Nature.

Carving, Sculpture, Lapidary & much more.
Michael Bootz
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Michael Bootz
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July 29th, 2017, 9:24 pm #141

Great photos. I love the lush green of the ferns and the fish nests are intiguing  I'll have to see if I can spot any around here.

A couple of recent shots (most from today):
Dragonflies laying eggs:




Mating damsels:


A weird looking iridescent beetle with huge antennae:


Tansy (Tanacetum vulgare) is blossoming here at the moment, creating a feast for loads of different insects:














Goldenrod is just starting to blossom, so I expect them to be buzzing with bees and other insects in a couple of days (will take photos for sure).
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Michael Bootz
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July 30th, 2017, 6:53 pm #142

A couple from today.
Floating seeds:


And two butterflies:


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Forager
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July 30th, 2017, 7:34 pm #143

Floating seeds are fascinating for their most clever mode of dissemination... so utterly light that their balloon-like parachutes are capable of bearing them over vast distances powered by breezes or even winds when compared to other methods. Some seeds have burrs which catch onto passing animals, others are thrown by plant structures which become springs which fling the seeds once they dry out.  Others have propeller-like wings which permit them to gain a limited distance from the parent plant so that their generational advances are steady and gradual, but they are all bettered for distant colonization by these delicate puffs which appear to float in suspension over our fields and meadows, even witnessed crossing mountain gaps and traversing open territories at speed. How admirable an adaptation, and well worth the economy of a flower which must create a separate aircraft for every developing seed.

All great shots Michael. This is refreshing consolation for the loss of so many of your previous images in this thread, which have made up the spine and body of this topic - Thanks.
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forginhill
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August 6th, 2017, 2:54 am #144

Michael, your photos are amazing!

This doesn't seem to be quite in its natural setting, but around here it is.....

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Michael Bootz
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August 7th, 2017, 7:03 am #145

YUCK!
Nice to see you posting in this thread, but...
..did it have to be THIS?

Seriously, the size of that spider is pretty impressive. Are these common where you live?
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Michael Bootz
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August 7th, 2017, 4:36 pm #146

A wasp nest. Not a good photo, just a quick snapshot. There were quite a lot of wasps coming and going:


The goldenrods are blooming right now so I tried to shoot some bees today. Interestingly there were as good as no bees on the goldenrod. They were teeming with wasps and lots of different flies, but only the occasional bee:






The few bees that were around stuck to the tansy:






I'm noticing that there are fewer bees around this year. My mother has coneflowers in her garden which should also be teeming with bees now. Lots of other insects, but I haven't seen a single bee on them yet. That does worry me a bit.

Rose chafer with partly unfolded wings:
Last edited by Michael Bootz on August 15th, 2017, 5:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Michael Bootz
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August 15th, 2017, 5:53 pm #147

An interesting looking insect I found today. I don't know what it is, never seen this one before:




And a close-up of a dragonfly:
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Quillsnkiko
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August 15th, 2017, 11:23 pm #148

Gosh that first insect is a interesting looking critter.I guess there is a app for smart phones....that will identify a insect from your photo....but I don't have a smart phone myself. Quills
" You can't stop the waves .... but, you can learn to surf."
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Michael Bootz
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August 19th, 2017, 12:01 pm #149

I don't have a smart phone either. I guess that makes us the only two people without one 

Here are two photos of a dragonfly I took the day before yesterday. This one was modelling patiently, so I could take lots of shots. In between the shooting session, it took off to catch an insect. Here it is munching it's prey. Chance has it that it seems to be the same species as the strange looking fly in my last post (judging from the tail and the pattern of the wing):


The same dragonfly, after finishing its meal:


This dragonfly was really not bothered by me at all. At some point, it even settled on my camera bag. I had to (gently) chase it away so I could pack my camera

Himalayan balsam (Impatiens glandulifera) is one of the worst invasives here. It spreads like wildfire, grows tall and outcompetes local flora. The ripe seed pods explode upon touch, making it spread even further. I don't have much love for this plant, but it's blossoms are pretty and the bees are all over it at the moment. Here's blossom:


As the bees have to crawl into the blossoms to gather nectar and pollen, the only way to get nice photos is to shoot when they get back out. Which is pretty difficult, as they take off immediately once they're outside again. A couple of recent attempts:










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Forager
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August 20th, 2017, 2:00 am #150

forginhill thanks for your arresting portrait of the Tarantula, it is an understatement to acclaim its impressive stature.


Michael, that novel insect in Comment 146 looks to be a mythological cross between something equine and a scorpion - how appropriate that of all things a dragonfly would be the one to prey upon it.  And among your most impressive images are those of swift-flighted insects just taking off.  I refer to the wasp in the opening shot which introduces Comment 145 and the bee taking leave of the Impatience concluding Comment 148 - just stunning timing.  I love how the bee's mid and hind legs remain stabilised on the blossom while the forelegs are retracting as the flight is underway.  Certainly an instantaneous and intuitive reflex for a bee, but for me to see this instant of transaction between 'grounded' and airborne it holds the very charm of Nature's magic, all beewildering physics aside.
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Michael Bootz
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August 22nd, 2017, 4:29 pm #151

Thanks, Steve.
Scorpion was one of my first associations as well. I'll try to find out what it really is - would be interesting to know.
And I like the word beewildering - a hot contender for the word of the year

I took some more photos of bees on Impatience flowers on Sunday.
Departing from the flowers (none as dramatic as the shot above, though):








Watching the bees one realizes how cleverly the flowers are constructed. Once the bees have crawled in, most of them have a really hard time turning around inside the flower to get back out (some crawl out backwards, though). So they just can't help getting loads of pollen all over their bodies, which they then carry to the next blossom.
Here's a shot of a bee inside a blossom:


Some even leave through one of the side doors:




And last but not least, some bee yoga:
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Bullethead
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August 22nd, 2017, 5:20 pm #152

During the eclipse on 21 August 2017, while everybody else was looking up, I was looking down.  To me, the coolest thing about eclipses is that they create natural camera obscura effects as small shafts of light penetrate overhead tree leaves.  Each shaft of light casts an image of the eclipse on the ground below, thus covering the ground in complex patterns of overlapping crescents.  So I took a lot of pics of this effect.

I was in Louisiana where the eclipse maxed out at about 80%.  These pics were taken at that point, about 1330 local time.  Zoom in to see the overlapping crescents.  


EDIT:  Replaced pics with bigger versions:


Eclipse 01 Small by TheBullethead, on Flickr




Eclipse 02 Small by TheBullethead, on Flickr




Eclipse 03 Small by TheBullethead, on Flickr




Eclipse 04 Small by TheBullethead, on Flickr




Eclipse 05 Small by TheBullethead, on Flickr




Eclipse 06 Small by TheBullethead, on Flickr
Last edited by Bullethead on August 23rd, 2017, 12:46 pm, edited 1 time in total.
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Forager
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August 23rd, 2017, 2:44 am #153

Thanks very much for this under-represented portrait of a rare (by human standards) stellar event. I love the very subtlety of it, the casual inference that every tree has at once and for its duration declared it countless times over, and in the sheer multiplicity of so many variable sizes. There is an un-sensational character to leaves telling of it upon the ground which lends it a timeless character which eclipses all of the hype associated with the clamor surrounding this natural and impressive event.

Thanks for looking the other way, it appears that you saw so very much more.
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Bullethead
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August 23rd, 2017, 12:33 pm #154

Thanks, Steve.  Nice play on words about this "eclipsing" the eclipse hype .  It's a shame this forum shrinks pics so much.  I'll try uploading them somewhere else in hopes I can get them to show up bigger in here, like all the glorious bug pics above .

It's really interesting how light acts.  Despite the eclipse reaching 80% where I live, there was only a barely perceptible change in the ambient brightness, which was somewhat surprising.  I blame all the humidity and African dust in the air here.  But as you can see, the concrete is very bright and at the bottom of the last pic, you can see the shadow of my arm, and it's very sharp and black.  All pretty much normal.  The lack of sunlight is really only evident in the camera obscura images, which have a rather twilight-type dimness to them when compared to my arm's shadow.
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Michael Bootz
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August 23rd, 2017, 5:56 pm #155

That's pretty cool, Bullethead!

I just happened to find out what the strange insect from post #146 is. It is actually called common scorpionfly (Panorpa communis).
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Bullethead
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August 24th, 2017, 5:07 pm #156

Michael Bootz wrote:
That's pretty cool, Bullethead!

I just happened to find out what the strange insect from post #146 is. It is actually called common scorpionfly (Panorpa communis).
Thanks!  It always surprises me how few people know that happens.

I can see why that thing is called a scorpion fly .  Your bug pics are outstanding but in post #145, I have a hard time appreciating the yellowjackets.  We've been bitter enemies all my life.  I'm surprised you were able to take a pic right down their nest without getting swarmed.  They're pretty aggressive where I live, and when I was a beekeeper, I was forever having to fight them off.
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Michael Bootz
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August 24th, 2017, 5:26 pm #157

To be honest I was surprised as well that they left me in peace. I was pretty close to that nest and there were lots of them coming and going, but they didn't seem to mind me (I was there again last weekend and they again didn't care then).
Wasps are usually not all that aggressive here, except if you get close to their nest. Not sure why these are different, but I don't mind
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Robson Valley
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August 24th, 2017, 6:11 pm #158

scorpionfly. (One word as it isn't a true Diptera fly.) Like dragonfly and butterfly but different from house fly.
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Bullethead
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August 25th, 2017, 4:48 am #159

Michael Bootz wrote:
Wasps are usually not all that aggressive here, except if you get close to their nest. Not sure why these are different, but I don't mind
Yellowjackets here, even when far from their nests, will often fly up and bite off a hunk of your skin, usually on the back of the neck.  Apparently they're feeling peckish after a long foraging trip.  It feels like a horsefly bite so you give it the sort of gentle slap that would kill a horsefly without hurting yourself, but this just annoys the armored yellowjacket so now it will sting you as well.  As if frequently discovering their nests the hard way while mowing the lawn wasn't bad enough .  Last year they nearly killed a local guy that way, who turned out to be allergic.  These hymenopteran landmines can have a good few thousand of them down the hole, more like a beehive than the typical wasp nest.  That's enough stings to give even a beekeeper a hard time.
[font]-Bullethead
[/font]Where I live, you're as likely to see a rock of any sort (let alone knappable) lying there for the taking as you are to see Elvis and Bigfoot making out in the backseat of a UFO .
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Michael Bootz
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August 25th, 2017, 5:52 pm #160

Ouch, that sounds nasty. Glad they're not so bad around here.
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