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Monthly Archives: August 2010

“Fly Girl” (Crane Fly, Female) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/10, 1/125s, ISO 640

Fooled you! It only looks like a giant mosquito! ūüôā

Turns out it is a female Crane Fly – totally harmless. They don’t even bite!¬†(And, coming off my recent yellow-jacket-sting-to-the-palm, trust me, that is very good thing!)

I came upon her while trying to fish a live frog out of the pool (I wasn’t successful as the wily amphibian kept diving to the depths to elude my net) and came eye-to-eye with the largest fly¬†I’d ever seen.

Truth be told, at the time¬†I had no idea what¬†mystery beast was staring back at me. No matter.¬†As far as I’m concerned, ‘Shoot first, research later’ is a fine motto to photograph by.

I just thought it was just so darn cool. I mean, seriously, just look at those fabulous iridescent wings!

“She’s so Fly” (Crane Fly, Female) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/10, 1/80s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Flash, -0.7EV

I¬†guess someone has to give all¬†those pretty butterflies and moths¬†a run for their money! ūüôā


This is our second day of needed rainfall and as the ground squished under my shoes, I made my way around the garden performing the usual morning tasks of filling the feeders and checking on all the plants.  

No watering can required. ūüôā¬†¬†

A green lacewing¬†fluttered by me, struggling¬†to fly in the gusting winds, landing ultimately on the wooden¬†trellis at the grey shed. With their delicate transparent wings, a bright spring-green torso, reddish face¬†and large eyes, lacewings are not only¬†quite the interesting-looking insect¬†but¬†also a welcome friend in my garden since their larvae devour a variety of pests! As I’ve yet to photograph one, I went back inside to grab my camera but, unfortunately, by the time I returned, the lacewing had fled the scene. Shoot!¬†

Well, now that I had my camera, I traipsed around the sodden landscape seeking out another worthy subject. Hmmmm, what will it be?

"Belle" (Clematis viticella 'Betty Corning') Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/5.6, 1/160s, -1.7EV, ISO 1000, Silver Efex Pro Filter w/Selective Toning

A solitary Clematis viticella blossom drenched with raindrops was¬†just begging to be noticed! I love the¬†violet color,¬†bell shape and those delicate,¬†frilly edges. Surprisingly, not much was done in post except for some¬†selective color removal along with dodging¬†to highlight the bloom’s texture and edge details.¬†¬†

So, as much as I would have liked¬†a go at the lacewing,¬†I’m inclined to think¬†this was the shot that was meant to be. ūüôā¬†¬†

This post is actually a few days late, but for good reason. I was out shooting more of my newly acquired¬†annuals when¬†I spotted¬†a bumble¬†bee¬†just dangling¬†from one of the Calibrachoa flowers.¬†The day was partly cloudy and this had actually been the third¬†bee I’d seen behaving rather sluggishly. I was quite pleased with my good fortune as I composed my shot, already creating the resulting post in my head which would be entitled “The Secret Life of Bees“.¬†¬†¬†

I never got to the post that night and the next day came and went as there were too many other things on my ‘To-Do’ list. So, I planned the post for Friday, never once thinking it would be ironically derailed.

“Quasimodo” (Golden Northern Bumble Bee with Calibrachoa Blossom) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/40s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Balanced Fill Flash, -1.0EV

I find bees completely fascinating and have never been afraid.¬†As far as I am concerned, these¬†guys are little miracle workers as they are absolutely necessary for propagating the flowers I so love to photograph! I’ve never been stung, which is quite remarkable as I spend most of my time outdoors in their domain. Hubby, on the other hand, isn’t quite so lucky and has already been stung twice this summer.¬†

We actually¬†discussed this very topic earlier in the day as I was rescuing¬†(yet another) bee from drowning in the pool and happily watched it fly away to pollinate once again. I¬†even said something like, “See? That is how it is done“,¬† referring sarcastically to his latest encounter where¬†in the course of rescuing¬†a drowning bee¬†he managed to flip it back onto the float he was laying on where it promptly¬†turned on him and stung him in the calf. (I chalked it up to bad karma on his part). ūüėȬ†

Okay, returning to Friday. We had just returned from the doctor since I’d been suffering from a blocked right ear for¬†about a week and decided it wasn’t going to go away on its own. The doc prescribed Flonase and amoxicillin and as we were out grilling our evening’s dinner, hubby decided that¬†I could use a hug since I was “broken”.¬†¬†

Folks, I never¬†saw it coming. Unbeknownst to moi, a Yellow Jacket was laying in wait¬†on the back of hubby’s t-shirt where¬†my right hand would ultimately land. What should have been a moment of comfort immediately¬†turned into a scream of burning pain as the stinger embedded itself deep into my palm.¬†(They say karma’s a bitch, right?) We promptly removed the stinger but my hand swelled and¬†felt like someone was hammering a stake into it unless I kept it constantly encased in ice. I couldn’t believe that one small sting was causing so much pain!

It took about¬†a day and a half for things to completely subside and for me to regain full, pain-free function of my hand (I’m right-handed so it has¬†been an¬†interesting couple of days to say the least). I’m glad to say I’m back¬†but have alot of catching up to do!¬†

Despite my ordeal, I’m still not afraid of bees as technically,¬†a Yellow Jacket is a wasp.¬†But, at least for the time being, hubby now¬†gets a once over before administering any future hugs. ūüôā

Noooo, not that cosmos silly, the flower! ūüôā¬†

This is great time of year to shop your local nurseries for flowers and plants to reinvigorate a waning landscape. With the lack of rain in my area, many of my annual containers have seen better days. So, off to the nursery I went.

"Pink Infinity" (Cosmos 'Sonata Mix') Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/5, 1/60s, ISO 640

I was thrilled to see the large S A L E sign in bold red letters and to learn it meant all annual plants were on clearance! I picked up an ENORMOUS pot of Cosmos ‘Sonata Mix’ (a lovely collection of daisy-like blooms on 24″ high stems in shades of pink and white) for the low, low price of $5.00. Needless to say, it immediately went into my wagon along with several other pots of annuals,¬†a couple of late-blooming perennials¬†and a simply gorgeous trumpet vine.¬†¬†

"Edge of the Cosmos" (Cosmos 'Sonata Mix') Nikon D300, 105mm, F/5, 1/50s, ISO 640

The injection of the new plants not only added needed pops of color to the garden but also sparked my desire to once again, pick up my camera and shoot. 

"Center of the Cosmos" (Cosmos 'Sonata Mix') Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/5, 1/160s, ISO 640

And that, my friends, could be the best bargain of all. ūüôā

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