Selected Pics
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Wednesday, June 29, 2005

A hover fly larva eating an aphid. The main redeeming feature of this photo is the imagined comic-style word bubble coming from the limbs-akimbo-aphid, "AAAAaaaaaaarghhhhh!" Posted by Hello

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. Posted by Hello

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.

This is my first entry going from Fujifilm's Raw format, then to tif (via IrfanView 3.97). One downside, my shutter speed and aperature aren't recorded like in the jpeg format.  Posted by Hello

Hogbacks at Roxborough Colorado State Park -- if you look close you'll see all the bugs. In case you're having problems seeing them, I'll print larger versions in upcoming posts. Posted by Hello

Roxborough Park

Well, today I dragged the kids to another State Park, Roxborough. It's about 10 minutes' drive from home and absolutely gorgeous. I'm going through the photos and identifying flowers and bugs and managed to id an old post. More pictures and responses to follow.

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. :) Posted by Hello

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. Posted by Hello

I'm the Monday Photoblogger

Rene Gonzalez asked me to be the Monday Photoblogger on the Blog "Welcome to the Insect World". Very cool. If it's not Monday and you still want to see (or some of the other invited photobloggers), just click here or navigate through the Invited Photobloggers link on the sidebar.

Make sure to explore the rest of the site too, it'll be worth your time.

Thanks Rene!

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. Posted by Hello

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. Posted by Hello

Spiders, bugs, insects and links

I thought I'd put up a few links that I like visiting (and then link to this post in my links) when I'm trying to find out what I've just photographed. Kousik kindly suggested there might be some interest. I hope so. Maybe some interesting photos will get past the shudder-response many people have with respect to insects and spiders.

  • 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

We found a few of these bugs on Monday, but due to small children screaming, we couldn't stop. Today this was my first stop. He's resting on some wild grass. Posted by Hello

When I'm photographing, sometimes I forget just how small these little bugs are. Here's my feature bug hanging out on my finger. Posted by Hello

Thursday, June 23, 2005

I liked the way the flowers changed from yellow to dark orange. The bee was hoping I'd get my nose out of the way soon. FujifilmS5000, focal length 17mm, 1/450s, f/3.2, ISO 160. Posted by Hello

Here's f/7. I found out why I'd never done f/11 or f/16 -- my camera stops at f/8! RTFM a few times over, I guess. :)  Posted by Hello

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. :) Posted by Hello

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.
Posted by Hello

I don't know the real name of this fly, so I've nicknamed it the Peacock Fly. I usually strive for sharp ... but something about this one really grabbed my attention. Posted by Hello

Pretty little fly. They are in contant movement around my rosebush. We also had gusty wind again today. Talk about a tough photo to get. But they're shiny and I'm stubborn, so here are some pictures.  Posted by Hello

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.

Posted by Hello

Monday, June 20, 2005

Butterfly Pavillion

Given our love of bugs, it won't be too surprising that we're members of the Butterfly Pavillion in Westminster, Colorado. This place is great and expanding all the time. There aren't very many insect zoos in the country, this was "the first stand alone, non-profit insect zoo in the country."

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.

Found this little fellow while on the nature walk at the Butterfly Pavillion. I love the beads of yellow pollen smeared around its mouth. 1/850s, f/7.0, 51mm, ISO 160. Posted by Hello

Lots of very friendly damsel flies on the (underconstruction) nature walk at the Butterfly Pavillion. Fujifilm S5000, Raynox M250, 1/550s, f/5.6, 19mm, 160 ISO. Posted by Hello

This is one of the cellar spiders on exhibit at the Butterfly Pavillion. It appears to be babysitting an egg sac. The colors remind me of wedding lace. Fujifilm S5000, Raynox M250, 1/18s, f/3.2, 14mm. Posted by Hello

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. Posted by Hello

Drops on a spider web as the lens for the grass and straw beneath. 1/500s, 41 mm, f/7.0, ISO 200. Posted by Hello

A blade through an oddly shaped drop. 1/600s, f/7.0, 28mm, ISO 160. Posted by Hello

These drops are suspended in the funnel-like web of one of our garden spiders. The old grass clippings are in focus through the lens of the drops. 1/680s, 35mm, f/7.0, ISO 160. Posted by Hello

Happy Father's Day!

This is a spider seen through a very small drop of water on its web. FujiFilm S5000,1/170s, 57mm, f/8.0, ISO 200. Posted by Hello