Arthropod Photos

Backlit Monarchs
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Backlit Monarchs

It's a wonderful time of year for a trip to the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. This was last weekend about two-thirty in the afternoon when the light was coming around behind them. But the light moves fast in their little gorge, only a few moments later the sun was gone from this cluster.


Dragon Perch
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Dragon Perch

This is a Meadowhawk Dragonfly (A Saffron-winged Meadowhawk I believe) and he was very partial to this one bush. I love chasing these guys. He would tollerate my presence for a while, then he would fly to the other side of the bush. But unlike some Dragonflies, he didn't seem to have particular favorite perches. Each time he moved to a new spot and a different pose, this was my favorite. They commonly rest with their wings spread wide and straight. But this leaf was more exposed so he had to hold his wings down a little and put his back into the breeze. It made for a much more interesting composition. Dragonflies or people, portraits look better when the subject is not so stiff and still.


Resting Monarchs
Thursday, April 4, 2013
Resting Monarchs

This is a shot from our beautiful Coronado Butterfly Preserve in Goleta. This year the butterfly population seemed a bit smaller than years past, but they are still an absoultely amazing sight.


Backlit Monarchs
Monday, December 10, 2012
Backlit Monarchs

It's the time of year when the Monarch Butterflies return to their overwintering spot in Santa Barbara, the Coronado Butterfly Preserve. According to the experts the clusters of butterflies are small this year, although it's still early. Even so the experience is amazing. This is just one of the small clusters, but the position of the sun was perfect. What you can't see are the hundreds of butterflies fluttering around the grove. It's a wonderful spot that only exists because of the hard work of volunteers and donors who have protected it.


Monarch Profile
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Monarch Profile

Monarch Butterfly [Danaus plexippus] on a Zinnia at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's Butterflies alive. It took a bit of manuvering to get the profile shot I was looking for, and although there are many more opportunities at the Natural History Museum, it's still fun to try to get just the shot you're looking for.


Zebra Heliconian Butterfly
Sunday, July 8, 2012
Zebra Heliconian Butterfly

Zebra Heliconian butterfly at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History's Butterflies Alive display. The museum allows you to wander in an enclosed area full of hundreds of butterflies this time of year. It's a wonderful experience!


Fire Skimming Dragon
Monday, April 2, 2012
Fire Skimming Dragon

Looking back I see it has been a while since I posted a nature shot. For that matter it has been a while since I really spent some time outside with my macro lens, which is something I'm going to have to work on. In the mean time I found this beauty who was waiting in an old shoot of images from a small duck pond in Goleta.

This little Dragon is called a Flame Skimmer. The detail on his (or her) wings is so beautiful. I have always loved chasing them with my camera. This shot was taken while hanging akwardly off of a bridge over a small duck pond, it seemed that was his favorite spot. And while he would land other places, the perch over the side of the bridge was where he was comforatble enough to let me get close. It took some patience, but I was able to get close enough over the period of about five minutes to get the shot I wanted.


November Butterfly
Sunday, November 6, 2011
November Butterfly

Our winter friends are back! The last couple of weeks have seen quite an increase in the number of Monarch butterflies around Santa Barbara. This one floated by as I was chasing a Hummingbird. The hummingbird turned out to be too shy, but there is always someone around who loves to have their picture taken!


Flexible Damsel
Monday, September 22, 2008
Flexible Damsel

Well that looks kind of painful. If I sleep funny on my pillow I have to go to the chiropractor in the morning. Of course I guess that would not be a problem if I was that flexible.


Milkweed Honey
Saturday, September 20, 2008
Milkweed Honey

She really looked like she was concentrating on her work. She paid no attention to me. I guess those smaller flowers are kind of tough. You've got to hover or find a place to stand while you work. Don't have time to deal with pesky photographers.

So the milkweed is what the Monarch caterpillars eat which makes the Monarch Butterflies poisonous to most predators. It contains Glycosides, like Foxglove which is used to make Digitalis, a heart medication. So I'm not sure I would want to try that honey. Hopefully it is just the leaves and stem that have the Glycosides in them.


Resting Damsel
Monday, September 15, 2008
Resting Damsel

Well, you learn something new every day. One of the things that help you identify Dragonflies vs Damselflies is the fact that the Dragonflies usually hold their wings out to the sides and the Damselflies fold their wings back along their body.

Of course, this evening I learned there is a group of Damselflies called "Spreadwings". And, if you have not already guessed by the name, they hold their wings out like Dragonflies.

The thing that gave it away is the other distinction is the fact that Dragonflies' eyes usually touch. (Check out my blue-eyed Darner for an example.) So this guy (or more likely girl) was a little hard to identify at first.

My wife pointed her out to me when she was watering some plants yesterday. In fact you can see a couple of water drops on the base of her right wing (top wing in the photo). She was very cooperative! (that would be the damselfly, not my wife. Although she is pretty cooperative too.)


Honey Bee on the Horizon
Saturday, September 13, 2008
Honey Bee on the Horizon

We are always looking for more butterfly food. Our passion flowers are their favorites. After I was already working on framing this shot the bee buzzed in. I love it when that happens. She did not stay around long but it was a really nice addition to the photo!


Cone Flower Bee
Sunday, September 7, 2008
Cone Flower Bee

Don't you just hate it when you're working and someone keeps looking over your shoulder. Don't they know you have a lot of pollen and nectar to collect!? Lucky for me, she did not feel that way.

I spent some time hanging out at one of my favorite photo spots. A little nursery near Gelson's on state street. They are always very friendly when I'm wandering around with my camera. They seem to attract a lot of butterfly and bee activity there, I can only assume since they are out in the middle of a parking lot without much other greenery around.

I really like the cone flowers there. This is not my first bee on a purple cone flower shot from there.


Gulf Fritillary in the Back Yard
Saturday, September 6, 2008
Gulf Fritillary in the Back Yard

Our babies are growing up! A couple of years ago we got a couple of vines, (a Passion Flower and a Mandevilla) to try to coax the beautiful butterflies to stay in our back yard. They almost wiped out the Passion Flower completely the first year. This year the original vines are each about four times the original size, and we have two additional Passion Flowers about the same size. That was finally enough to support the caterpillar crop this year. This is one of four butterflies that we suspect were recently caterpillars in the Passion Flowers and now spend most of the days fluttering and playing in the back yard.


Cleared for Landing
Thursday, September 4, 2008
Cleared for Landing

Sometimes I have to chase them forever to get the shot I want. But this one was very cooperative. I got quite a few nice shots It's always nice to work with good models.


Nursery Worker
Sunday, August 24, 2008
Nursery Worker

Whenever we go to the Monterey area we like to stop at the nurseries in Carmel Valley. We've found some really different plants there. And of course there are always plenty of bees and hummers to chase.


Fluttering Monarch
Tuesday, January 22, 2008
Fluttering Monarch

This was from a trip to a local nursury just before Christmas. Santa Barbara is a popular place for them to hang out in the Winter. We actually have a grove of Eucalyptus trees they congregate in. I'd love to go take more shots of them, but the way it's raining right now I don't think I could make it through the mud.


Echinacea Honey
Saturday, November 24, 2007
Echinacea Honey

So I wonder how Echinacea Honey would taste?

It still amazes me how fuzzy honey bees are if you look close. I guess that's why I like chasing them around with my camera so much. It is nearly impossible to see at this size but there are actually furs between the segments of her eyes.


Zinnia Bee
Sunday, July 22, 2007
Zinnia Bee

Well I usually like to try to get a variety of shots on the site, but I have been experimenting with my macro lenses lately and bees are my favorite macro subject. Unfortunately, they seem to be most active around here in the really REALLY hot part of the day. It was actually more work than you would think to get this shot.


Echinacea Bee
Friday, July 20, 2007
Echinacea Bee

I went out today with the intent to try out my new memory card for my camera. I wanted to fill it up once quick to make sure it was working well. I can't think of a faster way to burn a roll of film (or fill up a memory card) than finding some beautiful flowers covered in bees.

I really liked a lot of the shots I took, but this one stood out. I love the background colors, and the bee is absolutely fuzzy!


Resting Dragon
Monday, June 18, 2007
Resting Dragon

This is actually an older shot, one of my favorites. In fact it is one of the images on my business card.

The branch is a dead branch on a ficus tree that we saved from being thrown away. It was sitting on the patio of our old apartment and the branch was hanging out over the railing. Unfortunately, shooting straight out would have given me a background of the next apartment building. I had to lean out to get a better angle with trees and filtered sun in the background. Even though the background is totally out of focus, this made for a much nicer shot.

BTW, the ficus is much happier these days. It is in the back yard and growing like crazy. We are a little crazy that way. We like to save things and nurse them back to health. Plants, hound dogs whatever needs a home! I must get that from my parents.


Pollen Covered Minus One Second
Saturday, June 16, 2007
Pollen Covered Minus One Second

This shot was taken less than a second before last Thursday's photo of the day, and is in response to the feedback on that shot. :-)

No doubt there was too much pollen in her eye! She had to stop to rub it.


Flame Skimmer
Monday, June 11, 2007
Flame Skimmer

This is another image that I like as much for the background as the subject itself. Getting a nice picture of something is not as hard if that is all you are concentrating on. Creating a beautiful image is a bit more work. Suddenly that garbage can in the background becomes an issue. :-D


Pollen Covered
Thursday, June 7, 2007
Pollen Covered

Well she wants you to think she has been working hard. But actually she just got done raiding a bag of Doritos.

The hummers have been elusive this week, but the bees have sure put on a show to make up for it!