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.

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Star of Persia (Allium christophe)

19 05 2011

Earlier this month I photographed this plant just as it was beginning to bloom, which is a far cry from the “visually busy” bloom I photographed today. Check out this plant in early bud stage on my previous post here. Aided by my macro lens today, I could see scores of tiny bugs navigating the interior stems—making it a veritable insect superhighway!

Star of Persia (Allium Christophe) plants grow 18-24 inches tall and sport a globe-shaped flower approximately 10 inches in diameter with clusters of amethyst-hued star-shaped blooms. The bulbs are hardy in zone 4 to 9 and after the blooms are spent, the ‘dead heads’ make a great architectural element in the garden. The bulbs are planted in the fall and bloom in late spring to early summer.

Photographed at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.






Think pink, updated series #1

9 07 2010

Last year I posted a series of botanical collages based on various colors. I’m adding recent photos to those collages, beginning with pink—in every shade imaginable! I had so many new shots of pink flowers that I had to divide the collage into two separate postings. Click here to read my posting last winter entitled, “This post is brought to you by the color pink.” Enjoy!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.





Give up?

27 04 2009

It’s a little hard to see them with screen resolution because they are so tiny, so here’s the big reveal below. Thanks to Burstmode for giving it the ‘ole college try!

spotthebugs





Spot the bugs and win a prize!

27 04 2009

I photographed this past-its-prime-time tulip bloom at the Huntsville Botanical Gardens on April 19. It had rained off and on all morning long so everything I photographed was cover in raindrops (a bonus!). Thank you to Sue, who held an umbrella over me and my beloved camera while I captured many of these images. Gardeners and photographers—neither will let rain deter them from their passions!

I was concentrating so hard on getting the raindrops in focus that I didn’t even notice any of the tiny green bugs seeking refuge from the rain on this tulip until I opened and enlarged it in Photoshop! I counted eight total. Do you see them? Some are more visible than others—in some cases you’ll see just a few legs poking out or just a dark green or brown speck.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

countthebugslorez2





Toto, we’re not in Texas anymore…

9 01 2009

Michael finished work early today and we decided to grab our cameras and drive over to Green Spring Gardens to see if we could get some shots before the beautiful afternoon light faded. It has been gray, drizzling, damp, rainy and quite depressing for a few days, so today was our first sunny blue-sky day and we didn’t want to waste it. It didn’t seem that cold going out to the car, but by the time we got to the park, it was freeeeeeezing. I still managed to shoot over 100 images despite the fact that I wasn’t dressed for the cold (am I ever?). No socks (sorry, Mom), and just a shawl over my shoulders (fool). No gloves, either. And I got a bit muddy while getting the eye level shots of the sweet little snowdrops. Sigh. I should have stayed in Texas until the weather warmed up here. Is it spring yet?

Click here to see snowdrops that I photographed last April at Green Spring Gardens.

Green Spring is one of my favorite local places to photograph. Below are links to all my posts about this wonderful park during the 2008 gardening season:

A very fine (birth)day, indeed! (can it get any better than this?)
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/10/20/a-very-fine-birthdayday-indeed/

Japanese Anemones (such an elegant flower):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/08/31/honorine-jobert/

Photographic smorgasbord (lots of bugs in this post!):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/08/08/photographic-smorgasbord/

Convention ’08 (even more bugs here):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/09/02/bug-reunion-08/

In bloom at Green Spring Gardens (a very colorful day!):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/08/07/in-bloom-at-green-spring-gardens/

I will be the gladdest thing (images from a hot day in July):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/07/21/i-will-be-the-gladdest-thing/

Duh…more flowers, of course! (a beautiful May day):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/05/25/duhmore-flowers-of-course/

Love-in-a-mist (one of my favorites):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/love-in-a-mist/

A day of bliss (yes, it truly was):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/a-day-of-bliss/

Glorious poppies (and how!):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/05/18/glorious-poppies/

Swaths of color (capturing the first spring blooms):
http://cindydyer.wordpress.com/2008/04/13/a-profusion-of-spring-color/

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Visit my main blog at www.cindydyer.wordpress.com, where I post portraits, event photography, personal essays, and other non-garden-related entries.

greenspringjan09





How Can Something This Beautiful…

12 09 2007

be so destructive? I know when I first sent this photo out to Debbi (our resident Rose Queen), she probably passed out in shock when she saw it. One must admit that they really are beautiful, despite how destructive they are. I photographed this mating pair at Lewis Ginter Botanical Garden in Richmond, VA. I’m happy to report that I have never seen one in my own garden (and therefore I don’t have to deal with critter elimination!).

japanese-beetles.jpg

© 2007 Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Popillia japonica is a beetle about 1.5 cm (0.6 inches) long and 1 cm (0.4 inches) wide, with shiny copper-colored elytra and a shiny green top of the thorax and head. It is not very destructive in Japan, where it is controlled by natural enemies, but in America it is a serious pest to rose bushes, grapes, crape myrtles, and other plants. These insects damage plants by eating the surface material, leaving the veins in place, producing a curious, but alarming “transparent leaf” effect on its victims.

For more photos of this insect, visit http://bugguide.net/node/view/473/bgimage

Excerpt below from The Urban Pantheist.

In 1916, America’s most densely populated state (New Jersey) became the first place in North America where a certain exotic Asian scarab beetle was found. This beautiful but destructive animal is now well-known to gardeners in the eastern states, and is becoming familiar in more places every year. Increasing amounts of regulation and use of biological controls (a bacterium and parasitic wasps) are the official weapons in use against the Japanese beetle. Still they seem to have a robust population in areas where they occur, including urban centers that have the plants the adults feed on (over 400 species documented) and grassy soil for their grubs to overwinter in. And they continue to spread, being found in San Diego for the first time in 2000, and at an airport in Montana in 2002.

Japanese beetles are often encountered in what appears to be mating groups. Females produce sex pheromones that attract many males, who compete for the opportunity to mate in large clusters. According to one researcher, relatively little mating actually occurs in these groups. Males will guard their chosen female from other males until she is ready to lay her eggs. At least while clustered, they can be easily picked off of plants.