Word and Image

Posts tagged “Insect

Lately

What’s up?

Today is a series of non sequiturs. Bugs? Caterpillars? They walk into my pictures and jump onto my camera sensor on the way to my memory card. See the fine hair detail on the bug? There’s not much detail in the caterpillar. Was it me or the worm? Colleen made a cobbler from fresh picked white peaches. Yum! Cats preoccupy our attention. I am charged with getting their pictures. It’s a specialty. Cats do not pose on demand. Ever! Clouds? Lately the clouds have been distinct against a bright blue sky. Great! Flowers? Macro lens and super detail. The featured flower gives me the impression it is waiting to devour an unsuspecting bug that wanders into its maw. So many pictures so little time…


Cruisin’

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.


How many?

37 shots. I got 37 before the dragonfly broke free of its bonds – the spider web. You need one good shot for illustrative purposes. Free the bug? Nope, it was on the other side of my window pane. How’d it get free? It struggled mightily and beat its wings until the web finally broke. Meanwhile, I leisurely shot away with my macro lens. I never did quite get the perfect focus upon its eyes. I was close. But no cigar.


Drama

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.  


Wild kingdom

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.


Rated well

I go with what strikes me as I edit. No overthinking. I just go with the gut. One star – ok, but not quite. Two star – good solid technically good. Three star – rare, it just stands out. Four and five – hardly ever.

Water is always good in a flower shot. It’s above ordinary. I don’t get water too often. Cats – my black cat is hard to image and she is hard to pin down for a focused shot of her eyes. You’d think it’s easy. I get the eyes on all my other cats. Nope! And getting texture on the fur is a challenge too. But the eyes… except, it’s nice to see the tongue. Cats do not stick out their tongue. It’s different. Worms and bugs – not so easy. I got this caterpillar by chance. I nearly missed it. It was so tiny. Focus! It’s critical. Otherwise, it’s not a shot. And the moth? Not so simple, this one was all over skittering from blossom to blossom. I stood still and just waited to shoot when it landed again. Focus, otherwise, it’s not a shot. There were a lot of “not” shots. Among thousands of shots there are only a very few rated three stars.


Who’s missing?

Missing? Ha ha. It’s cats and flowers. I simply have too many. Flowers are available in great quantity, too numerous to choose one above the others. Cats, I have seven. Try to herd them together. Nope, not happening. The best I can do is to get some individual shots (of the cats) and usually I will not see them all at the same time. Feather is smart enough to avoid me when she wants to hide. Smart cats? Oh, yes! May I also “point” out that the family responds to command and suggestion differently as is amply on display here. They are cooperative but can be hard to herd together too.


Technically good

At this time of the year I am taking pictures of the flowers in my garden. And there are so many – too many – good shots – to mention or to post. Pick. Right! I suppose the bee that flew into my picture would be serendipitous. Fun! Yes, pick one. I can’t. With so much material to edit, I am helpless to pick a single image among the lot. It’s ok. No need to be alarmed. We can post as we may. It’s all in fun. There was a time when film cost money and experimentation was limited. Nowadays I am no longer constrained. It certainly allows you to explore and find new ways to do things.


Back…

… home. Can you say wilted? My flower garden wilted in my absence. We have just returned. A cousin watered. The garden took a hit. You’d never know from these pics. A bee fly? Yup! Never seen one, it’s new to me. No longer. I got to leisurely shoot one out in Colorado. Deja vu all over again?? Meanwhile, a caterpillar walked into my picture. Really! And another bug, looks like a firefly, but it’s more ominous, I’m sure. The colors have changed. The flowers missed me. Return to normal? We’ll see. Meanwhile, Miracle Gro for all!


Bee fly

Ok! I’m sitting looking at a cut flower arrangement and the wildest looking bee ever flies up and lets me take its picture!! Over and over! Like, it flew away and came back and again and again. Get it? I was so privileged. Anyway, the internet says – bee fly. Wow! The details in flight were quite something. It all came together for a few magical moments. There was a ruby throated hummingbird flying around too. Nope! My luck did not go there.


Macro (lens)

It’s sort of like micro as in microscopic but it is more telephoto or close-up of near objects rather than birds in a tree. Got it? It is a 105mm lens. Portrait? Well, not really. I can focus down to within an inch of my subject… get close… closer.

Great cat photo! I was surprised. The macro lens did a better job than…? Hummingbird? I happened to have the macro lens mounted on the camera as the bird flew toward the feeder. Serendipitous! Ditto, the bee, it was in my picture from the corner of the lens/my eye as I pressed the shutter. Spontaneous capture, definitely, unplanned. No error! It was skill! Ha ha. Sometimes I just close my eyes and press the shutter. Yes!


Snap(shot)s

Random today… selection of pics. I have evolved from a single pic and story. Too many images, too little time. Good? Cats are our – Colleen’s and mine – life these days. We share much love with them. Yes… she loves to eat out, water view preferable. A frog, a duck, the sky, the moon, a grasshopper, all are fair game. Imerfect, (sic) true. Ha ha. I’m glad to have had the opportunities. A single shot/picture? Maybe once again, someday, but, not today.


Puzzled

Wildlife. Animals (or insects) pop up during our travels. Some wild, some domesticated, I get the shot as the opportunity presents. We chanced upon a photographer doing a full on shoot of this dog on the ratty couch. Dog? Couch? The poor pup was totally bored and uncooperative. No posing, no looking at the camera, no interest in the least. Food! A treat! Distraction! Nope, none, nada. It was about as dismal as the couch. I kept my mouth shut and we quietly left. Photographer? She had the gear; she was mounted on a tripod… Um, close, but that ain’t how I’d do it. (See: I kept my mouth shut.)


Opportunity

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.


News that fits

No, hardly the NYT. I’d never pass proofreading. Nature. Remember the nature shows that brutally depicted lions taking down a poor animal and shredding it on camera for our initiation into “survival of the fittest?” This spider did brain surgery first. Logic or convenience? It ate the bee? Starting at the head. I got my initial shots and later on was amazed that there was very little left except for some disconnected bones. Nothing goes to waste. You need a lot of energy to spin a web.

Wooden thread spools? We got a jar…. somewhere, at some point, in the past. Why? Dunno. Colleen went through it looking for pink thread. She hates pink. She got sidetracked, as often she does, and looked up the names. Some of these spools date back to the 1800’s. Really?! Well, for sure they stopped making wooden spools a good 50 years ago. How’s that for useless information I did not know I needed. Antique wooden spools, imagine that?

Bad day: tell me, based on the damage and position of the vehicles, how this accident occurred. Did someone do a 180 or 360 circle? We passed this accident. The gray car was second along the road. No time to get a proper photo. I was not trying to hurt the feelings of those involved. They were already having a life changing moment and a very bad day. The damage was bad enough to stop both vehicles immediately. The position of the damage argues against head-on. Or, not? So?


Choices

I think in color. No black and white for me. I started in BxW. Color slide film opened my eyes to a whole new world in photography. BxW conversion is easy in Photoshop/Lightroom. Sure. I just don’t think in shades of gray. I admire those who do and who produce great images in black and white.

Single or gallery? I post multiple images these days because there are too many worthy (?) images and not enough posts. TMI. So, I lose subtlety of fine detail. It’s easy (for me) to see Elle is a great cat pic. But the water droplets or the grasshopper or the bees are harder to discern.

Sometimes I just think I must have closed my eyes and pressed the shutter. Images jump out of Lightroom to grab me. I shot that? Luck or skill, my images come from experience and experimentation. I have practiced “what if” scenarios in order to be in this place. But I readily admit I am not some landscape photographer who will patiently sit day after day until the perfect elements align. I have never, and, I never will… No one ever accused me of being patient. Me? I’m all “go!”


A revelation

Did you know… spiders will share a single web? … will repair, do repair a damaged web? When I say spiders… I saw the big one, Momma? – and then not one but two little ones. Two. ?? They (the little ones) were both out at the same time. OK! TMI! But it does account for the less than precise appearance of the web. Big Momma has only been seen at night since the little ones appeared. Mostly, there is no one patrolling the silk. Another web in the adjacent window pane has had no sign of any spider. Shy? Gee! The things you learn when first you ….

“Oh, what a tangled web we weave, when first we practice to deceive!” (Sir Walter Scott, 1808)

Drama at the website: it’s gruesome, encased and mummified in silk. It is a soon to be dead bug. Yes, it is still moving. Big momma is out tending to the silk. Maintenance, someone’s gotta do it.

Men in Black, the movie? I’ve seen this guy out running before. He wears a lighted safety vest. Yup! He looks alien! And just as I was getting my shot of “Big Momma,” he went by. Sorry, I coulda done better, but, he went by so fast!


Old joke

By now I can be accused of pushing an old joke… too far. Museums. Irreverence. Heinous. Not quite. You would not call (my composite) art too? I’ve been at it for a while. Don’t ask me to collect the past examples. Fun? You bet. The essential element? A tolerant wife. It’s collaboration. After all Colleen took all those pics of me. Ok! That said, we found a typo in one of the exhibits: 2923, wrong date. We are still masking up. That’s a mirror – reflection, not doorway.

Droopy spider web? It seems in the morning mist/fog with the water droplets upon it, a spider web will droop. Who knew? There was a big old hairy ugly spider who had this web. Along came an albino juvenile. It just happened to wander into my picture. As you can see the web is not so architecturally symmetrically accurate. Should we be disappointed? Or, all spiders are not OCD.

As long as we are talking mist and water, can you appreciate the small droplets and detail at the end of this hibiscus flower? Macro photography opened up a new world for me this summer.

Too many images, too little time/space to post.


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.