07.13.2014 Doggies

Hah!  Fooled ya.  Not what you were expecting, I bet.  This is a Dogbane Beetle (Chrysochus auratus)  and one of my favorites.  It gets its name, for those who aren’t familiar, from the Dogbane plant (Apocynum cannabinum) aka Indian Hemp, among other Apocynums,  that it feeds upon.  And, no, I have not tried to smoke it to see. :-)Dogbane-Beetle-2-071214-600WebThe colorful iridescence of these beetles is irresistible.  This was the only one I found on a very long row of dogbane, but the season is early and I hope to find a few more before their time is up.Dogbane-Beetle-1-071214-600WebPretty cool insect, eh?  I did get out for the full moon again last night and this morning……yawn.      But everything is still in the camera.  I hope to process them later today and, if they were successful, share them tomorrow.

Posted in Closeup Photography, Insects, Nature Photography | Tagged , , , , , , | 30 Comments

07.12.2014 Super Full Buck Moon

Here is what I hope is the first of two or three full moon posts.  July’s full moon, the Full Buck Moon, also is a super moon as it is a bit closer than average.  The actual time for the full moon was about 7:30 this morning, but with sunrise at 5:24 and the moon setting at 5:46, the time to photograph was a bit early but the difference is not really visible.

I had thought about framing the moon inside some limbs of a maple tree on Mount Pollux, but that wasn’t working out.  So I went back down the hill and found this view of the Holyoke Mountain Range from below the parking lot.  I wish I had arrived at my decision a few minutes sooner so there would be a bit more separation between the mountains and moon, but this works ok.  Full-Moon-over-the-Holyoke-Range-071214-600WebAlthough it will be past my bedtime, I will be out this evening to try another location.  Moonrise will be close to sunset and I am hoping to combine the rising moon with some nice light on a local tower.

Posted in Landscape, Mountains, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

07.09.2014 Big rock in the middle of the stream

Maybe I can rework Loudon Wainwright’s “Dead Skunk in the Middle of the Road” to accompany this image.    :-)

The other day, I raised the question of what to do with the big rock that was contributing to the strong flow in the second image of that post.  I did get an image of the rock and, while not necessarily my most artistic undertaking, this does show the rock, its position and raises a question about how it got there.  Is it a remnant erratic from the glacial retreat or am I just lucky I wasn’t standing there when it rolled down the embankment?


Posted in Black and White, Intimate Landscape, Landscape, Nature Photography, Water, Western Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts Waterfalls and Cascades | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 19 Comments

07.08.2014 Canada Lily

I find the Canada Lily (Lilium canadense) a spectacular plant.  Sometimes it can be found with as many as a dozen lovely blooms hanging pendulously from its tall stem.  The slightest of breezes can cause long waits for a motionless subject, but who can complain about having to sit and stare at such beauty.

I am fortunate to have a meadow close at hand, the Brickyard Conservation Area,  with several of these flowers although the meadow is quite overgrown with all sorts of shrubs and other tall plants.  It is also overgrown at ground level with poison ivy.  Lots of poison ivy.

A few days ago, I found this one bud with a great background that I hoped would be in full bloom the next time I visited.Canada-Lily-Bud-070314-600WebPlans don’t always work out.  Someone could decide to dine on the bud.  I could go elsewhere and return when too late….the most common consequence of being easily distracted by, say, Wahconah Falls after a heavy rain event.   :-)

But the stars were with me and on Sunday I hit the jackpot.Canada-Lily--070614-600WebI caught that just as the sun was peeking over the trees.  Although a bit strong, I like the intense warmth of the light on the orange petals.  I made sure the anthers were well lit with a small reflector held just below the flower.

Walking around, there were many blooms and buds.  This one seemed to be having a hard time facing the new day.Canada-Lily-unfolding-070614-600WebI hope you enjoyed this look at the Canada Lily.  I did hang one from a few years back in the exhibit and that will show up at some point when I manage to put together a post with the displayed images.

Posted in Closeup Photography, Flora, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , , , | 18 Comments

07.06.2014 Wahconah Falls….again.

I wonder…have I mentioned that I like to revisit places a lot?  I have?  :-)

We just came out of two days of heavy rain, the second the result of Hurricane Arthur.  We only got a glancing blow from the storm in my town, but the western part of the state and the Berkshire Hills got enough for some flash flooding.  Seemed like a good time to visit Wahconah again.

I hadn’t seen this much water flowing over the falls since Hurricane Irene in September of 2011.  There may have been too much water.  :-)   I am thinking of going back tomorrow to see if two days of overflowing brought the level down to a more photographically manageable amount…..although I am very pleased with this result.Wahconah-Falls-070514-600Web

After this, I went a bit downstream to see what else was happening.  There were several possibilities, but there also always seems to be something that ruins the composition like a fallen tree or heavy collections of foam, which I do not care for.  So I went in for a closeup.Wahconah-Falls-Brook-eddy-070514-600WebThe rock on the right is actually quite large and I am hoping to figure out a way to highlight it some day, but yesterday’s conditions didn’t work.

And, finally, a little something of long exposure for my Swiss correspondent.  :-)Wahconah-Falls-Brook-rock-070514-600WebToday was a flower and frog day and tomorrow, I think, will be another waterfall day  All will depend on the morning sky.

Posted in Intimate Landscape, Landscape, Nature Photography, Patterns in Nature, Water, Waterfalls, Western Massachusetts, Western Massachusetts Waterfalls and Cascades | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 20 Comments

07.04.2014 Swamp Rose

Here’s another flower from yesterday’s walk through the Brickyard Conservation Area in Amherst.  There were many of these blooms but very few that hadn’t been battered by the rains.  And after last night’s thunder storms I imagine any that weren’t tight buds are not looking too good today.  At least I was fortunate enough to find this one.Swamp-Rose-070314-600WebSwamp Rose (Rosa palustris).  This is along the boardwalk and that nipped stem must be from the conservation commission folks grooming the trails.

On another note, traffic on the blog has dropped lately.  Was it something I said?  :-)  Any suggestions for raising the number of visitors/likes/comments would be appreciated.

Posted in Closeup Photography, Flora, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , , | 16 Comments

07.03.2014 Common St. Johnswort

This morning followed a heavy rain, so I wasn’t expecting too much.  Most of the plants were bent over and looking generally bedraggled.  But a few stood up to the weather and one was Common St. Johnswort (Hypericum perforatum) which appears to be the only alien of the several St. Johnsworts we see.

Yellows are tough colors, but an overcast day sure helps. An overcast day is almost always preferable in flower photography.  And getting to the plant early in flowering is a help as well.  Once this bloom fades, it persists for a while as a brown dried out mass which makes the plant less lovely.  They are most often found along roadsides and in waste areas and are notably brown and unattractive from a distance.

So, without further ado, here is my post of this lovely flower.  I did get it with the first bud to bloom.  Common-St.-Johnswort-070314-800FBI did a shot of this flower in similar composition and light a few years back which is now hanging on the wall in my exhibit. http://stephengingoldphoto.photoshelter.com/gallery-image/Flora/G0000J7rraELfG3M/I0000jwodVXwkhB8

One of my first wildflower images was this plant.  That was many years ago and as much as I liked the shot, it was a beginner’s effort (full bright sunlight and a few spent blooms) and has not stood the test of time.  :-)

Posted in Closeup Photography, Flora, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tagged , , , , , , | 9 Comments