Life is in fast forward these days. There’s no let up soon. We returned from Maine and flew to California. Day trips. Thanksgiving at our house. Ohio a couple of trips. We are on the go. In between there is a lot of fleece to wash, card, and spin. No boredom around here. Looking back at the first part, maybe that was the slow part?
Family, kids, nature, cats… repeat.
I cruise the garden for photo ops. I sit and photo the dawn and dusk out my window. I get a gallery’s worth of pics. My cats are not exactly cooperative. The key is to focus on their eyes. They won’t look at me. Boring. Me?! Ha ha! Bugs come and go. They fly in and I shoot. Water? It rains and I water. It’s another opportunity. Life is pretty peaceful right now. I hope it stays that way.
The good pictures “pop!” Pop? Well, they stand out. I take lots of technically sound images. The ones that stand out for me? I have no particular criteria. Like it or not. It just stands apart from the other choices. Notable! Noteworthy! And then forgotten. Not forgot but just moved to the back; there are more better images coming all the time. TMI. Who can keep up in today’s digital world? Indeed, I feel overwhelmed. Whereas I shot parsimoniously in slide film, digital is a free-for-all. It is nothing to pass thru my garden and have several hundred good images of the blossoms each day. Oh well, bugs and cats, that is my world today. Tomorrow another subject will catch my eye.
Survival of the fittest, they called it on the nature programs of my youth. This was the euphemism used in the program after particularly gruesome kills in the wild. I got a “bug” cat, Nutley. He stalks, hunts, and catches. Ah, a butterfly, he bit off its wings without killing it. He pawed and soon lost curiosity. The thrill of the chase appealed to him, but, Nutley had no appetite for bugs. Tillie soon saw and was curious without any hunger. Finally, Spice – capture, kill, and eat. Her sister was curious but bore no appetite. Yeah, I watched it play out in real time. No bug for me. The cats hunt. I do not.
It’s always rhetorical. Which of your kids is your favorite? Favorite cat? Answer: You love them all. Equally? Answer: You smile. Favorite time? Favorite place? Favorite picture? In the moment, I like/love everything. Wrong! You love your wife, elsewise, you will not live to take another picture. Ha ha.
I’m just randomly flipping thru the catalog today. Monhegan Island. Just like that, I could recognize and recall the meal, restaurant, and setting. How? Memory is a funny thing. Pictures are my trigger to open up the past for me. Otherwise I have monarch butterflies scattered liberally in my catalog. Good luck finding a pic easily amongst the lot. Ditto, sunset. Sheep? Yup, I do not recall any particular sheep. This is all a random draw.
Cats? It’s still raw to recall Ray, whom we recently lost. Colleen will say we have favorites. Less favorite? … to which I say, I love them all. Need I say, she is my favorite wife?
We returned to the scene. Ordinarily, there are no second chances. The last visit was only days ago. Colleen. It was her call. I’m glad we did – return again. I was always told a bright sunny day was less than ideal for photographing. Who knows? I love the bright white contrasting against the autumn sky. Give me a few clouds. And, the monarch butterflies were out, just for me. It seems everyone else was ignoring them for the lighthouse. I worked the scene and had a grand time. It was all Colleen’s idea. She’s a genius.
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?
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.
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.
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.
Sometimes I see something again for the first time. It’s like looking but not seeing. It would be akin to not listening when Colleen is speaking. I like to pride myself on being able to parrot the last ten words she said to me in order to prove that I was paying attention (not). I usually fail to convince her. I wonder why? But, here, I am seeing the spots on the wing as though they were powdered on like delicate feathering. The transitions are soft not sharply defined. Nature is wonderful. In most circumstances I would have been thrilled to get a picture of the whole butterfly. That blue spray upon the wings is such a nice detail mother nature decided to add.
We have monarch butterfly caterpillars. Where do they come from? Ha! Well, we have a bunch of caterpillars eating my parsley. So, they aren’t monarchs. They are swallowtail butterfly caterpillars.
It’s all figured out from what they eat. Monarchs only eat milkweed. Okay! The identification is solved. I’d like to have had monarchs. Alas, it’s not to be. Meanwhile, it’s devilishly hard for me to get a properly focused picture. The depth of field is shallow. The caterpillars are small. There are ways… but a point and shoot isn’t the best tool. I got shots.
I didn’t try to go out and find my macro lens. Well, I did it. I was curious to see if I could get a better shot. No, not better, different. There were pros and cons. But I was in much better control with manual focus. Autofocus has been around forever. You become dependent. Or, you adapt. Solve the problem. Okay!
We have a number of butterflies who come to the plants to eat. And much of the time they have injured their wings. This one is no exception and has a missing part to the back left. I am amazed at the detail of the camera and lens. I am good. The camera makes me look better. Between us we got a few great shots.
This butterfly wandered by. I got a shot with proboscis out and ready to eat. Have I told you I hate bugs. I think it’s the crunchy squishy part that I’m squeamish about. Then again, ants and mosquitoes are no problem. DOD. I have a simple rule. Outside, fine. Inside –“ dead ham.”
Passing through Oakland, Maryland… as we entered the store… there on the window, trapped inside behind the glass was this butterfly. The back lighting made me gun up the flash. I really got some pleasing color and great bokeh. Don’t you just love it when they make a word/definition like this. I chased around to understand it to mean that the background is out of focus. Why not just say it in plain English? I wonder how they say it in other languages.
In photography, bokeh is the aesthetic quality of the blur produced in the out-of-focus parts of an image produced by a lens. Bokeh has been defined as “the way …)
I did not know the monarch butterfly goes through four generations in a summer. The first three remain local. The last generation is the one that heads south to Mexico. I have not seen any butterflies in my neighborhood. But we have seen the caterpillars. And now I have seen a cocoon. It’s interesting that I got this far and have never seen one. But here it is. It’s equally amazing that there are gold dots along the top of the cocoon. And if you look closely you can see the developing butterfly. Yeah, all these years and I’m still learning new stuff.
It’s a monarch butterfly caterpillar. It’s a lace wing butterfly. The earlier caterpillar (previous post) did not have antennae. This one has two sets. Which end is forward? I think the front is on the short end? But you could fool me. Yeah, I don’t know which end is up. No, the downside is the head and mouth?
there on the ground… I don’t know why. Was it the end of its life cycle? I could’ve run it over with the car. Instead I got a shot.
I see butterflies around. It’s neat to get a focused shot. They don’t stay in one place long. I’ve noticed that most of them have wing damage. It doesn’t affect function. I am now realizing that it is harder to get a blemish free shot. No matter, it’s the opportunity and the shot that count. I’ll get some perfect shots… eventually.