Word and Image

Insect

One that got away

I hate bugs. It doesn’t stop me from photographing them. The clouds do not form up every day for pictures just for me. It is nice when they do. And, sometimes I close my eyes. Or, I just press the shutter and hope for the best. Yeah, scientific. There are days when you press that camera shutter and you have no idea what will come in the edits. Yes, I’m laughing too. I will never admit it. Skill! But, I’m thinking horseshoes. Close! It’s enough. Oh! The green bug(?); he got away from the spider. Close call!


Dog days

90/90 – temp/humidity. Enough said. We got corn! I guess some of the bird seed germinated. Yup! A single corn stalk grows in the midst of one of the containers. Ha ha! Veggies? This is the garden harvest. It’s going to sauce. We are unable to keep up with the cherry tomato crop. The peppers? Four months of diligent watering and all I got were a handful. I have to rethink what I am planting. The flowers are fading. Bugs are all around. I like detail. It’s time to prepare for fall.


Strictly amateur

professional

1. relating to or belonging to a profession.

2. engaged in a specified activity as one’s main paid occupation rather than as a pastime.

Strictly amateur, though I might have pursued photography more seriously, it was never my day job. I chose something a bit more exclusive – brain surgery. Ha ha. Who knew? I quit surgery and am still doing photography. Hmmmm… Photography (for me) is random and unrestricted without any mandate to get “the shot.” It is (continues) a negative cash flow as I buy new camera equipment. Rewarding can be altruistic as many family members appreciate my efforts. Colleen can be (is) such a kind audience. No pressure! I am quite content to let luck be my guide. The neurosurgery department motto (my residency) was: “Better to be lucky than good.” This more or less refers to a miraculous save during surgery that transcended the basic skill of the surgeon. Of course, it helps to be both.


Hopeless

It seems a lost cause to try to limit myself to one picture and one story per day. Some days have too many – stories and pics. Sorry. How about an upside down dragonfly? ?? Really?! Yup! It flopped to the deck right in front of me with a thud. Truly! It was an act I did not realize until I did the edit. Later, it flipped and flew away. Relief!

The building – it was across the street from the restaurant – beer flight – inside on the wall was a black and white photo ala this view – for $700. Nope! I’m not kidding. Sorry, I would not pay that kind of money for that kind of shot. I have too many of my own in the discard pile. Really! Balls; ya gotta have ‘em to take that shot and price it like that.

Flight time? You can order a “flight.” This allows you to taste five beers as a sampler. Fun! Yes! Colleen loves dark beer. To me they all taste the same and are bitter. She can appreciate the nuance. I appreciate that she loves the experience. I’m still struggling to appreciate the BxW building on the wall next to me.

Still life – note the flattened peaches. I did it subtly so as not to squish out the juices. That is a large tomato for scale? – or small peaches. Watermelon in the background – I am in a watermelon eating stage right now.

The cat and sunset are throw-ins. It’s the end of the day. I keep a camera at hand all over the house. Ha ha! I have enough cameras to do this. And, sometimes you get the shot because things were there at hand and jumped onto the memory card – all by themselves. Gee, I’m lucky sometimes.


Learning curve

Hey! Look how close I got to the dragonflies. They were all over my yard. They land on a point and rest. They move away when you approach but tend to circle around and alight on the same spot. They get used to you, hence, I was able to get in close. I presume the western wildfires may be responsible for the spectacular clouds blowing in from my west. And, what else is there to add to the fact that my spiffy macro lens catches great flower details. Yes, enlarging the images in Lightroom lets me appreciate things I might never otherwise notice. (Double click the image, it will enlarge somewhat.) I’ve been at photography a long time. … and still learning.


Focus

The camera does what it will. The difference between great and ho-hum is making the camera do your bidding. Unfortunately for me, it doesn’t work out as I’d like, most of the time. Good? Bad? It’s mixed. The detail in the dragonfly eye is stunning, especially enlarged and up-close. You can see “hairs” in the flowers. But, though there be motion and blur and reflections, other images still work. For my cats, I find that sharp focus on the eyes is key. Maybe it’s not for you, but, I’m ok with the surprises I find when editing. It’s fun. I’m not shooting for money. Fun would be work. Nope. Strictly amateur, I get a free reign to shoot for the pleasure of good images amongst the lot.


Detail detail

What do you notice? Detail! Detail! DETAIL! Japanese beetles humping? Spider web. It’s tough to focus on the darn web. Hard! What do you see (lily stamens)? It’s subtle but different. And, subtle makes all the difference. There’s a fine line between oooh and aaah. Simple? Sometimes less is more. I just ended up with stuff I thought I would share. It’s just a drop of water.


Nut?

Wing nut is an insulting slang term for a person who’s considered eccentric or who has extreme political views. … It’s also called a butterfly nut (because of the “wings”) or a thumbnut (because it can be easily turned with the thumb and forefinger).

When all those around me are crazy… it must be me – who’s crazy?! Hlep! hmmm, that would be help? Place the emphasis on eccentric. Me? I should stick to photography and the beauty around in the world. (Remember, I hate bugs.) Mike didn’t want to be in this picture. For real. He has always said being on the edge of the shot makes it easy to crop him when he is dropped from the family. In this case, I am newest – last in. There are those who would certainly drop me. Interestingly, half the family got the time for dinner wrong and they are not in the shot. No, I did not try to wrangle more chaos into a coherent family picture, later. Instead, everyone ran around taking individual memories with iPhone. It works. I do what I can. No one was hungry at the end of the evening. I, too, am on the edge – documenting someone’s family, or, intruding on their fun. From the motley collection of poor black and white old photos, and, faded out of focus color shots – it is the good time that matters. Regrets about poor photography were never the point. Perhaps it is a blessing that some memories are not so clearly remembered.


Who’s it for

Nikon just released the Nikon Z fc camera. It is a brother to the Nikon Z50. Of course, I just gifted a Z50 to Jules and family – and a new model/comparable is released a few weeks later. My (bad) timing is so impeccably typical!! Alas! Drat! Double drat! Laugh – all of you out there – at me, who once again did not get the 411. But, who is this ‘retro’ style camera for? Is its appeal to the old film photographer in me? Ummm… does Nikon know that the last film I shot was in 2004. Film was gone not long after. And, soon enough, all the photographers who shot film will follow. It is comparable to making a Ford Model T for the masses. I think if Ford did not do it, Nikon is heading up a dead end too. But, then again, that’s my opinion. I laud the idea and admire the camera. Right now, I am thinking of my next new iPhone. Hmmm, do I care about the meal I’m eating or the pan in which I cooked the meal?


Camera or operator

Am I good? Or, am I good because of good equipment? Or, does the equipment make me good? And so on and on… Luck? This butterfly cooperated. This all has a lot to do with the butterfly, who held still for its close-up. My good luck! Look at the detail – eye, the hairs. Pretty nifty! Hey! I’ve done this before. It’s not my first. But, its rare enough that I appreciate it’s not a given. A lot of things come together to get to this point. Ho hum. Whip out an iPhone and shoot. Uh uh. Not by the hair of its chinny chin chin.


Red butt

Wheel bug, assassin bug, you don’t see a red assed bug in your garden very often. They are not seen much so an internet search is pretty easy. I do not think they are native around here. So, this was worth a picture. And of course, the bug refused to cooperate. A proper photo was not easy to get. The bug kept crawling under a leaf or into the shade.


Ticks and bees

I dreamt about posting/blogging. Yeah, weird. I never did that before. The old question arises. Am I shooting for the blog? Or, are my shots “worthy” photos? Technically correct, many of my images are good. But, worthy? Goofy! Goofy? My garden – I discovered a tick (looking at the flower picture) after the shoot. Ha! I thought it was a spider. Wrong! And, long gone, there is no finding that tick. Now, I have to worry about my cats. Bee? Almost, but no cigar. The focus missed by just that much. Alas. Focus!? Ah, an antique store with old cameras. Wonderful, but, they are film. Collector’s item? No, more like they are dust collectors. Covid is pretty much done. There are no rules any longer. We are half masked, or, not. Brain coral celosia? Close, but not quite, I am still working on focus and lighting. Poor Peas, the calico kitten, has her own problems. She’s cute. The older Maine coon cats are jealous? They keep jumping her! I mean pouncing, hissing, loud, mean, ambush type altercations. So, ticks, are a problem but not foremost among what I think about.


Bug

I hate bugs. Icky! I don’t mind taking pictures of bees… or, perhaps a dragonfly. Here’s an example with my spiffy macro lens. It ain’t easy. Everything is moving – subject and photographer – in 3D. There was a breeze swaying the flower. Luck and some skill is involved. No complaints. I got nice detail. Focus and detail, it all came together. This is better than before I used a macro lens. It’s still rare to get this confluence; the right place and right moment are hard to come by. Having the right tool at hand makes it easier to get the shot.


Big deal

This is the 17 year cicada brood in Ohio. They have red eyes. Oh!? They are silent when it’s cold. It was. No noise! Then, we got a nice day. It was noisy. For me, it’s background noise and hardly noticed as one would not smell a noxious odor after a few minutes. But, for others in the family, the noise remained deafening and annoying. Ok. I was happy enough for the photo-op. 17 years, I probably won’t be around for the next cycle. It’s a long long time to be dormant.


Different

What catches my eye? Something I have not seen. There’s plenty. … I have not seen. Key: Bees? They look like bees – humping. Bumble bee – flying into the foxglove. All the way in! Orange flower – it’s in my garden. The label (wazzit it called?) is long gone. Willow – yawning in the reflection. Hey! It was all in the same day. Lucky? Not really. I just have a camera at hand all the time. Some days you make your own luck.


Death wish

It’s the middle of winter, sort of. And, this was taken in summer. That’s water on the praying mantis. I had just watered the plants when I noticed him. Notice – there’s an ant crawling up his left arm. Nuts! That would be a tasty snack. Shudder….


Monarch butterfly… & bee

A monarch landed on the deck among the mint blossoms. It stayed for 780 images. Yup!! Most times they have defects in their wings – damage from flying about. So? Which images were worthy? To be sure I have monarch butterfly pictures. (And, I have a whole lot more now.) These two made the cut. One – I never get a curled proboscis. Two – my goal has been to get a bee in flight – one next to a monarch butterfly – priceless!! To be honest, the bee simply flew into my picture. It was the one and only image.


At a loss for words

Nature is cruel, survival, and all of that. Feather found a tomato worm. She worried the thing across the deck, pawing, and toying with it. She licked it – taste test. Then, she bit it and swallowed it. I was a bit shocked. Not surprised. Just amazed that her base instinct took over. Gone. Hardly a meal, a mere snack. Done.


Butterfly

It’s technically a butterfly and not a moth by the definition; I will not elaborate. I just got great detail. No complaints. It just flew into my camera view and landed on the butterfly bush. No kidding. It’s called a butterfly bush. Thank you. It works! – the bush.


This end…

Sphinx moth, tomato horn worm. I got ‘em. How? Dunno. They showed up eating a bite out of my green tomatoes. They proceeded to eat the leaves leaving bare stems. They pooped leaving droppings outside the tomato pot. Finally!!! I caught on. Duh!! First one, then another, then another… Colleen said they had to go. She’s got the farm background. Ok! They stick to the plant like glue. I fashioned chop sticks from two BBQ skewers. No luck. (They stick, remember?) The anatomy is fascinating. Fake “eye” spots. Horn! Multiple pairs of “clinging” legs in clustered pairs. The mouth end looks to have row upon row of teeth to chomp the leaves to the stem. They poop! But! They seem to poop near the head not the tail end. (Yes! That is pictured, top center.) That was interesting (too). I mistook the horn for the head and the head was so non-descript to be mistaken for the tail. Ha ha! My bad. I know my vision is fading with age… but maybe there’s something worse when you can’t tell the head from the tail.


Finally…

I’ve been trying for a “flying bee” shot. No dice. Persist. Finally! It’s not the bee I wanted to photograph. Hey! I did it! Now, what’s wrong? The wings are beating too fast to capture in the image. Ha ha! I have to use a superfast shutter speed. Nope, it’s not happenin’. Meanwhile, I shall seek to shoot a honey bee its legs loaded down with pollen…


Lucky

It’s not easy shooting moving targets. The flower and the butterfly are moving in 3D. This makes focus near impossible. Focus, composition, detail, and so on, all are critical. I was able to come away with two passable shots. It looks easy. It wasn’t. I feel fortunate that I was able to get something good.


Pollen

I’m still trying to catch a bee in flight. Someday… Meanwhile, I get my share of bees. Pollen collects on their legs. It’s fun to get a detailed shot. I have lots of good shots. Some stand out a bit more. I’m happy to share.


Bugs

I liken my flower photo expeditions to the dives I did in the Red Sea. Walk around the garden and shoot the flowers. Not fish, flowers. And then pick out the best. And sometimes I get fauna – bugs. Lady bug, bee with pollen. Neat! It’s a plus!

I don’t Photoshop. I can. I would. I don’t much. Can you get it? But, there are exceptions as on this occasion where my vision and the photo needed tweaking to match my imagination.