Saturday, August 17, 2013

Time to Move On

Well folks, I think it's time to put a close to this blog.  I have to admit that I'm a bit sad because I've put a lot into this for 5 years, but honestly, I've grown a bit tired of blogging.  Now don't get me wrong, I love to share photos, but my heart is not in the writing part anymore.  I just don't have a lot to say other than my normal mediocre drivel.

I love to find, photograph and identify, so I have found an alternative that I'm very excited to be doing through Project Noah.  This nature mapping approach is right up my alley and seems to be the direction I will be going for awhile.  I love the fact that I can map out my sightings and include any data that goes with each species.  I can export and view my entire sighting map on Google Earth.  This just really appeals to me, and I love the fact that I can catalog my sightings for future reference.

I won't drop off the map completely, as I will continue visiting all the blogs that I follow, but just wanted to thank everyone, especially TrailBlazer and Casey for always commenting on what I have to offer.  You guys are awesome!

Here are a few parting shots of some of my sightings.  Enjoy and see you on your blogs!

Cicada Killer

 Crab Spider with Prey

 Fire-Colored Beetle

 Ambush Bug

 Jumping Spider -Phidippus putnami

 Female Scorpion Fly

Spined Soldier Bug Nymphs and Eggs

I'll be keeping my blog up however, in case I feel I've made a mistake in the future:)  Safety nets are always nice.  Adios!

Sunday, July 21, 2013

Awesome Arachnids

As you can see by the last few posts, I'm definitely on a macro kick.  I like to do insects and spiders because there is always something to find.  With the narrow depth of field in regards to macro equipment, it can be quite frustrating to get sharp photos, and you will never get the entire subject sharp.

My favorite macro subjects are definitely spiders!  The closer you can see them, the creepier they are.  At one time I had a healthy fear of spiders, but yet I was still fascinated.  When I got into my late teens, I was determined to overcome that fear, so I started holding the large yellow and black argiope garden spiders.  Their long legs are soooo creepy, I figured if I could hold them, the rest were no big deal.  Problem solved:)

Anyway, I have taken so many macro photos this week, I'm having a hard time getting to all of them.  I decided to narrow them down into groups for posts, so for today, it's spiders!

I'll start with the jumping spiders, since they are my favorite.  I've come across some "new to me" species.

Paraphidippus aurantius (Gold)



Paraphidippus aurantius (Green)



Young Phidippus Spider
These next two spiders were so tiny, I had great difficulty holding the camera steady for such small subjects.  These could only have been 3cm long, yet they have such personality:)



Tiny Dendryphantinae



Next are the crab spiders!  These are a close second favorite to jumping spiders.  Their camouflage is absolutely amazing, and I love how they blend in for the sneak attack on their prey. 

White Banded Crab Spider on Larkspur


White Banded Crab Spider with Prey


Yellow White Banded Crab Spider with Prey


Slender Crab Spider


The third category are the orb weavers.  These spiders weave intricate webs to catch their prey and there are many species.  They can be quite difficult to categorize, but I've done my best.

Neoscona crucifera


Araniella



Long Jawed Orb Weavers
The two spiders below are actually quite small, and seem to be mostly found around water. 




Hopefully those of you who read my blog aren't getting bored with the macro stuff.  I do look forward to fall when the foliage starts to break down and I can get good views of mammals and birds, but this is going to be the pace for awhile.  I hope you all enjoy the photos!




Sunday, July 7, 2013

Sunday Spiders!

Jumping spiders are my absolute favorite macro subjects, but also the most frustrating.  When found, getting them to pose and look right into the lens can be pretty difficult.  I've always admired the super-macro photos of the eyes of jumping spiders, and have always strived to get this effect.  It's quite amazing to see them up close and personal.  It gives them much more personality than seeing them with the naked eye.  Here are two species that I found this morning, and both were quite cooperative.

The first species is, I believe, Phidippus Princeps.  This little guy was only 5 or 6 mm long.  I struggled with the ID simply because I have never seen these color combos before, but this is the closest I could get.  With 5,000 species of jumping spiders, it can get difficult at times:)

Phidippus Princeps - Body Shot

In the two shots below, you can clearly see two sets of eyes in the front.


In the other two photos below, you can see the other two sets of eyes, one set being directly on the side of the head, and the other set on the top of the head!  Can you imagine what it would be like to look through 4 sets of eyes?


The second species for the day is a Peppered Jumper.  I got lucky and spotted him on the side of a blad or grass!  He's only about 3mm long!  Super tiny and quite difficult to hold my focus on him.  I had to pluck the blade of grass to get the eye shot, hold it with my left hand, and shoot the camera with my right.  Determination pays off:)

Peppered Jumper


Being in "Macro Mode" this week has been quite refreshing.  It definitely changes the pace of things.  There are always bugs and spiders to photograph, which is the easy part, but taking clear macro photos is much more complicated that larger birds and mammals.  I think I'll probably stay in Macro Mode for awhile, at least until I stumble across something else.  Hope you enjoy the jumpers!


Saturday, July 6, 2013

More Bugs and Birds

I got to go over to the Hennepin Visitor Center this morning.  I haven't been over there since March, so I was excited to see what I could find.  I brought along my macro lens just in case, and I am glad I did.  I wasn't seeing any deer or turkeys, so I had to resort to the bugs again:)

Asian Lady Beetle

Assassin Bug Egg Cluster

Blue Dasher Dragonfly

Flower Crab Spider

Flower Longhorn Beetle

Unidentified Fly

I just love closeups of flies, as disgusting as they are.

Green Immigrant Leaf Weevil

Other than insects, I did get a couple of other non-arthropodal creatures.

Gray Catbird in the shadows.

Gray Tree Frog- This guy was so tiny, I used my macro lens on him.  Not much bigger than a milkweed beetle!

House Wren


Monday, July 1, 2013

Macro Monday

Now that all the foliage is thick, and the heat finally setting in, I have not been seeing many critters moving about other than birds.  As much as I like to photograph birds, my patience wears quite thin when it is so hot and buggy.  To alleviate this, I got out the macro gear and decided to get some practice.  I tried using the tripod yesterday, but that became frustrating with the wind, so today I free-handed the camera and got some decent shots.  I need to work on steadying myself, as macro is not very forgiving for sharpness.  Takes practice:)  Anyway, here's what I found:

Blowfly

Bluet Damselfly

Bluet Damselfly

 Boxelder Bug Nymph

 Boxelder Bug Nymph in Spider Web

 Broad Nosed Weevil

Cantharis Soldier Beetle

 Cobalt Milkweed Beetle

 Mud Dauber Wasp

 Red Milkweed Beetle

Red Milkweed Beetle Peekaboo

 Scudder’s Bush Katydid Nymph

 Syrphid Fly

Unidentified Weevil Ready for Takeoff!

 Widow Skimmer Up Close and Personal

I had forgotten how much I love photographing insects.  It's quite a challenge, and many variables can affect success.  I actually started my photography hobby due to my obsession towards identifying every possible insect.

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