I Spy Dragonfly

Twelve-spotted Skimmer in my front yard. Photo with Nikon D90 & 2 lens-mounted speedlights.

Twelve-spotted Skimmer in my front yard. Photo with Nikon D90 & 2 lens-mounted speedlights.

A Twelve-spotted Skimmer,
Settled in view.
Her gossamer wings,
Amazing see through.
Golden and glistening,
Spectacular light,
A gift to behold,
Such a beautiful sight.

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Tweet poem of the day.

This Beauty landed right in my front yard. I scrambled to get my camera & strobe lights set up, and luckily she (yes, it’s the female of the species) stayed for quite a while. She landed in our Euonymus at a height that was just perfectly aligned with our porch and made it very easy for a hand-held, walk-up “close encounter”.

For more on this amazing creature see: http://bit.ly/10Jz74P

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#9 Seven spotted ladybug

I found this ladybug in High Park. The photo is one of my first using lens mounted speedlights. I think the flash is a bit harsh in this shot. For most things it seems a bounced, softer light is better. I used a 105mm macro lens; exposure was 1/60 sec @ f/18.

And yes, they really do have 7 spots. The Coccinellidae family has over 5,000 species; sometimes referred to as Ladybirds.

The following is some interesting info from the Wikipedia article

“The name “ladybird” originated in the¬†Middle Ages when the insects were known as the “beetle of Our Lady” . They were named after¬†The Virgin Mary, who in early religious paintings was often shown wearing a red cloak. The spots of the seven spot ladybird were said to symbolise seven joys and seven sorrows.”

And, of course, they are insects, not bugs.

#8 White Oak Seedling #10

This is one of about 20 seedlings I photographed for my wife. She’s working on a series of botanical paintings to document the life cycle of the White Oak, Quercus alba.

The photo was taken May 21, 2010, the day we transplanted the seedlings to their separate pots. Digging them up gently allowed for a rare view of their root structure, and the process by which the outer shell of the acorn splits away.

The set up was: Nikon D80 with 105mm macro lens, 1/200 sec @ f36. I used two bounced speedlights inside a box made of foamcore mounting board. On some of the other photos (to be posted later on) I added a sheet of white paper in the lower foreground which helped a lot to reflect some light to the underside of the seedlings. I used a fresh sheet of paper under each new specimen and supported them with a paper clip pushed through the mounting board. They were all very muddy, but changing the paper really helped to make them look professional.

Another part of this set up was that I had my camera tethered to my laptop, and used a free software called Sofortbild to view the images full screen immediately after tripping the shutter. This is a huge help when small details are critical, and you can’t repeat the set up a second time. The software even provides a remote shutter release using your mouse/touchpad. Very neat.