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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

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: , , , , , , , , , ,
2 Comments

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: , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

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)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Insect Photography, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Update on the Twins

Today’s post features some updated images of the twin White-tailed Deer fawns, along with momma doe, as they foraged in my front yard yesterday morning. Again, I had to shoot through glass and window screen to get these shots, so the quality is not quite what I like. I’d love to be outside and capture them, but I just won’t take the chance on frightening them off. Maybe I’ll get lucky one of these days!

White-tailed Doe with twin fawns

White-tailed Doe with twin fawns

White-tailed Doe with twin fawns

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 – f.5.6 IS lens, shot at 220mm to 400mm
  •  Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/5.6 (all)
  • Shutter 1/20 sec. and 1/25 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Mammals, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Zebras in My Garden!

During our recent “cool” spell, I spent the mornings in my rural Missouri butterfly garden, weeding and taking care of the garden. At one point, I looked up and saw three Zebra Swallowtail (Eurytides marcellus) butterflies busy seeking nectar from some of the many plants. So I ran inside, grabbed my camera and returned to the garden for some fun “work”.

Here is a collection of some of my favorite images I captured:

Zebra Swallowtail feeding on a Purple Coneflower

Zebra Swallowtail feeding on a Purple Coneflower

Zebra Swallowtail feeding on a Purple Coneflower

Zebra Swallowtail feeding on a Purple Coneflower

Zebra Swallowtail feeding on a Purple Coneflower

Zebra Swallowtail feeding on a Purple Coneflower

Zebra Swallowtail feeding on a Purple Coneflower

Zebra Swallowtail butterfly feeding on Butterfly Bush

The butterflies were consistently at either the Butterfly Bush or the Purple Coneflowers. I love seeing these beauties in the garden!

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 400 and ISO 800
  • Aperture f/9 (all photos)
  • Shutter 1/1000 sec. to 1/2500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Butterfly Photography, Insect Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Fun Friday: Dazed & Confused

Today’s post features a couple of images I captured this morning as I was preparing some other images for today’s blog post. As I worked at the computer, I looked up and noticed that this “new butterfly species” (a male American Goldfinch … does he think he is a butterfly???) was busy feeding on purple coneflower seedheds in my rural Missouri butterfly garden. I grabbed my camera and captured a couple of quick, grab shots before he saw me and flew from the flowers.

Unfortunately, I again had to shoot through a double-paned window and screen. But I did find an interesting thing during post editing. Since the images were a bit “cloudy” from shooting through the glass and screen, I thought I’d try the “Dehaze” tool in Lightroom, to see if it would help. I usually only use this tool with astrophotographic images, but it did seem to work pretty well in this situation, but still a bit “soft”! However, it is still not recommended to shoot through glass/screens, unless you absolutely must!!!

American Goldfinch male on Purple Coneflower

American Goldfinch male on Horsemint wildflowers

In my next post, I am planning on a couple of images of another White-tailed doe with her fawns … twins! I have still been seeing my single, very small fawn with his mother, but a doe with fawns have been observed several times this past week, just before sunset.

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 400 (all)
  • Aperture f/5.6 (both photos)
  • Shutter 1/160 sec. (top photo) and 1/80 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Photography Tips, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

A Mellow Yellow

Yesterday morning, just after the sun was rising over the western horizon, I ventured out into one of my rural Missouri prairie gardens to look for some dragonflies. I did find a few, but it was still early and lots of dew, so most of them were still hunkered down. But the landscape is developing into some nice colors right now. In this post, I’m featuring some images of some Gray-headed Coneflowers (Ratibida pinnata) that are in nice bloom right now:

Black-eyed Susan Wildflowers

Black-eyed Susan Wildflowers

Black-eyed Susan Wildflowers

Coming up … some more wildflowers from yesterday’s morning photo session.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 – f.5.6 IS lens, shot at 190mm to 400mm
  •  Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400 (all)
  • Aperture f/5 (top photo), f/5.6 (bottom two photos)
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. (top photo), 1/125 sec. (middle photo), 1/100 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Blog, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Cattle Egret Dispute

Today’s post comes from my recent (February 2018) photo trip to Florida. While kayaking around Bird Island (a rookery near St. Petersburg), I captured a series of images of a couple of Cattle Egrets that were busy in a nesting territorial dispute on the island:

Cattle Egrets in a Dispute

Cattle Egrets in a Dispute

Cattle Egrets in a Dispute

During nesting season, you must always be ready for the unexpected. The cattle egret on the right was sitting in the trees of the rookery, when a second cattle egret (on the left) flew in to claim a nest spot. Apparently, the first egret thought his “neighbor” was infringing on his real estate! Note the buff colored head feathers … these two egrets were just coming into breeding plumage.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark II body
  • Canon 100-400mm f/4.5 – f.5.6 IS lens, shot at 210mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”, from my kayak
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

2018 FOY Roseatte Spoonbill

Today’s post features some new photos I captured of a Roseatte Spoonbill, my targeted species of my February trip to Florida. The Roseatte Spoonbill is one of my favorite birds to photograph. I just love the beautiful pinks/reds of this magnificent bird. I only wish we had some in Missouri!

While photographing at the Venice Rookery (Venice, Florida), a single Roseatte Spoonbill flew into the rookery and landed a short distance from where I had my tripod set up. This was the first, and only Roseatte Spoonbill I’ve seen at the rookery, so this was quite an unexpected surprise. Here is a sequence of images I captured as this “spoony” flew in from across the rookery pond:

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Roseatte Spoonbill

Coming up … more Roseatte Spoonbills, as well as other nature images from Florida.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark III body
  • Canon 500mm f/4 IS lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod with Wemberly gimbal head, with IS “Off”
  • ISO 500 (all images)
  • Aperture f/4 (all images)
  • Shutter 1/8000 sec. (all images)

 

 

Posted in 2018, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment