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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! ūüôā

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! ūüėÄ

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! ūüôā

“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! ūüėÄ

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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? ūüėČ

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. 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

The bumble bees certainly like Autumn Joy Sedum!¬†I couldn’t decide which photo I liked best so, today, you get two!

In the first image, I love how the bee’s¬†wings seem to be both translucent andiridescent as they catch the morning light.

“Iridescent Bumble” (Bumble Bee on Autumn Joy Sedum) Nikon D300, 105mm macro, F6.3, 1/800s, ISO 400

In the second image, I lovehow the bee appears to be covered in soft, luxurious fur Рlooking more mammal-like than insect.

“Autum Joy Bumble” (Bumble Bee on Autumn Joy Sedum) Nikon D300, 105mm macro, F/13, 1/200s, ISO 400

¬†Either way, two great bumble shots! ūüôā

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