It’s a Zoo Out There, Part 1

I was hoping to have some new images of dragonflies to post today, but I’ve not seen any around my rural Missouri butterfly garden over the past few days. I don’t know if the extremely hot temperatures are causing them to lay low, or I’ve just not been in the garden at the right time. But I will continue keeping an eye out for them. However, I have been blessed to have some wonderful “zoo butterflies” visiting the purple coneflowers. Today’s post features one of the zoo creatures, the Tiger Swallowtail butterfly. These are one of my favorite butterflies … large in size, beautifully colored/patterned, and always such a joy to see! Here are a few of my favorite images from my rural “zoo”:

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

And a close-up of one of these beauties:

Tiger Swallowtail butterfly

This is the first year the butterfly garden has really come into a dense garden of colorful blooms … so pleased to have this colorful attraction right outside my front door!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/250 sec
Posted in 2017, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Pollinator at Work

With our extremely hot temperatures, I have not been out much for photography lately. But I do manage to make an occasional walk-through of my butterfly garden, right outside my front door and in beautiful bloom right now! During my walk-through yesterday, I did find some pollinators busy at work:

Bumblebee on Purple Coneflower wildflower

Bumblebee on Purple Coneflower wildflower

I’ve also seen a couple of species of dragonflies visiting the garden, so I’m working on capturing some images of them for another post.  :o)

Note:  I have just contracted with the Harrisonville, MO branch of the Cass County Library system, to present a program to area residents about the upcoming total solar eclipse, which will reach totality not far from the community. The program is free and no pre-registration is required. The program will be presented at 6:00pm on Wednesday, August 09 at the Harrisonville library. If you live in the area, please consider attending this informative and interesting program!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/1600 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Fun Friday post, Insect Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Cat in the Garden

Today I’m featuring another notable find from my recent butterfly garden tour at a wonderful butterfly garden near Paola, Kansas. A couple of butterfly caterpillars (“cats”) were busy feeding on one of the garden plants as I walked the path through the garden. These caterpillars will soon become beautiful Black Swallowtail (Papilio polyxenes) butterflies:

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

In this next image, a purple coneflower peaks into the frame:

Black Swallowtail Caterpillar

I’m already planning another visit to this wonderful garden. I’ll likely re-visit the garden in about a month, after I’m done photographing the upcoming Perseids meteor shower and the total eclipse. Can’t wait to see what awaits me!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/320 sec

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Cautious Widow Skimmer

While touring a wonderful butterfly garden near Paola, Kansas last week, I found a somewhat wary Widow Skimmer (Libellula luctuosa) dragonfly, “hiding” behind a stem on the plant he was perched in:

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

Moving slowly, I was able to move to my right to get an image from a slightly different angle:

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

A short time later, I returned to the area and found a more suitable composition:

Widow Skimmer Dragonfly

With a wary subject, you have to be patient and work slowly. Although not always, you usually can work with a wary individual and end up getting some acceptable images.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2500 sec. and 1/3200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Insect Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Monarch & Rattlesnake Interaction

The local Missouri Master Gardener group I’m a member of had a great week. On Wednesday morning we met and drove to a wonderful butterfly garden that a nearby Kansas Master Gardener established many years ago. We had a very educational tour from the local butterfly expert, learning much about the butterflies and the plants. I also managed to grab a few photos as we walked among the many plants established for the butterflies. I decided to feature this interesting photo of a beautiful Monarch butterfly seeking nectar from a Rattlesnake Master wildflower:

Monarch butterfly on Rattlesnake Master wildflower

I requested and received permission to return at a later time for some more butterfly/caterpillar photography. Since I’m busy preparing equipment/techniques for the upcoming Perseids meteor shower, followed on it’s heels by the total solar eclipse, I’ll likely make another trip to this wonderful butterfly garden once the eclipse is over.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500 (due to a strong, gusty wind)
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/1000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Fun Friday post, Insect Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Eastern Kingbird

Today’s post comes from the Loess Bluffs NWR (formerly called Squaw Creek NWR) in northwest Missouri, as I passed through the area on my way home from the Columbia River Gorge of Oregon. The Eastern Kingbird is a common bird in Missouri. This bird is often seen perched on a tree/shrub limb near an open area and waiting for a passing insect. Here are a couple of my favorite images from the trip:

Eastern Kingbird

Eastern Kingbird

I often have encounters with this bird when mowing my rural acreage. As I mow, insects often scatter into the air and the kingbird swoops down from his perch to catch the insects in mid-air.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld from the car window, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Moth Mullein

An always wonderful find in the early summer … the Moth Mullein wildflower:

Moth Mullein wildflower

Moth Mullein wildflower

Moth Mullein wildflower

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod and ballhead
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/350 sec. to 1/3000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Bull Elk in Velvet

While photographing at the Neil Smith NWR (near Des Moines, Iowa) a couple of weeks ago, I discovered there were some elk on the refuge. I was aware of a bison herd, but had never heard about or seen any elk. But as I drove the backside of the refuge, I saw a small group of about 6 bull elk grazing along the hillside. They were a long way from the car, but I managed to find a place to pull over and grab a few images. Here are a couple of my favorite:

Bull Elks grazing along the hillside

Bull Elk grazing along the hillside

If you look closely, you will see that the elks’ antlers are covered with a soft, fuzzy-looking material called “velvet”. This material furnishes a blood supply to supply the antlers with nutrients. As the elk’s antlers mature late in the season, this velvet is rubbed off and the antlers harden into “woody-looking” antlers. These mature antlers are sported by the elk to both attract cow elks and also for jousting with other, competing bulls, for rights to maintain and mate with his harem of cows.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/1,250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Mammals, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Little Bird on the Prairie

While recently photographing at the Neil Smith NWR (near Des Moines, Iowa), I photographed one of the many male Dickcissels I saw/heard on a meadow on the refuge. Dickcissels are very common prairie birds and can be seen and heard singing just about anytime I visit a prairie. Here are a couple of my favorite images:

Dickcissel perched on a prairie plant

Dickcissel singing on the prairie

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2,000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Wishing You A Colorful Fourth!

Today’s post features a brightly-colored clump of Black-eyed Susan wildflowers (Rudbeckia hirta), which I felt would be a nice start to the upcoming Fourth of July celebrations occurring across our great land. So enjoy this splash of color and have a great Fourth!

Black-eyed Susan Wildflowers

Black-eyed Susan Wildflowers

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/4.5
  • Shutter 1/1,000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2017, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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