Life Continues

Today’s post features a couple of Monarch butterfly chrysallises that have been busy transforming into beautiful Monarch butterflies, in my Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri) garage. These photos were captured shortly before the adult Monarch eclosed from the chrysallis (in the first image, note you can start to see the patterned orange/black wings, through the chrysallis skin):

Monarch butterfly chrysallis

A little “younger” chrysallis:

Monarch butterfly chrysallis

Monarchs have been a busy part of my recent life. I ended up with 5 chrysallises, and I was able to set up a camera in the garage and photographed them throughout their development. The status? Well, 2 Monarchs have been released so far, and a third one will be released later today, once it gets it’s “wings”.

Stay tuned for more images and, hopefully, a time-lapse video I’m working on!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180mm f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with ballhead
  • ISO 3200
  • Aperture f/16 to f/32
  • Shutter Speed variable

 

 

Posted in 2020, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: ,
Leave a comment

Fall in the Ozark Hills

Today’s post features some fall colors I photographed at the end of last week, in beautiful Ha Ha Tonka State Park (Missouri), located in the Ozarks.

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

Ha Ha Tonka SP, in fall colors

I’m hoping to get back there soon, to try to capture the peak of the color … but the wind here has been howling, so the trees may be becoming leaf-free.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 28-135mm f/3.5 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/16 and f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed 1/60 sec. to 1/3000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Blog, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography | Tags:
Leave a comment

Blushing Suzy

Today’s post features a new flower I grew in our Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri) butterfly garden this year. Known as “Blushing Suzies”, these gorgeous flowers were an instant hit with me … and a lot of butterflies! The Blushing Suzies are akin to Black-Eyed Susan Vines, differing in color.

I grew these from seeds, starting in late winter. After all frost chances, I transplanted these to several large, pots around the garden. I added a trellis in the center of the pots and trained them up the trellis … once they hit the top, they trailed downward. Blooms were profuse and gave a wonderful palette of pastel flowers, non-stop!

Although the monarchs weren’t very interested in these flowers, a couple species of swallowtails were, along with the sulphur (yellow) butterflies. The sulphurs seemed to be the most attracted to the Suzies. Already looking forward to growing more next year!

Here are a few images I captured of the Blushing Suzies in our garden:

Blushing Suzies (Thumbergia)

Blushing Suzies (Thumbergia)

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, and Canon 28-135mm f/3.5 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 100 and ISO 200
  • Aperture f/5.6 and f/8
  • Shutter Speed 1/8 sec. to 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Blog, Flower, Nature Photography | Leave a comment

Alien Life Form?

Today’s post features a couple of images I captured over the weekend. As the great Monarch butterfly migration towards Mexico progresses, I have a total of five Monarch “cats” that have been busy transforming into chrysalises (or, is that chrysali?). I managed to capture a lot of images of this metamorphosis, and I’m working on trying to put together a time-lapse video of the interesting and miraculous process. Since it may take a little while to get this video completed, I am featuring a couple of still images of the last “cat” as it begins the process of magically turning into a beautiful Monarch. I can imagine someone not familiar with the Monarch or the transformation process, recognizing this as an alien life form!  Enjoy!

Here is the upside-down Monarch “cat”, hanging from it’s tail end, and forming the characteristic “J” positioning, just prior to it’s last molt and transformation into a chrysalis:

Monarch caterpillar

At the conclusion of the transformation, the newly-formed chrysalis is shown, reminding me of one of the alien’s “human pods” in the classic, sci-fi movie, “The Body Snatchers”:

Monarch chrysalis

Stay tuned for more photos, and hopefully a video!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 6400 (top photo) and ISO 10000 (bottom photo)
  • Aperture f/16 (top photo) and f/32 (bottom photo)
  • Shutter Speed 1/20 sec. (top photo) and 1/10 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2020, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: ,
Leave a comment

Cats Galore!

Today’s post features some of the many Monarch “cats” (caterpillars) that we’ve been finding in our Lake of the Ozarks butterfly garden. We have quite a lot of milkweed plants, which is the Monarch’s host plant. For the past 2-3 weeks, the Monarch activity around the garden here has been quite high. Here are a few of my favorite macro photographs I’ve taken in the garden:

Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillars

Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar

Monarch caterpillar

In case you are wondering, the Monarch activity has been so busy here as they begin their southward migration for the winter.

As a special treat, I collected five Monarch cats and have them in some mesh butterfly cages. Three of the five have just transformed into their chrysalis … and I have been time-lapse photographing this transformation process. The last two cats are feeding heavily and will begin their transformation very shortly. Additionally, I hope to time-lapse photograph their emergence from the chrysalis, into the mature Monarch butterfly, which should begin soon!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 200 and ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5 thru f/16
  • Shutter Speed 1/30 sec. thru 1/1500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: ,
Leave a comment

A Nice Drop-in Visitor

Today’s post features an unexpected, but very welcome visitor to our Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri)  home. As I was watching for more osprey activity, this young adult Bald Eagle soared overhead at our lakeside home:

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

Bald Eagle

This eagle looked to be 4-5 years of age, as evidenced by the mottled coloring still in his feather coloration.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 640
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter Speed 1/1500 sec. to 1/6000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags:
Leave a comment

Fun Friday: Eggs-citing Times

Today’s “Fun Friday” post features a highlight for us this time of the year … the last of the migrating Monarchs have arrived! Today’s images were captured recently in our lakeside butterfly garden, where some Monarch butterfly eggs were observed on some Tropical Milkweed plant leaves:

Monarch butterfly egg

Cropping the same image to a much larger image:

Monarch butterfly egg

After these images were captured, we began seeing Monarch caterpillars (to be featured in another post). I collected five “cats” and have them in mesh butterfly cages, on our screened-in deck porch. I’m planning on photographing them (time lapse?) as they begin their transition into chrysalises (“chrysalii”?) and then into mature Monarch butterflies, at which time we will set them free to travel southward for the winter!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter Speed 1/500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: ,
Leave a comment

They Just Keep Coming

Today’s post again features the “fish hawk”, the Osprey. A little “gold mine” has hit in our cove … frequent visits from several ospreys. I’ve seen ospreys here, all throughout the summer, but their visits were very infrequent. However, lately there has been a steady stream of ospreys flying into our cove and fishing, often seeing 1-2 ospreys at a time, and over several times a day. Here are some images I captured yesterday afternoon, from our dock at the lake house (Lake of the Ozarks, Missouri). In these first two images, the osprey is slowly circling overhead, while intently keeping an eye on the waters below:

Osprey fishing

Osprey fishing

As it turned out, apparently no fish were seen. So, the osprey moved on out into the lake’s main channel, where I lost visual contact. But a few minutes later, this osprey appeared … with a small fish in it’s talons:

Osprey with fish

A few minutes later, a second osprey flew over, but did not take the time to circle and check out our waters.

Why the frequent visits lately? I’m guessing there is a nest nearby, resulting in multiple ospreys visiting our cove, searching for food. With the summer’s human traffic down, I’m hoping for more osprey visits … a closeup dip into the lake would be awesome to catch!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 250
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter Speed 1/1000 sec. to 1/1500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: ,
Leave a comment

Fun Friday: It’s a Pool Party!

Today’s “Fun Friday” post features a group of Canada Geese captured at the Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri), near our lake home recently. The dock owners had left their swim mat tied to the dock and the geese decided it was time for a Pool Party!  Enjoy!

Canada Geese relaxing at the Lake

Canada Geese relaxing at the Lake

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed 1/1000 sec. and 1/1500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography | Tags:
Leave a comment

A Dip Into the Lake

Today’s post features an osprey that was fishing in our cove at the Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri) a couple of days ago. Recently, the ospreys have been quite active in our cove. On this particular day, there were two ospreys circling overhead. One dove into the water and emerged with a fish and then flew away.

After grabbing my camera, the second osprey was still fishing. Here is the scene that played out in front of me … I’m not very good at estimating distances, but my “best guess” is that this osprey was somewhere in the 150-200 yard range. Thus, not good closeups, but still a thrill to observe. Here is the sequence that I witnessed, standing on our boat dock:

In this first image, the osprey can be seen diving, against the tree backdrop:

Osprey diving into the lake waters

Closing in on the water:

Osprey diving into the lake waters

An instant before hitting the water:

Osprey diving into the lake waters

Splash … touch down!

Osprey diving into the lake waters

After this dive, the osprey emerged with a nice fish, flying over me on his return to a perch to feed:

Osprey with fish

I’ve been trying, seemingly forever, to catch the osprey’s dive as it fishes. Although I managed to capture this event, I’m still looking to photograph a plunge that is even closer … still a “to do” item on my list!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter Speed 1/250 sec. to 1/4000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2020, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: ,
Leave a comment