Thursday, July 28, 2016

Another Revelstoke Sunset

Hard to believe I hadn't taken a single photo on this trip till now. More focused on paragliding I guess. We're on our way home and stopped overnight in Revelstoke. Like last time, I looked out the window, saw the sunset, and grabbed my camera. It was a little challenging getting a clear shot of the sky through the trees. The clouds were the remains of afternoon thunderstorms. We're hoping to get in a paraglider flight in the morning before the storms develop again.

sunset

sunset

sunset

See all 8 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, July 17, 2016

Photos of the Day

If you truly love nature, you will find beauty everywhere
- Van Gogh

water lily

A couple more photos taken by the pond at work.

dagonfly

I'd say this is a dragonfly rather than a damselfly since it's resting with its wings open and its eyes cover most of the head. Possibly a Ruby Meadowhawk based on color and black triangular markings on abdomen. It was a cooperative subject, landing on the chair beside me and letting me get close with the camera.

Saturday, July 16, 2016

On the River

A few photos from kayaking on the river last weekend. Not very many since it poured with rain for part of the time and my camera stayed in its drybag! On the other hand, the dramatic clouds made good photographic subjects. Not as many birds on the river as in the spring, but there are still a few ducks with ducklings, maybe from second nestings?

momma and ducklings

momma and ducklings

clouds, river, paddlers

clouds

There were some good reflections with the contrast between sunshine and dark clouds, but I didn't have as much luck capturing them.

clouds reflected in river

reflections

See all 10 photos as a slideshow or overview

Sunday, July 10, 2016

Print of the Week

“The earth laughs in flowers.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Something colorful to liven up a mostly gray day. Quite an outlandish color scheme of purple and orange and green, I love it!

flower

I also took some shots looking straight down, which can sometimes be interesting, but in this case I didn't like it as much. It also has a more distracting background. The above photo had the out of focus side of the house as a background (which was light blue but I desaturated it to emphasize the color of the flower)

flower

A few days earlier and they didn't have the orange. Still pretty but not as colorful.

flower

And plenty more flowers where these came from.

Wednesday, July 06, 2016

Bugs of the Week

Mourning cloak butterfly

I'll start with a butterfly since that's one of the few bugs people seem to like. ("bug" in the informal sense, not "true bugs" or Hemiptera.) I haven't taken too many butterfly photos lately. In the warm summertime they tend to be too active and don't sit still. When this one landed on the table beside me I didn't think it would stay, but for some reason it hung around patiently while I took a bunch of photographs. I think it's a Mourning Cloak butterfly, one of the more common ones here. And I think this older photo of mine is the corresponding caterpillar (aka Spiny Elm caterpillar).



Dragonflies, or in this case I think a damselfly, are also somewhat acceptable bugs to most people. Especially since they eat mosquitos :-)

Damselflies

In the next photo you get a better view of the wide set eyes. A bit like a Hammerhead shark, another hunter.

Untitled

The damselflies were also busy having sex. It looks like one has laid eggs (red dots) down its body, perhaps to be fertilized by the other one?

damselflies mating

The eggs hatch into nymphs that live in the water. This is the longest stage in their life cycle, in some species lasting multiple years. The nymphs are predators like the adults. Finally, the nymphs crawl out of the water and emerge from their skin as dragonflies/damselflies. Here's the left over skin of one:

dragonfly nymph skin

This next one looks a bit like a giant mosquito, but I think it's a Crane Fly. Confusingly, but understandably, these are also sometimes known as Daddy longlegs, like the Harvestman "spiders" (which are technically arachnids, not spiders)

Crane fly

I'll start with a gentle introduction to the last, much less loved type of bug. Can you spot the crab spider waiting in ambush in this flower. Bees beware!

spot the crab spider

This one didn't have such a good hiding place, but it still blended in quite well on this wild rose.

crab spider on wild rose

I hadn't seen too many fishing spiders lately, but the last few days there have been a couple of big ones in one of the usual spots. You can clearly see its eight eyes (like most spiders have).

Fishing spider

One of them was carrying/guarding its egg sac. It was more skittish and I didn't get a very good photo.

fishing spider with egg sac

Sunday, July 03, 2016

Thistles

Despite being an invasive and "declared a noxious weed", I still like the color and pattern of thistle flowers. (I think these are Nodding thistles.)

thistles

They're also quite interesting as they open.

thistles

thistles

And a similar color but different thistle (maybe Canada thistle, a strange name for another invasive)

thistles

Sunday, June 26, 2016

Flower Power

The water lilies are flowering on the pond at Innovation Place. The trick is to find ones close enough to the edge to get good pictures, often they're floating out in the middle.

water lily

And at home, the flowers in the garden are blooming as well.

Gaillardia

Black-eyed susan

flower

This flower was definitely past its peak, but I liked the shapes made by the shriveled petals.

dead flower

I used my macro lens (Nikon 85mm f/3.5 VR)  for these shots, which meant when I spotted some insects I could get closeups. But holding the camera steady for closeups is almost as hard as for telephoto shots so I got out the tripod and ball head. This insect was the one that prompted the tripod. Unlike many insects, it hung around for me to get set up. (I didn't have to rush, it was still there the next day!) This was a small flower, the insect was only a few millimeters long.

insect on flower

This fly showed up as I was taking photos of the flower. It had almost a metallic sheen to it. And big compound eyes. I'm guessing maybe Brachycera?

fly (Brachycera?) on flower

I also encountered a couple of Harvestmen (aka daddy long legs), identifiable by their long legs, single pair of small eyes, and fused body (as opposed to spiders which have 3 or 4 pairs of eyes and separated abdomen and thorax). They are omnivores and don't have very good eyesight so they use their longer second pair of legs as antenna or feelers. Both of these were missing legs. (as arachnids they should have eight)

Harvestman spider

Harvestman spider

There was a bit of wind which made getting sharp photos a challenge. Some of the time I boosted the shutter speed to 1/500th to try to freeze the movement. But I was also dealing with the shallow depth of focus inherent with a macro lens, so other times I was closing down to f/16. Mostly I just took lots and hoped some would be sharp. If you don't mind "bugs" it's worth viewing the images larger (by clicking on them) to see the details.

For more of these photos, see all 28 as a slideshow or overview