Wednesday, June 29, 2005
Every year we buy mantis eggs and string them to our trees. In a few weeks, we have hundreds of the cutest little predators you've ever seen.
The younger the mantis, the more jumpy they seem to be. This one finally held still enough for a few shots. Either I convinced it I wasn't going to eat it or it thought it was hidden in the blades of grass framing it in the photo.
Here's the Roxbourough Assassin Bug. A little more colorful than my first entry. I saw this fellow while looking at a spittle bug, later another Assassin Bug landed on my shirt. Sometimes I feel like the bug whisperer.
Tuesday, June 28, 2005
This is the bug match to Kousik's colorful beauty The Colorado version hides well in green leaves, but doesn't compare for the striking coloration of the Bangalore bug. If you look at the larger version of this picture, you can see the green cousin does have horn-like epaulets -- that's kinda cool. :)
My boys and I went to Chatfield Resevoir, a state park not far from home. With a little mosquito repellant, this is a great time to visit. Everything is buzzing or blooming.
These mating damsel flies let me get close, but only after a few attempts and very slow approaches. When you are hunting you need to be downwind, with photographing insects you need to be "downlight", that is don't let your shadow fall on your subject even during setup. Insects frequently panic and flee if a shadow falls on them. Some insects move in predictable ways that you can take advantage of. Damsel flies, for instance, like to return to the same twig again and again.
Make sure to explore the rest of the site too, it'll be worth your time.
Sunday, June 26, 2005
My boys and I went to Eldorado Canyon State Park today. This longhorn beetle may be a Pine Sawyer Longhorn. It seems to be the closest match of the images I found. This was taken with the Fujifilm S5000, Raynox M250, 1/400s, f/4.5, focal length 12mm, ISO 160.
Saturday, June 25, 2005
In the backyard, experimenting with close-up filters 4,2, and 1. The strangest thing about the filters verses the macro lens (which adds 8.9X magnification), is the strange way the background moves around when I zoom in and out. I almost feel like I'm in a 3-D movie.
- Colorado Spider Survey -- The Denver Museum of Nature and Science is collecting spider specimens to document spiders' distribution and diversity in Colorado. The only downside is that to participate you need to kill the spiders you collect. I like the spiders too much to kill them, so I'll photograph.
- What's That Bug? -- I'm not sure if there's anything more that I need to add, except that there are lots of pictures of all qualities and trivia bits.
- The Tree of Life Web Project -- Amazing to see how everything is connected.
- BugBios: Shameless Promotion of Insect Appreciation -- Beautiful.
- Gabe Beasley has a blog that demonstrates a love for both arthropods and home made optics
So, that should get ya'll started. :)
Friday, June 24, 2005
Thursday, June 23, 2005
Wednesday, June 22, 2005
I didn't expect to photograph more water drops, but this bent blade of grass caught my eye. Sort of a Green St.Andrew's Cross. 1/640, f 6.3, 19mm, FujiFilm S5000. I think I was using my macro filters on this shot, but that was this morning and now it's evening. :)
Tuesday, June 21, 2005
While photographing what I thought was just a pretty fly, I found one more reason to like it. Look at the abandon with which it eats this aphid! It's almost as good as watching a garter snake eat a slug.
Beyond the happy discovery, this is another photo that I thought had too much blur. But the more I looked at it, the more I liked the artsy blur contrasted with the texture visible on the eye, and Kousik says to make eye contact.
I was thinking about how limitations can strengthen a piece of work. This was taken using a magnifying glass seperate from the camera -- I didn't have a macro lens then. I was very frustrated that I could only get so close using the macro function on my FujiFilm S5000.
So I started using different magnifying glasses. My boys and I spend a lot of time collecting bugs, spiders, pretty rocks, etc. I filched a couple of their little plastic magnifying lenses and used them when I found this black widow. While we relocated her from our backyard to a nearby open space, I took a few pictures.
I really like the prism effect and how the colors come together right at the spider. Anyway, maybe it's not necessarily bad to be a little primative.
Monday, June 20, 2005
Despite the name, we actually spend most of our time with the spiders, preying mantises, stick insects and bees. My youngest used to be afraid of butterflies, so we became used to spending our time holding the Chilean Rosy-Haired Tarantula. We even ended up adopting a spiderling who is still pretty tiny for a tarantula. The only downside of the non-butterflies, is that most are behind glass. I need a polarizing filter!
Today, I made them hang out in the greenhouse that's home to hundreds of butterflies. Photocontest. Given the rules of the contest, I'm going to hold on to my butterfly pictures until I've made my submission choices. Then I'll bring up the others. For now, here's some of the other creatures.
Sunday, June 19, 2005
I planted wooly thyme the first summer we lived in our house. I mistakenly thought the rabbits had eaten it all up. I was searching for mother wolf spiders and had a nice surprise to find a patch growing under a butterfly bush. FujiFilm S5000, Raynox M-250, 1/400s, 41mm, f/5.6, ISO 160.