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Category Archives: Insects

Last friday, I took a break from photographing summer flowers to plant a newly acquired pot of Shasta Daisies. Heading off to the shed, I plopped the pot down onto the grass so I could grab my gardening gloves and, of course, a shovel.

When I returned just a few seconds later, the most unusual flying insect was already feasting on the luscious, sunny-side up blooms. As I was about to swat it away, I caught a glimpse of its cartoon-ish looking ‘eyes’ and knew instantly, a primo photo-op was literally, staring me in the face! 😉

“Hungry Eyes” (Thread-waisted Wasp on Shasta Daisy ‘Becky’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/6.3, 1/400s, ISO 160

Getting the right angle to capture that adorable mug proved trickier than I’d thought (and the wasp was way more interested in eating than posing for the camera) but in the end, I got the shot and, a happy addition to my garden! 🙂

“Soul Patch” (Bearded Iris) Nikon D300, 420mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/8, 1/100s, -0.3EV, ISO 640

One of the perks of having a garden is the opportunity to share plants with other gardeners. Many perennials benefit from being “split” and it is a great way to achieve a diverse landscape that is also, rich in history.

Prime example – the bearded irises shown here came from my good friend and next-door neighbor, Nancy, and have a 100+ year-old lineage! Imagine that! 🙂

Here’s the story as told to me by Nancy:

“They were in my mother’s grandmother’s yard and were transplanted to my aunt’s (my mother’s sister) yard in Hanson, Massachusetts. She shared them with me twenty-five years ago when she moved to Florida. I planted them in my mother-in-law’s garden in Beverly Farms and then moved them to this house in 1988. Whew! Since then I’ve shared them with many people who love irises”.

“Drawn” (Bearded Iris with Hoverfly) Nikon D300, 550mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x Teleconverter), F/11, 1/50s, ISO 640, Slightly Cropped

Aren’t I a lucky, lucky girl?And so are all of you since now you get to enjoy them as well! 🙂

I hope to split and pass some of these “heirloom” rhizomes onto some other lucky gardener(s) one day. Just the thought of them growing and blooming long after I’m gone is somehow comforting to me. My link in the “proverbial” chain of life, so to speak, albeit a teeny-tiny one.

Aside from irises, other transplant “gifts” I’ve received (as well as given) include: rhubarb, daylily, peony, hosta, azalea,  rhododendron, monkshood, balloon flower, rudbeckia and butterfly bush. I’m sure there are more but this is all I could think of! 🙂

I don’t typically post a yearly wrap-up but, Scott Thomas’ latest photo assignment, “Best Photos of 2011” had me looking back today. Hmmmm, was a pretty lean year for posting… I must do better in 2012! 🙂

To make it easier, I approached this task with the desire to select the best photo for each month starting with November 2010 through October 2011. Three months proved more difficult and I allowed myself to select more than one image.

Here we go! 😀

Back in November 2010, fresh from a trip to Disney, I had posted a series of photos from Hollywood Studios. The giant scrabble board complete with green army man was my favorite:

“You’ve Got a Friend in Me” (Oversized Scrabble Board with Green Army Man, Pixar Place, Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 34mm, F/5.6, 1/125s, ISO 200, ‘Poster Edges’ CS3 Photo Filter

In late December, we were hit with the first of many Nor’easters. Even so, the abundance of heavy, wet snow couldn’t put a damper on our holiday spirit!

Frosty

“Frosty” (Snow-covered Holiday Wreath) Nikon D300, 82mm, F/5, 1/60s, +0.7EV, IS0 200

I couldn’t pick a favorite from January. Both images hail from our October Disney trip since by then, I simply had HAD it with winter! (Molten Mickey post is here).

“Coquettish” (Lesser Flamingo, Disney’s Animal Kingdom) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro Bi-color Filter

“Molten Mickey” (Turn-style Gates at Disney’s Hollywood Studios) Nikon D300, 52mm, F/7.1, 1/200s, ISO 250, Nik Color Efex Pro Detail Stylizer & Bi-Color Filters

February brought some fun with my 105mm macro lens and 3-ring extension tube set. I wanted to see just how ‘up close and personal’ I could really get!

“Missing You” (Dianthus Stamen & Petals) Nikon D300, 105mm F/2.8G Macro w/3-ring Extension Tube Set, F/11, 1/30s, -1.0EV, ISO 640

The macro fun continued well into March

“C is for Carousel” (Stargazer Lily Stamens, Lilium Oriental Stargazer) Nikon D30, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/8s, ISO 1000

After a visit to the doctor in February got me back into a fitness routine, I was in serious need of motivation to ‘stick with it’. I found exactly that in April! 🙂

“Motivation” (Marc Jacobs Swimsuit) Nikon D300, 36mm, F/4.2, 1/20s, ISO 640

Critters are often featured in my photos and this adorable little chipmunk stole my heart in May:

“Home is Where you Make it” (Eastern Chipmunk in Birdhouse) Nikon D300, 200mm, F/5.6, 1/200s, ISO 640, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash, -1.0 EV

June turned out to be all about flowers. I couldn’t decide between these three beauties:

“Yamaboushi” (White Kousa Dogwood, Cornus kousa) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/200s, ISO 320, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, +1.0 EV

“Love” (Dicentra spectabilis, Pink Bleeding Heart) Nikon D300, 260mm, F/5, 1/640s, -1.0EV, ISO 200

“Hope” (Pink Herbaceous Peony) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4.5, 1/320s, -0.3EV, Built-in Front Curtain i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

As a die-hard foodie, I love to cook and sometimes, I actually remember to take a photograph of my creations! We chomped on these delights all throughout July:

“Summer Cubed” (Watermelon, Mozzerella & Procuitto Bites) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G Macro, F/4.5, 1/30s, ISO 1000, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser

Feeling very proud of myself for not only sticking to my fitness committment but also exceeding my expectations despite breaking my left foot, I decided to show off the results of my hard work in August!

“Good Form’ (Female Fitness Portrait) Nikon D300, 28mm, F/4.5, 1/10s, ISO 640, Built-in i-TTL Fill Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV, Nik Silver Efex Pro ‘Silhouette II’ Filter

Another entry for August… when I wasn’t sweating on the elliptical, I made sure to enjoy the summer sunshine and was rewarded with a unique photo of a bee in flight:

“Flight of the Bee” (Carpenter Bee in Flight) Nikon D300, 280mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 640

I got all ‘artsy’ in September with a series of cucumber tendrills…

“Undulation” (Abstract Cucumber Tendrils) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4, 1/320s, -1.0EV, Built-in i-TTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

…and finally was able to say a proper Au voir to summer in October.

“And the Sun Sets on Summer” (Rudbeckia ‘Gloriosa’ aka Black-eyed Susan) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/7.1, 1/125s, ISO 400, Nik Color Efex Pro ‘Photo Stylizer’ Filter

So, that’s it folks…a small photographic slice of 2010.

Yes, it was a VERY good year! 😀

There are many trees, shrubs and perennials planted in my garden specifically to attract birds and insects. However, none deliver better than the butterfly bushes! It seems now that they are in full bloom, the winged creatures simply cannot help themselves.

“Lapis Eye” (Male Eastern Tiger Swallowtail at Butterfly Bush ‘Potter’s Purple’) Nikon D300, 500mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/6.3, 1/160s, ISO 640

Snapping many, many images over the course of a few days, I realized I am sadly out of practice. It is amazing how quickly one’s camera skills can get rusty… I guess I’ve been living up to the ‘lazy days’ of summer, huh? 😉

Plus, many of the butterflies that visited had damaged wings, which made getting a good image all the more tricky.

“Wings Wide” (Eastern Tiger Swallowtail) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/6.3, 1/200s, -0.3EV, ISO 400, Built-in iTTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

I am always fascinated by the hummingbird moths that stop by for a drink.

“Hum-vee” (Snowberry Clearwing Moth at Butterfly Bush ‘Nanho Petite Indigo’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/4.5, 1/500s, ISO 1600

Just like hummingbirds, these guys are extremely quick and fly so sporadically it can make your head spin!

“Bokeh Hum” (Clearwing Hummingbird Moth at Butterfly Bush ‘Potter’s Purple’) Nikon D300, VR 105mm F/2.8G, F/7.1, 1/320s, -0.3EV, ISO 640, Built-in iTTL Flash w/Gary Fong ‘Puffer’ Diffuser, -1.3EV

Of course, then there are the bees. As I was watching for butterflies, I noticed this one carpenter bee ‘hovering’ in mid-air, waiting for other bees to leave the particular blossom he seemed to be keying in on. 

“Flight of the Bee” (Carpenter Bee in Flight) Nikon D300, 280mm (VR 200-400mm F/4G w/1.4x teleconverter), F/5.6, 1/640s, ISO 640

I did my best to maneuver the huge lens to get a fix on him but only got a single ‘not-so-in-focus’ shot off. Still, I never really thought I’d ever catch a bee in flight so for me, this is pretty darn cool.

Activity at the butterfly bushes will be going strong for quite awhile so I’m sure I’ll get more opportunities to practice. Until then, you can find me at the pool. 🙂

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