Skippers on Celosia

21 08 2012

Skipper butterflies on Celosia (Cockscomb) flowers at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

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Blue Dasher dragonfly, extreme closeup!

20 08 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Blue Dasher dragonfly on Lotus seed pod

18 08 2012

Okay, the lure of photographing dragonflies again was just too much to resist today. I’m on a roll (couldn’t you tell?). I called my “grasshopper” photography student, Michael Q. Powell, and although he had already been out shooting by himself this morning, it didn’t take much cajoling to convince him to come out again with me. Since it was very late in the afternoon (after 4:00 p.m.), it was more overcast, which made for great lighting for photography. The background is a large lotus lily pad leaf—see the lighter center of the leaf peeping through the upper wings? Yes, this is a warning that there will be just a few more dragonfly posts (I shot nearly 400 images just in today’s session). So, dear readers, I ask that you bear with me until I’ve overcome my (most likely temporary) obsession with dragonflies.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Yes, I know, another dragonfly…

17 08 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Incoming!

17 08 2012

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Dragonfly on lotus bud

17 08 2012

I haven’t been able to identify the exact kind of dragonfly this one is (yet). Any guesses (other than the obvious “black dragonfly”)? Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

UPDATE: Special thanks to a visitor to my blog, Robley Hood, for identifying this beauty—it’s a Slaty skimmer (Libellula incesta).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Runway traffic

17 08 2012

Ladies and gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. We’re next in line for takeoff.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Blue Dasher dragonfly

17 08 2012

As much as I prefer shooting in diffused or overcast light, I’m kind of liking these dragonfly shots with the strong shadows—there’s something stark and graphic about them! Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis), photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Ready for my closeup!

17 08 2012

I read that Eastern Amberwings are some of the wariest of all dragonflies and rarely land, preferring to hover over the water instead. I was lucky that this particular one kept coming back to the same spot and kept still long enough for me to focus for this closeup portrait.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Eastern Amberwing dragonfly

17 08 2012

Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera). The Eastern Amberwing is very small, measuring just 3/4 to 1 inch long. Its scientific name, “tenera,” means delicate, referencing its small size. Photographed at Green Spring Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Distracted by dragonflies and damselflies

17 08 2012

This much is true—I think photography has made me a more patient person (I think I just heard my dad mutter “hmppph” all the way from Texas). It is all at once stimulating, frustrating, exhilarating, overwhelming and all-consuming—and it requires immense patience. No more so than when I’m trying to photograph dragonflies! Today I sought a little time out of the studio at lunchtime—taking advantage of cooler temperatures—and headed to my favorite spot, Green Spring Gardens.

Mid-August is a time of fewer blooms, so I headed down to the ponds, which I rarely frequent when the gardens are ablaze in color. I found a semi-shady spot at one end of the pond where a few lotus flowers were in full bloom, spread out my traveling cushion (a plastic trash bag) at the edge of the bank, and set up shop to try and capture some dragonfly images. It was full sun—never my favorite for shooting outdoors—but I decided to work with what I had at the time, shadows accepted begrudgingly.

The pond was a flurry of activity with what seemed like hundreds of dragonflies and damselflies—staking out their territories, looking for love in all the right places, dipping into the surface of the water to drink and knocking fellow insects off their perches.

The first thing I did upon my return was ask Michael to set up my Nikon D300 so that I am unable to shoot without a card. Why was this important to do? Well, after the first 10 minutes of my photo session, I tried to review my images and got that dreaded “NO MEMORY CARD” alert. I actually said out loud, “Are you kidding me?” I am truly fortunate that this is only the second time I have forgotten to put in a memory card. Michael set it up so I can’t even shoot without a card now! I shot some truly spectacular images of dragonflies and damselflies in that brief 10 minutes. Alas, they are now just committed to my memory. I think I made up for the loss, though, by deciding to shoot continuously for the next hour to make up for my ineptness.

I tallied up the total of clicks—728—more than 8 gigs of images in just over an hour of shooting! These include overexposures, underexposures, out-of-focus, just-missed-its, but there are definitely some keepers, which I’m sharing below. I’ll have many more to share in future posts.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth

15 08 2012

Late this afternoon as I was heading out to run an errand, I just happened to have my Coolpix L110 around my neck and saw this Snowberry Clearwing Hummingbird Moth (Hemaris diffinis) fly past me. It landed on a Bearded iris leaf and stayed there for at least five minutes! I fired off a few shots from a distance of about two feet and then switched to macro mode on the L110 and moved in closer. I was able to shoot these from about seven inches away and the moth just stayed there, virtually motionless. I was able to knock off about 20 different shots (from directly behind the insect, then moving to capture a side view) until it flew away.

I’ve photographed this type of insect two other times (one in my garden here and one in Wisconsin here), but have never had one stop in one place. Before today, I had never been able to see the detail in the wings because they always seem to be in motion (much like a hummingbird, actually!). I would have preferred to diffuse the sunlight to lessen the harsh shadows, but sometimes you have to play the hand you’re dealt (or dance with the one what brung ya, or something to that effect).

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Michael Schwehr, The Dragonfly Whisperer

13 08 2012

This afternoon I went with my Michael (Schwehr) and our friend and neighbor (the other Michael—my photography student) to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens to photograph flowers and insects. I eventually got separated from the two Michaels and they headed to one of the ponds on the property. Michael (Powell) was photographing this Common Blue Dasher dragonfly on a leaf and when he was done, Michael (Schwehr) put his finger out to see if the dragonfly would hop on it. To his surprise, it did. It flew away a few times and returned to his finger each time! A couple walking by came over to see what the two Michaels were doing and took a photo of the dragonfly. The husband extended his hand to see if the dragonfly would land on him, but it kept coming back to Michael (Schwehr), earning him the nickname “Dragonfly Whisperer” from Michael (Powell), who also shot these images of the whisperer in action. Hey, Cesar has The Dog Whisperer show…reckon there would be any interest in a Dragonfly Whisperer show?

Photos © Michael Q. Powell





Begonia

13 08 2012

I know this is a type of Begonia—but it is an Angel Wing or a Dragon Wing? Any begonia lovers out there who can help?

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

 





Ailanthus webworm moth on Celosia

13 08 2012

Ailanthus webworm moth (Atteva aurea) is a type of ermine moth. I photographed this one on a Celosia (Cockscomb) flower at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens. These flowers are commonly known as woolflowers, but if the flower heads are crested, they are called cockscombs.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Meadow Rue ‘Lavender Mist’

13 08 2012

Meadow Rue ‘Lavender Mist’ (Thalictrum ‘Lavender Mist’), photographed against a backdrop of ‘Black Magic’ Black Leaf Elephant Ears (Colocasia esculenta ‘Black Magic’) at Meadowlark Botanical Gardens

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Daniel Scott’s Recycled Mosaics—prints now available!

5 08 2012

I met graphic designer and artist Daniel Scott, Jr. through my blog last spring. He asked permission to use a photo I had shot of a cluster of purple Spiderwort flowers as inspiration for one of his recycled mosaic illustrations, which he has been creating since 1995. My photo, shot at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center, inspired him to create “A Vibrant Morning Wake,” which is seen here in a posting I did in July 2011, and in the collage below (upper left).

Each beautiful mosaic is made from thousands of tiny bits of recycled candy wrappers, drink labels, gum wrappers, and sugar and tea packets. He now has limited edition prints available for purchase in the store on his website here. His work is spectacular—check it out!





Sunday sky

4 08 2012

I shot this image with my iPhone last Sunday when I was out running errands. I don’t love the elements in the foreground, but I love the cloud formations and wanted to share this dramatic Sunday sky!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Closeup detail of Love-in-a-mist

2 08 2012

Love-in-a-mist (Nigella damascena) © Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.