The abyss

25 07 2012

I’m pretty sure this is a Striped Cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittata), less than 1/8″ long, staring into the abyss in my garden. Thanks to my friend, Michael P. for pointing it out for me to photograph!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bumblebee on ‘Yellow Queen’ Gaillardia

24 07 2012

Bumblebee (Bombus hortotum) on ‘Yellow Queen’ Gaillardia (Gaillardia ‘Yellow Queen’), photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Twice-stabbed Stink Bug

23 07 2012

This is a Twice-stabbed Stink Bug (Cosmopepla lintneriana). How does that common name grab ya? It is also known as a Wee Harlequin Bug or Two-spotted Stink Bug. I believe the plant it’s on is a type of Salvia. My friend, Michael Powell, pointed it out to me to photograph at Green Spring Gardens this afternoon. This tiny bug was less than 1/8″ long, so it was quite hard to follow, but I managed to get a number of shots. The tail portion was almost a shimmery silver color—with the red, black and silver combination, it looked like a teeny sports car. I just read that there are as many as 7000 species of sting bugs (also known as shield bugs) in the world, so I figured the odds of identifying it soon were astronomical, but here we are—case closed!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Pineapple Lily

23 07 2012

Pineapple Lily (Eucomis comosa), photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





‘Zowie Yellow Flame’ zinnia

23 07 2012

‘Zowie Yellow Flame’ zinnia (Zinnia elegans), photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eastern Yellowjacket

23 07 2012

I kept a reasonable distance between me and this insect this afternoon (okay, not really enough distance considering the incident I had three years ago with a horde of these buggers). Learn everything you cared to know about yellowjackets in my post, “Stinging Scoundrels,” here, and how my backside got in the way of one and suffered the consequences here.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bright Eyes Phlox

23 07 2012

Bright Eyes Phlox (Phlox paniculata ‘Bright Eyes’) photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Indian Pink

14 07 2012

Indian Pink (Spigelia Marilandica), photographed at Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Trumpet Honeysuckle

13 07 2012

Trumpet Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens ‘Leo’), photographed at Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Mating monarchs

13 07 2012

Photographed at Brookside Gardens’ Wings of Fancy exhibit; the blue/purple blobs in the background are Plumbago flowers

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Bumblebee

13 07 2012

Bumblebee on unidentified flower, Brookside Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Clay Bolt’s “Meet Your Neighbors” photography project

13 07 2012





Announcing nature and outdoor photography workshops with Brian Loflin in Washington, D.C. and Virginia

13 07 2012

I’m partnering with my friend Rob Bergsohn, founder of the Northern Virginia Outdoor Portrait Photographers meetup.com group, and professional photographer Brian Loflin, to offer a series of great photography workshops in the Washington, D.C./Virginia area in August. Learn more by visiting my main blog here.





When a bee lies sleepin’…

10 07 2012

Sometimes when I photograph an insect and it’s not moving, I consider the possibility that said insect may have expired—which is sad but also the cycle of life. I must confess that it certainly makes them easier to photograph. This morning, the sky was overcast and all the insects at Green Spring Gardens (particularly the bumblebees) seemed to be slow to wake (much like this photographer). I shot about 20 frames of this bumblebee (Bombus) on a Hibiscus (Mallow) bloom, then the fly appeared as if to check to see if it was alive, too. At that very moment, I learned that bees do indeed dream (in case you were wondering). The bumblebee’s front legs started flinching, just like my cats legs do when they’re dreaming. Then it slowly awakened and began the day’s work. (And just what do bees dream about? Abundant pollen as far as their two compound and three primitive eyes can see?)

Barbra Streisand’s version of A Sleepin’ Bee came to mind when I saw this bee. She performed the song on The Jack Paar Show in 1961—her first appearance on American national TV. The popular song was composed by Harold Arlen with lyrics by Arlen and Truman Capote (who knew Capote wrote music?).

Cool fact I just learned: Although hummingbirds are often thought to have the highest metabolic rate of all animals, a bumblebee’s metabolic rate is 75% higher!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Crinum

10 07 2012

Crinum (unknown variety), photographed at Green Spring Gardens this morning

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Raindrops

9 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Skeletonized leaf

9 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Daylily

9 07 2012

Yes, to answer your burning question—this daylily really is that brightly colored; photographed at a rain-drenched Green Spring Gardens this morning.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lacecap hydrangea

9 07 2012

Lacecap hydrangea (Hydrangea macrophylla normalis), photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eastern Tiger swallowtail on ‘Zowie’ zinnia

8 07 2012

Eastern Tiger swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) on ‘Zowie’ zinnia (Zinnia elegans)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Halloween Pennant dragonfly

8 07 2012

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina), photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Tropical water lily

8 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





East Indian Lotus

8 07 2012

From the Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens visitors center:
Clustered in a pool near the visitor center is the pink-tinged East Indian lotus, descended from ancient plants whose seeds were recovered in 1951 from a dry Manchurian lakebed. Induced into germination by the National Park Service, the seeds are believed to be one of the oldest viable seeds ever found. A recent estimate places their age at 640 to 960 years. Unlike water lilies, the lotus (genus Nelumbo) has waxy leaves that rise above the water and shed rain. Its showy flowers drop petals to reveal seedpods that look like shower heads. Its seeds ripen above water.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Lotus leaf

8 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Love is in the air…

7 07 2012

Silver-spotted Skippers (Epargyreus clarus) mating on a Lotus leaf at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this morning

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





A few more from the archives…

6 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly on water lily

6 07 2012

I think this is an Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera), photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington, D.C.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Water lily

6 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Announcing Art, Photography and Cooking Workshops in Tuscany this September

6 07 2012

My friend and fellow artist, Suzy Olsen, has asked me to teach a photography workshop at her villa in Tuscany this September! The 10-day trip includes accommodations, all meals, and three daily workshops: watercolor and pen and ink classes with Suzy each morning, a travel, nature and portrait photography class with me each afternoon, and authentic Italian cooking classes each evening with Nadége Bernardi. Accommodations are in a lovely artist community at the top of a hill overlooking the town of Poppi.

Questions? Contact Suzy directly via e-mail at mandalas2art@yahoo.com or text her at suzy2art@gmail.com.

To learn more, download the preliminary brochure by clicking this link here: Tuscany Workshops





Trypophobia, anyone?

6 07 2012

I was just researching Sacred Lotus seed pods (which is what you’re looking at in the photo below) and discovered there is an unofficial phobia name for people who have a fear of holes—Trypophobia. Read this interesting article about unusual phobias by Georgie Lowery on HubPages here.

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On the subject of “trypophobia,” Lowery writes:

My grandmother had a silk flower arrangement that she often placed on her kitchen table. I remember it had pink and light blue flowers in it. It also contained something that caused me an extreme amount of discomfort. So much so that she eventually removed it from the arrangement. It was a dried lotus seed pod.

It wasn’t until a few years ago that I did an internet search for ‘fear of lotus seed pods’ and came up with something called trypophobia, which is derived from the Greek word trypo, meaning having holes that are punched, drilled or bored. It’s considered an intense, irrational and often overwhelming fear of clusters of holes. It is an unofficial phobia, meaning it is not recognized as a medical condition.

Other trypophobia sufferers have reported intense phobic symptoms with other things involving holes as well, including sponges, holes in wood or honeycombs. Some people’s reactions to holes, including mine, intensify when the holes have something in them, such as a sunflower with its seeds. Researching for information on trypophobia returned some photos that officially gave me the heebie-jeebies, namely the photo of the Surinam toad, who incubates and hatches her eggs from holes on her back. There is a video that shows the tadpoles hatching, but I’m not posting it here simply because I might have to watch it to get the the link.

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Granted, the little seeds do look like a multitude of creepy little alien eyes, but clearly I don’t suffer from trypophobia since I photographed it without incident. Hmmmmm…you learn something new every day, doncha?

Trypophobia-inducing photograph © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Water lily

5 07 2012

Unidentified water lily, photographed at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly and Sacred Lotus

5 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred Lotus blooms

5 07 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Sacred Lotus

5 07 2012

Click here to see more photos from Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ah Sunflower

5 07 2012

Ah Sunflower, weary of time,
Who countest the steps of the sun;
Seeking after that sweet golden clime
Where the traveller’s journey is done;
Where the youth pined away with desire,
And the pale virgin shrouded in snow,
Arise from their graves, and aspire
Where my Sunflower wishes to go!

William Blake (1757-1827)

Photo © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Vermont Road Trip Part 1: Ice cream, shoes, cheese, and a most memorable picnic in the rain

1 07 2012

The Lower Otter Creek Wildlife Management Area in Ferrisburgh, VT, near the entrance to Kingsland Bay State Park, encompasses 738 acres of wetland and floodplain forest habitat. Otter Creek reaches out to Lake Champlain and hosts a wide variety of wildlife: birds include state-endangered ospreys, bald eagles, ring-billed and great black-backed gulls, double-crested cormorants, great blue herons, mallards, hooded mergansers, and many types of ducks; mammals include mink, fox, white-tailed deer, cottontail rabbits and gray squirrels; reptiles include many species of salamanders, bullfrogs, spring peppers, tree frogs, turtles and snakes; fish include large and smallmouth bass, northern pike, walleye, chain pickerel and yellow perch.

After photographing the Hearing Loss Association of America’s Convention 2012 in Providence, R.I. (June 21-24), my sister Debbie and I hightailed it up to Vermont for a short road trip. We left Providence about noon on Sunday and officially kicked off the Vermont tour that evening with a visit to Ben & Jerry’s headquarters in Waterbury. I tried the Late Night Snack, which was inspired by Jimmy Fallon (vanilla ice cream, fudge covered potato chip clusters and a salty caramel swirl). I just read a few online reviews and although the reviewers rave about the flavor, I wouldn’t try it again. I should have stuck with my favorite standby: chocolate chip cookie dough. You can’t go wrong with that flavor, no matter which company makes it!

We stayed in Shelburne that night. On Monday morning we impulse shopped at the Vermont-based Danform Shoes (great bargain basement where I bought a pair of my craziest shoes to date—heretofore known as my Saturday-Day-Night-Fever-Don-Johnson-Miami-Vice-white-Mafia-don-Wendys-advertising-newsprint-tabletop mules; stay tuned for a shot of these wild things!), drove around part of Lake Champlain, visited Shelburne Farms (a beautiful 1400-acre working farm) where we bought picnic supplies (cheese, crackers and various spreads), stopped at the Vermont Wildflower Farm in Charlotte, then stopped at Dakin Farm in Ferrisburgh for more cheese, crackers and Vermont maple syrup. It rained off and on all day, so I wasn’t able to hunker down and get some macro shots at the wildflower farm, unfortunately. That was something I was really looking forward to. I did get some great deals on wildflowers seeds and perennial bulbs, though, so it was worth the trip. Plus, who cares about rain when you have cheese?

We then drove to Kingsland Bay State Park and had a wonderful late afternoon lunch picnic on the porch of the historic Hawley House, c. 1790. This property dates back to the first settlers in Ferrisburgh and was home to Ecole Champlain, an exclusive girls camp, until the late 1960s. I’ll have photos and history to share on a future post about this lovely stone house with a wraparound porch on all four sides. We started our picnic at a picnic table by the bay, but the intermittent rainfall drove us to the wraparound porch. It was the most memorable picnic ever! Debbie and I concocted our own strange Chopped dishes with the various cheeses, crackers, chocolates and sweets we picked up along the way (photos and descriptions to come!). Aside from the two employees at the park entrance, a few seagulls and one very attentive chipmunk, we had the entire park to ourselves that afternoon.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

I shot this image with my iPhone using the app “645 Pro” in 6×17 panoramic format. It is one amazing app! It gives you lossless developed RAW tiff files and high quality jpgs, low-light performance, and live preview and real-time LCD readout. It offers seven professional color and b&w “film” options inspired by classic print and transparency film, and five switchable “backs”—645, 6×6, 6×7, 6×9, 6×17. Amazing! (I own a FUJI 6×17 panoramic film camera, so I’m very familiar with this format. It’s so fun to use this app to mimic the panoramic film format—it’s much lighter and easier than the real deal!)

<p><a href=”http://vimeo.com/40177690″>645 PRO for iPhone</a> from <a href=”http://vimeo.com/jaggr”>Jag.gr</a&gt; on <a href=”http://vimeo.com”>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>