seems to have enabled it to bounce back and I’ve seen much more of it an areas where it has not previously occurred. SO the battle goes on.

It’s a shame that such a pretty plant needs to be so aggressively invasive. But, that seems to be a common theme. Plants are introduced from overseas because they are beautiful in gardens, but once they escape, without natural controls, they can quickly take over. The dandelion is perhaps the best known example. Imported for its food value centuries ago, it has now spread to every corner of the continent. However, as evidenced in this image, local insects wildlife also adapts and soon begins to eat the introduced species. Nature is quite adaptable, but with limits.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/60 sec, f/10.0, ISO 200

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (images are available for purchase)
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