So I'm out shooting bugs and things around the corner, right next to the restricted zone (the area they are supposed to be building a post office on, but there is nothing happening, save for grass growing) and had a pretty good time of it. As I am heading back to the car, I've already collapsed the monopod and am hand-holding the 40D & 100mm when I notice this hornet/wasp checking himself out in my side view mirror. I thought this rather odd as hornets are not known for their vanity, but this guy/gal was definitely checking him/herself out in the mirror. So all my carefully composed shots with the monopod are put to the side for this one hand-held quick shot of a hornet getting ready for a hornet-prom or some-odd social event that hornets attend when it is hot out.
I didn't realize my mirror was so dirty until I looked at it in LR.
This is the photo that would have made my PaD, had it not been for this hornet:
No wonder these little guys are tired, they are growing so fast. I can't believe how much they change every time I pop in on them. I think I spooked mama Jay today, she and hubby were shrieking at me as I was taking their kid's portraits. I was expected to get swooped upon (but didn't).
I was able to walk around to the other side of the tree and it turns out it has a much better view of the nest. I am not sure why I never saw this earlier. The best part about this angle is that the sun is pretty much to my back from this angle (I go around noon, so it is a slight "to my back").
They are starting to get their feathers and it looks painful with these barbs pushing out of their skin. This guy looks to have a bit of a scratch on him, I think it is from one of his siblings moving around in the nest, probably stuck him with a feather thing. I have to admit that I don't see any of this detail when I am at the nest taking the pictures. Remember, these guys are about the size of a computer mouse (tops), there is a lot more detail when you blow them up to 2 - 3 times their size.
I didn't bring a drinking glass with me today so no "through the drinking glass" shots. I actually thought about going to the kitchen store and getting some different glasses. I'd have to ask the clerk if they could recommend a good glass, something "L" quality...
Here are the other Blue Jay shots that didn't make the PaD:
Fox through the drinking glass
I'm having fun with the Drinking Glass thing. The distortion from the glass is pretty strong (as expected) AND it really plays havoc with available light and the light from the strobes necessary to get the subject illuminated.
Our dog thinks me to be crazy at times and wasn't really sure what to think with me pointing a drinking glass at him. I mean, how is a dog to react to someone pointing a drinking glass at them?
His name (our dog) is Fox Mulder. He is a Shiba Inu, we've had him for quite some time, as you can tell by the name ("the X-Files" was still on TV when we named him). He looks much better without a drinking glass obstructing him.
I have to work on the Drinking Glass approach, I need to find some glasses that do not distort quite as much. Either that or I need to work out the composition so that the sides of the glass reflect enough of the subject to make it a little more familiar.
I've posted a few other shots from outside today too:
Through the drinking glass - Rhodadendrum
I'm really liking this effect through the drinking glass. I'm grilling out right now (well, I am inside on the Mac at the moment) and decided to try this out on the Rhodadendrum next to our deck.
Very hot day today, pushed into the 80's. It was muggy too, felt like South Carolina weather again. . .
I didn't crop as much to leave my hands in to show what is really going on.
Through the drinking glass...
So I got a little busy at work and never had a chance to get out for my PaD shot. Probably a good thing as the weather was not conducive to photography.
This was a last minute idea, I was getting ready to make my supper and pulled out a drinking glass. I wondered what it would look like to shoot through the glass. It is NOT good glass. It is a Walmart special.
I started taking a few shots around the house through the glass and wound up with this one.
I'm not allowed to give out the subject matter, it needs to remain a guessing game. So what is this of?
(I still haven't had supper yet)
Here's a few more "Through the drinking glass" shots:
Baby Blue Jays - Update
I *thought* I'd be back to the Blue Jays a lot more this week, but the days appear to go a bit faster than planned.
They have almost doubled in size, but have not opened their eyes nor do they have any feathers yet. Mama Blue Jay was keeping them warm today, it was a tad bit chilly out and drizzly. I moved in for a few shots and got out of the way so Mama Blue Jay could come back and warm them up.
These shots of the nest have been with the 580EX on camera pointed directly forward with the diffuser down. There is not a lot of room to maneuver in this nest area and there is not a lot of light.
One good thing about the rain and mist was the spider webs, on my way back from the nest, I noticed a couple and took a few shots. I really needed to use the tripod and manual focus as only one shot (out of something like 50) was even closely in focus. It didn't make my PaD, but here's the link:
My daughter has taken a new interest in the computer now that her school laptop has been returned. Here in Maine, 7th & 8th graders are given a laptop (iBook) and allowed to take them home (if the parents agree) and basically live with them for the school year. She is very adept on a Mac now, she can whip through AppleWorks & Neo Office (Pages & Keynote, etc). She also has Office on the PC and is learning the Microsoft equivalents. As a teen, the drama level is high, we have heard "I don't know if I can make the summer" a number of times. "What am I going to do without my laptop?" so far she's doing fine, 2 days without a Mac.
It was raining out all day, something that we haven't seen much of this year. I decided on an indoor shot today and wanted some kind of shot that would work at 17mm. Her hand on the mouse works for me.
Geese on parade
It looks like I have a bird theme going here.
I've driven by these guys on my way into and out of work for the past week. Why I didn't stop earlier for photos is beyond me. They are docile enough to get within a decent range with the 70-200, though none of the closer up shots did it for me.
I think this is one of the first morning PaD shots I've taken this year (I believe there was one other during a snow storm). It made for a productive lunch (I picked up some much needed clothing).
These guys are huge compared to the previous birds.
I might have to stop off and try for a different composition, perhaps focus on one bird. There is quite the flock forming (or is it a Gaggle? - Do you Google for Gaggles when trying to learn more?) this shot only had a small subset of them (easily 3 - 4x more little guys than in the shot).
Note to bird-lovers/watchers: don't cringe at my ineptitude regarding birds, I will be moving on to more subjects I know little about soon enough.
Bluejays in the house
So after all the fun with the baby bird in our backyard yesterday, I figured the Bluejays must have hatched by now. Good thing I went, they have!
I was a little shocked to see what they looked like. I expected some feathers or something. They look so much like baby dragons or dinosaurs that I've used the "300" preset on a bunch of the other shots to give them that look. I've posted them in my 'other' gallery.
I decided to lead with the 17-55 f/2.8 IS today, I wanted to get in close and get a better DoF than I could with my 100mm. I'm glad I did, I got some great shots with the IS, and got in closer than I'd expected.
My daughter and I were trying to count the babies in the photo, It really looks like 5, but there were only 4 eggs in the nest (or so I thought). We both said "Twins" at the same time, but the eggs were just too small for that to be possible. Either I am mixing up a head for a body, or there was an extra egg stuffed beneath the others.
I can see myself spending a lot more time out near the nest this week as these little guys actually start looking like birds.
Here are a few of the shots from the "other" gallery (You'll have to browse around to see the rest)
Call Me a Toad?
This was NOT my planned PaD for today. I'd actually planned on doing some kind of indoor lightbox type shot. I even went to The Home Depot and Staples today to get some DIY materials for building one.
While mowing the lawn this afternoon, I noticed a Toad. It was a split second view, just before he went under the front of the mower. I pulled the mower up and moved to the side. I was reaching down to grab the Toad and put him into the woods (out of my way) when I realized it wasn't a Toad, it was a baby bird. I shut the mower off and that was when I heard all the commotion, its parents (and possibly entire extended family, squadron, whatever) were chirping away like crazy. I still had my thick work gloves on so I grabbed this little guy up and put him in my kids critter keeper while I finished the lawn (I didn't want him getting back under the mower). Afterwards, I broke out the camera for a few shots just before my family (& their friends) returned from the pool (association pool). Each group of children & women arrived with an "Awwwwww" "its sooo cute". My ten-year-old's first question was "can we keep it?". We actually have all the bird gear as she was planning on getting a Parakeet earlier this year, but it never happened. Each group of visitors asked "Did you touch it?" (I swear it was like a tape on a loop...).
We (ok, "I") put this little guy back under the maple trees where he/she fell but realized it wouldn't last long on the ground. I had him in an evergreen but it wouldn't stay there, kept falling/flying out (which I figure is good, exercise those wings). I don't have a very good prognosis for this little guy, we have a lot of cats & critters in the neighborhood.
This makes me wonder how the Blue Jay nest is doing. I will check it tomorrow at lunch.
Flower Eating Bug
I drove through a cemetery this evening for my PaD, I figured there'd be some decent flowers. I actually found a lot of bushes with flowers on them. This one flower had a little visitor. I didn't realize till I got into LR that this guy was actually eating the insides of the flower.
Right beside this flower was another one with a tiny little spider in it. I got a few shots of the spider but he was so small that none of the shots passed muster.
(Updated image: I didn't realize there was a bad color cast to this shot, I just corrected it and replaced it.)
So I head out to the field around the corner from work in search of a frog. I found a frog and decided to keep on walking to see if there was anything else interesting. I noticed some Daisies that were covered in spider webs. It looked interesting so I took a photograph of one then kept walking. On my way back, I saw a bee in a Daisy that was just behind where I knelt for the previous shot. I went relatively slow approaching the bee, but fast enough to get the shot before he flew away. As I got close enough, I realized this bee wasn't going anywhere soon. Apparently a spider had crafted quite a trap. It wasn't until I got home (much later) and was reviewing the shots, that I realized that there were a bunch of spiders all doing the same thing. They had surrounded the Daisies with their webs and were hiding beneath the petals, waiting for bugs to land. My kids thought this was pretty cool!
I took 160 photos of this one flower with the bee and the spider. It was pretty windy and I knew that there would be a number of blurred shots. Towards the end, I even mounted the flash and took about 30+ shots with it set to Hi speed sync.
This has to be my most interesting nature/macro shot to date. The Daisy alone was worthy of a shot, the bee on the Daisy was also worthy of a shot, but the spider chowing down on this bee on the Daisy is quite a find.
I'm deeming this one a "Hat Trick". . .
I've posted a few other shots from today in a couple of my galleries:
Finally got a Frog (2008):
BW Version of Shot: