07.16.2014-Two Skimmer Dragonflies

Here are two nice fresh dragonflies of the Libellula genus.

This first has the dark basal wing patches that are typical  of Widow Skimmers (Libellula luctuoso). This is a female.Widow-Skimmer-imm.-female-2-071214-600WebThe second is a female Spangled Skimmer (Libellula cyanea) with stigma that are two toned which is an indicator of the species.  Widow-Skimmer-imm.-female-071214-600WebBoth are lovely specimens.  I got pretty wet crawling around to get the proper angle but it was worth it.  I found them just before the sun rose above the trees and ended the nice soft light.
Entomologists are a great bunch.  I had misidentified the second dragonfly, but a friend on Facebook straightened me out on that one.

Posted in Closeup Photography, Insects, Nature Photography, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , | 12 Comments

07.15.2014 Shooting the full moon with The Photographer’s Ephemeris

Sounds like I am going to give a tutorial, doesn’t it?  Well, I know better than trying to ‘splain myself.  I always get it wrong somehow, which is why this post is necessary.

In my previous post, Goodbye Moon, I complained about an inaccuracy with TPE.   The software’s developer, Stephen Trainor, popped in and shared some information, which I should have known, about the use of the program that would have saved me the disappointment.  So I am sharing a link to the video that will help you, and me, get there on time and in the right place.

About 5 minutes in is the information about elevations and how to plan for them.  I did watch this a long time ago and that part of the program disappeared from my consciousness.  My bad, as some say.  RTFM, as some say.  This post is to straighten out my undeserved complaint as a way of a) being up front about things…even when they embarrass me…and b) thanking Stephen for creating this fine software and sharing it with us.  And I do mean share….it is free for your desk or laptop and just a small amount for your pad or phone.

And, as an example of how it did get me to the right place at the right time, here is one more full moon image from the morning of Saturday the 12th looking at the Holyoke Range from Mount Pollux.Full-Buck-Moon-over-the-Holyoke-Range-2-071214-600WebThanks, Stephen.

Posted in Landscape, Mountains, Nature Photography, Photographer's Websites | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

07.14.2014 Goodbye Moon

I did make a few more images with the Full Buck Moon of July.  I had this idea that highlighting the moon and Quabbin Tower would make for an interesting picture.  The Photographers Ephemeris got me to the right place at the right time, or so I believed.  Turns out it isn’t 100% all the time.  The moon rose over Quabbin Hill a half hour later than predicted and off by several degrees in the azimuth.  I had thought it would rise behind or close to the tower according to TPE.  I’ll try again another time and possibly from a different position along the shore.

Missed it by this much. Full-Moon-and-Quabbin-Tower-071214-600WebIt was a lovely moon though so I gave it a solo shot.  I did not try to fill a frame as the net will be loaded with full frame shots done with longer lenses for better detail.   I think I prefer the wider (or in this case-taller) view anyway.Full-Moon-Reflection-over-Quabbin-Hill-071214-600WebYesterday morning I thought it would be a good idea to frame the moon with the Quabbin Tower more up close.  And hence the post’s title.Full-Moon-and-Quabbin-Tower-071314-600WebOur next scheduled Super Moon is in August and should be even larger according to reports I’ve read.  I am looking forward to working with a super model.

Posted in Landscape, Nature Photography, Quabbin, Western Massachusetts | Tagged , , , , , , | 32 Comments

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?

Wahconah-Falls-Stream-Rock-070514-600Web-BW

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