Wednesday, August 31, 2005
My photos as they appear 'straight from the camera' are about 20"x30" so unless I had to do massive cropping (which is generally the exception since I've had a little practice). Until I have earned enough to get a pro gallery at shutterfly, I have to do this manually, so this is my plan:
Then once I have an order, I calculate in shipping and handling and report back to you the cost. When I receive a pay pal payment (they just ask you for the email address of the person you want to send money to), I then make the order with Shutterfly (I really love their quality and promptness) and have it delivered to your address (I can cc their confirmation email as well).
If you're curious about the profit margin, you can check out the normal prices Shutterfly charges when not selling in bulk or pre-pay. :)
Monday, August 29, 2005
Rowan found these owl butterfly eggs in the Pavilion. This is the only species they breed on site. All other chrysalises are imported and they don't have caterpillar host plants in the green house.
This photgraph also won an Honorable Mention in the Lifecycle catagory of the Butterfly Pavilion's 2005 Photo Contest. I have to admit that I made my final choice based upon the early entries that were posted on the walls of the entry hall. I didn't see any egg photos, so I figured this had a chance to be noticed.
This photo won an Honorable Mention in the Butterfly Pavilion 2005 Photo Contest. It's a wild butterfly from Mueller State Park. I couldn't find a match I was entirely happy with, but the Greenish Blue (Plebeius saepiolus) was similar.
I think this was the Pavilion's first photo contest because there were some interesting submission choices I made based on their rules. First, they only allowed two submissions. Aaagh! I took hundreds of photos and about 60 made my personal 'semi-final' folder. I made the suggestion that they allow more submissions but make them self- limiting by asking for a nominal couple dollar donation per photo. Second, they had three catagories: lifecycle, behavior, and interactions with people. Since I could only submit two, I avoided choosing my two best, rather I chose my two best that fell in different catagories. I didn't want my submissions to compete with each other. Lastly, I knew they were looking for something to put in a calendar, but I didn't know exactly what the judge's personal sensibilities were. I had some interesting photos of clearwings, but I thought they might be disqualified if the judge didn't know they were moths. I knew there were going to be tons of in-the-pavilion photos but I thought I might have an edge if I submitted a 'wild' shot. And lastly, I chose my second photo based on the fact that there were no other photos of this stage in the lifecycle. More on that later.
Sunday, August 28, 2005
Until I have a Pro Gallery, I can make prints individually as requested and send them out directly from Shutterfly. So, if you know of a print you want or would like to see on a mug, poster, apron, wall clock, etc, just drop me a line. I'm very flexible in my newbie-ness and glad to take requests.
And I hear you asking, "What will you do with all the hundreds of pennies you expect to receive?" Well, our current expenses include preschool, grad school, and adoption expenses.
Friday, August 26, 2005
These insects are so cooperative with the camera, it's easy to start muttering direction to them like you might with a human subject. "Head a little up, that's it. Turn a little. Raise your left arm slightly. Okay, hold that."
When I came home I had a message on my answering machine, both my submissions for the Butterfly Pavilion had received notable submission awards and will appear in their annual calendar (along with 12 other photographs). Neat-o!
Thursday, August 25, 2005
Tuesday, August 23, 2005
When I start to take phographs of yellow jackets, I think I must be feeling something very similar to what paparazzi feel when they try to get a pic of Sean Penn. I think I can honestly say that these are the only insects that seem to get angry when they have a camera pointed at them.
Monday, August 22, 2005
Saturday, August 20, 2005
This mother wolf spider has an older group than the previous (or next if you're reading them out of order) wolf spider mother. The spiderlings here have darker coloration and some were leaving the safety of mom as I watched. I took this about 6 days ago, but didn't quite manage to get it uploaded.
I wonder how many mothers get up in the morning, make coffee, catch flies for the spiders, slugs for the garter snakes, shoot the cats (they receive insulin twice a day), feed the kids and then get them ready for school. It's been a really busy week.
I've been dying to photoblog but everything else has come up. We had our first visit from the social worker for our adoption dossier and started in earnest gathering our paperwork. It's an amazingly complicated process. It was also the boys' first week of school. That's a complicated process too -- but at least it settles down after a week!
This first weekend of the school year saw all the kids on the block (about 12) gathering for tea parties, snake petting groups, toy exchanges and scooter races. It was pretty chaotic, but relatively friendly. Tyler, a second grader who lives two houses down, came slug hunting with me in the afternoon and we found a ton of bugs, this little hairstreak among them. Since it was overcast and windy, she was content to stay put while I ran and got my camera and I came back to take a dozen pictures. I belive she is a Gray Hairstreak.
Nephila clavipes is a big spider. This one wasn't though, probably about half the adult size. Their webs can be 2 meters in diameter in their native habitat, southeastern USA. They're also the lab rats of many a scientific spider silk study, which explains how I got a picture.
I went up to Laramie, Wyoming the University of Wyoming's Molecular Biology Lab. This is the place where they have sequenced tons of spider silk genes. I met with Shane Nelson a graduate student there in the hopes that we could work together for some project -- perhaps investigating the structure of the silk molecules.
Sunday, August 14, 2005
This violet-colored clematis has such neat detail close up. I thought the color if not the species qualified as "Violet." I generally try to use a photo that was made within a day or so, but this one is from the end of June -- it just immediately came to mind when I saw the theme.
Saturday, August 13, 2005
This is a damselfly larva. You can tell from the shape of it's head (and the fact that it's in the water) that it's a member of Odonata. The three feathery gills coming out like tails from the abdomen tell you it's a damsel rather than a dragon. I was amazed to find out just how long the nymph stage lasts -- it can be years! More fun trivia about this family can be found here.
Thursday, August 11, 2005
Wednesday, August 10, 2005
This little brown mantid was in the grass. At first I thought it was a stick insect, but then it was moving way too fast. I didn't expect to see brown mantid since all the ones I've seen so far have been green -- with the exception of the color of the hatchlings. This brown was almost identical in size to the green pictured two posts earlier.
Tuesday, August 09, 2005
I find out about a photography contest, low stress and amateurs only. Good luck! I find it's restricted to photos of butterflies, which I haven't had that much success photographing. Bad Luck. I give myself a day in the butterfly conservatory and come out with some okay shots for a first try, learn a lot -- another practice session and I'll have a photo worth submitting. Good Luck! The conservatory is closed for 5 weeks due to wind damage. Bad luck. I panic and start seeking wild butterflies. I actually start to catch some on film; a few more tries and maybe I'll get some on film that are recognizable as butterflies. Good Luck. My yard is being taking over by an invasive, aggressive bush a neighbor planted in her yard. Bad luck. It turns out the invasive weed is a Chinese lilac that attracts butterflies like catnip attracts cats. Good Luck.
As Jon J Muth paraphrased in Zen Shorts, "You never can tell."
The contest and the 'bad luck' of the wind damage, really taught me tons about butterflies and moths. Shooting in the conservatory now feels like using training wheels in terms of technique and identification. In the wilds of our state parks and my backyard, I realized just how many butterflies and moths there are around here. I never noticed and I don't know how I ever missed them. The USGS has a fabulous site for identifying and learning about the local North American fauna -- which I never would have used had it not been for my goal of taking a good butterfly picture. I guess that's why I like PhotoFriday, Macroday, and other themed contests. I learn a lot.
With all this talk about butterflies, don't think I've gone soft. Arachnids are still the coolest; mantids a close second.
Sannakji, here's another of your favorites. I found this young mantid in our grass, probably one of the survivors from our spring hatching. It had lovely red and pink markings and no show of wing development yet. This one was far more skittish than the one I found last week, but then it was also not even as long as my pinkie finger.
Monday, August 08, 2005
This little crab spider had interesting markings. It's on the petal of a cosmos petal. It's similar to the little male I posted a few weeks ago. This one is about the same size and appears to be female.
On a totally different subject, is anyone else just dying to see V for Vendetta? It seemed very timely when I read it in college in the late 80's, now it's just frighteningly accurate. Just substitute airplane attacks for nukes and our response has been about the same. Shudder shudder.
Sunday, August 07, 2005
One more week of summer vacation for my boys and two more for me. I'm hoping to get up to Laramie, Wyoming during the week of the 15th to visit the labs where they study the properties of spider silk. Dr. Randy Lewis, a molecular biologist, heads the group sequencing the DNA and working on ways to spin spider silk for commercial uses.
The end of school is in sight even though these last two classes are reputed to be very tough. This also means I'm starting the job search, but I'm having difficulty finding companies wanting to hire a mathematician interested in biomimetic applications. Some companies list my skills but then say they want an engineer or biologist and I need to convince them a mathematician can fit the bill.
On the 20th of August, we hear the results of the photo competition for the Butterfly Pavilion. The other competition that I entered, the Eldorado State Park Photo Competition, is open for public voting and results will be released September 30th. These are my first entries into any photo contest. I'm a little nervous.
Another bit of news, a story I wrote about ten years ago (it sure doesn't seem that long ago) was selected for a "Best of" anthology. "One in the A.M." will be printed in the Best of Borderlands. Check it out at Borderlands Press in the "Coming Soon" area and order many copies! The synopsis of the anthology at the web site:
Best of Borderlands (Volumes 1 - 5)
Elizabeth Monteleone has selected the most memorable and
representative fiction form the first five volumes of the
greatest award-winning anthology series of all time.
Available in an affordable trade paperback edition that
will be a must-have for all readers of ground-breaking
fiction in the genres of horror, dark fantasy, and suspense.
The beginning of September, I'll be setting up a Pro Gallery in Shutterfly to sell prints. I'll keep everyone posted as this develops.