Royalty in the Garden

Today’s post features a few images I captured over the weekend of a Monarch butterfly that visited my rural Missouri butterfly garden. I saw a few Monarchs back in late spring, but until this weekend, I had not seen any. I’m hoping I will continue to see them as they add such beauty to the garden! And I’ll have to check the numerous milkweed plants to see if any eggs were laid! Enjoy some of my favorite images:

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

Monarch Butterfly

By the way, please be aware that I am busy starting a new photo project, one that will have me working both days and nights. I’ll share more about it later, but for the next week or so, there will be little activity on my blog posts and social media posts. But if things work out well, there will be some interesting posts coming up!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-5.6 IS lens
  •  Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter various speeds

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Friendly Eating Contest

Images in today’s Fun Friday post was captured a couple of days ago in my rural Missouri butterfly garden. As I walked past my butterfly garden, a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth captured my attention. As I watched it, the moth moved to a Butterfly Bush flower, where a Silver-spotted Skipper was already collecting nectar. I grabbed my camera and captured these images of both insects as they both continued their seek for the sweet prize:

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth and Silver-spotted Skipper

Clearwing Hummingbird Moth and Silver-spotted Skipper

I’ve been seeing a lot of the Hummingbird Moths lately. I’m hoping that they will utilize one of the two Datura plants I put out this year; the Datura plant is a host plant for the Hummingbird Moth.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/800 sec. and 1/1000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Fun Friday post, Insect Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Pipevine Swallowtail Cats

Today’s post features a couple of images from my recent visit to a wonderful, private butterfly garden near Paola, Kansas. The Pipevine Swallowtails were very busy around several Dutchman’s Pipevine plants that grow here. Here are a couple of favorite images:

A small Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar that we found on a Dutchman’s Pipevine leaf:

Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillar

Here is a collection of Pipevine Swallowtail caterpillars that the garden’s owner had found (she takes them inside the house to protect them from visiting birds):

Pipevine Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillars

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 180mm f/3.5 macro lens
  • Handheld
  • ISO 800 (used since hand-holding macro lens)
  • Aperture f/11 (both images)
  • Shutter 1/30 sec. (top image) and 1/15 sec. (bottom image)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Shootin’ the Moon

Friday evening, I took my telescope and camera equipment to a nearby farm field. My goal was to photograph Mars as it was in opposition (directly across from the sun and very bright). The forecast was not too bad … partly cloudy until about midnight, then clouds moving in. No problem, I would have a couple of good hours before clouds set in … NOT!

As the moon rose above the horizon, I grabbed some images of the nice, full moon. As time progressed, clouds began to pour in. As Mars rose high enough to see, I was able to see it a couple of times … it was very bright red. Unfortunately, the visible times were very short and insufficient to lock the focus on the telescope on it. So, no Mars images. But here are some interesting full moon images I did capture:

Full Moon over a Cass County farm

This next image was captured through the telescope, on low power:

Full Moon over a Cass County farm

Full Moon over a Cass County farm

Full Moon over a Cass County farm

Full Moon over a Cass County farm

Looks more like Halloween, doesn’t it!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body (on 500mm f/4 lens)
  • Canon 5D Mark III body (on telescope)
  • Telescope on telescope tripod; 7D/500mm on Bogen 3221 tripod with Wemberley gimbal head
  • ISO 500 and ISO 1000
  • Aperture f/4 (thru 500mm lens) and f/19 (telescope)
  • Shutter 1/8 sec. (photo #2, thru telescope) and 1/20 sec. to 1/40 sec. (thru 500mm lens)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Astrophotography, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Fri: Horrible Yet Wonderful

Today’s Fun Friday post features an image I captured yesterday morning, shortly after sunrise, at my rural Missouri home. As I began doing some dreaded housecleaning, my driveway alarm went off. I was sure it was the twin fawns again (I’m seeing them everyday now … in fact, the two are with mom in the backyard right now, grazing). But I saw nothing. Keeping my eyes trained to the area covered by the monitor, I was both surprised and thrilled to see a large, adult Bobcat emerging from the woods!

I grabbed my camera (it was on the kitchen island, right behind me) and began to photograph. But the camera wouldn’t fire. Seems I had removed the memory card the night before, to download images onto my computer, and failed to return it! I ran into another room, grabbed another memory card, ran back into the kitchen and inserted the card. By this time, the bobcat was farther away and beginning to cross my front yard. I did manage to capture ONE image … a rather horrible image, but one that was wonderful to capture:

Bobcat

I have seen several bobcats on my property in the 18 years I’ve lived here. But this one was the largest one I’ve ever seen here, by far. In fact, when I first saw it, I thought it may have been a small mountain lion crossing our area (rare, but occasionally happens).

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6 IS lens
  •  Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/4 sec. (I didn’t have time to play with exposure controls … just a quick “point and shoot”)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Mammals, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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None Fresher Than These!

During last week’s photo trip to a Master Gardener friend’s butterfly garden near Paola, KS, I was fortunate to watch a Pipevine Swallowtail as she laid her eggs on a Dutchman’s Pipevine plant (host plant for the Pipevine Swallowtail). I was unable to capture the actual egg laying process as she was about 18-inches above my head. As you can imagine, almost impossible to shoot macros, handheld, in that position, especially with movement from the subject!

So, I waited for her to complete the process, then moved in to capture a couple of images of the fresh eggs:

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly eggs

Pipevine Swallowtail butterfly eggs

These images are a tad out-of-focus, due to the need to handhold, over my head. But still a neat encounter!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 180mm f/3.5 macro lens
  •  Handheld
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/160 sec. (top photo) and 1/125 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Pearl Crescent Party!

While walking past my butterfly garden yesterday, I looked down to see a party going on in a nice clump of Black-eyed Susans. There were at least a couple dozen Pearl Crescent butterflies busy collecting nectar from the wildflowers. Here is a small portion of them:

Pearl Crescent Butterflies on Black-eyed Susans

Later, once the sun had gone behind the treeline and the butterflies had left, I grabbed this image of the Black-eyed Susans:

Black-eyed Susan Wildflowers

This clump was planted last fall and is doing exceptionally well. I don’t remember the species name, but this was a relatively new hybrid that is supposed to yield long-blooming flowers. So far, they’re doing as advertised!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 180mm f/3.5 macro lens
  •  Handheld
  • ISO 400 (top photo) and ISO 800 (bottom photo)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (top photo) and f/16 (bottom photo)
  • Shutter 1/160 sec. (both images)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: The Complete Smile

In today’s Fun Friday post, I’m featured a view of the Black Swallowtail caterpillar that you probably don’t see very often. As a photographer, it’s a view that I get all too often, but usually don’t want!

While in my friend’s beautiful butterfly garden a couple of days ago, there were three Black Swallowtail caterpillars busy eating away at a fennel plant. I had much enjoyment capturing macro images of this trio … I ended up spending about an hour and a half with them! One of the images contained one of the caterpillars as it turned and worked it’s way along a fennel branch, pointed away from me. I was totally surprised with the upside-down “smile” he was giving me:

Black Swallowtail Butterfly caterpillar

Coming up … more images of these three caterpillars as they alternately “ravage fed” on the fennel, and then rested for some time (is there tryptophan in fennel?)  :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 180mm f/3.5 macro lens
  •  Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Fun Friday post, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Monarch Caterpillar Macros

Yesterday I traveled to my Master Gardener friend’s butterfly garden near Paola, Kansas, for some photography. Today’s post includes a few of the images I captured of a single, Monarch Butterfly caterpillar that was busy feeding on a Milkweed plant. The caterpillar was very small, maybe 3/4-inch long at best. Here are my favorites images from the morning:

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar

Monarch Butterfly Caterpillar

I particularly enjoyed photographing this small caterpillar, mainly due to the excellent background that I shot against. In macro photography, often the background is at least as important as the subject. When you can get a wonderfully out-of-focus background, it makes for a very fun day of shooting!

Coming up … more caterpillar species from this exquisite garden!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 180mm f/3.5 macro lens
  •  Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 200 (all photos)
  • Aperture f/3.5 (photos #1, #3), f/8 (photo #2), and f/6.7 (photo #4)
  • Shutter 1/500 sec. (top photo), 1/125 sec. (photo #2), 1/350 (photo #3) and 1/180 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Bombarded by Dragons

Today’s post features a couple of photos captured over the past few days in my rural Missouri butterfly garden. Dragonflies seem to swarm around garden … I suspect they have a wide variety of small insects to choose from here.

Here is a Widow Skimmer, resting on a plant stake. In the background one of the Black-eyed Susan wildflowers is giving a bright, yellow glow:

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

A little while later, this Green Clearwings dragonfly (I’ve seen it called several different common names, but my resource guide calls it the Green Clearwings). He is resting on a plant cage that I built and placed around some tender wildflowers to keep the raccoons out:

Green Clearwing Dragonfly

I hope to get out soon and capture some more dragonfly images.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 – f.5.6 IS lens, shot at 400mm
  •  Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 250 (top photo) and ISO 400 (bottom photo)
  • Aperture f/9 (both photos)
  • Shutter 1/320 sec. (top photo) and 1/640 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

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