Insect Photos

Terra Sol Customer
Sunday, June 15, 2014
Terra Sol Customer

Yesterday I had intended to vist the Santa Barbara Natural History Museum. I just got my macro lens back from being serviced, and what better place could there be to put it through it's paces than wandering through the Butterflies Alive exhibit? As so often happens, Saturday flew by too quickly. Fortunately, Terra Sol Garden Center is open until six these days. We stopped there to get some peppers for the garden and I thought I would snap a few shots just to test the lens.

When we arrived we found our peppers, and a great display of various flowers grouped into sections based upon what they will attract to your garden. Sure enough, in the butterfly section right next to the Milkweeds was another Terra Sol customer and my butterfly photo opportunity. This beautiful Monarch was a very patient model too, posing on several different flowers and waiting just long enough for me to catch up and snap a few shots before finding a new perch.

I'll still find time to make it over to the Butterflies Alive exhibit sometime soon, and maybe I'll get some great hummingbird photos with my new flowers too.


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.


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.


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.)


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.


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.


Break time for the farmworker
Saturday, April 12, 2008
Break time for the farmworker

Another lady bug fresh from work on our epi farm. They are doing a great job, the aphids are virtually gone! So she (he?) deserves a break. This is a rose from our first anniversary. Lasted well didn't it? Well, it helps to buy the bush rather than the cut flowers. :-D

Unlike the Ladybug from yesterday I shot this one with a macro lens attachment and no bellows. This was the closest I could get as compared to yesterday when I was actually at the maximum focal distance of the bellows. This way I can get a little bit of the beautiful surroundings. Oh, and as you can probably tell it's dark outside. I was using a hand-held light to get these shots. I'ts best to release the lady bugs in the evening unless you just want them to fly away.

It was interesting though, they were much warmer and therefore much more active tonight. It finally got to the point where I had to go inside because I was covered in ladybugs. Fortunately these don't bite unlike the apparently carnivorous ladybugs in the farm country where my parents live. When the farmers harvest the fields the ladybugs run... and then they descend upon my parents' house in a swarm.


Lady in the Epi
Friday, April 11, 2008
Lady in the Epi

The ladybugs seem to really love our epis. Probably because when they start to bloom (the epis, not the bugs :-D) there's a lot of nectar around the buds. The nectar seems to attract aphids. This time we tried to get the jump on them. We bought a small bag of ladybugs from the hardware store. Of course I was not going to let them go until the camera was ready!

I used a bellows to get close enough for this shot. The whole background of the shot is the same flower that the ladybug is sitting on.


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.


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!


Evening Bee
Tuesday, June 5, 2007
Evening Bee

My intention was to chase hummingbirds. But they must not have been very hungry tonight. Of course the bees are always good for a few nice shots.


Armored Bee
Saturday, June 2, 2007
Armored Bee

Well my description was not quite as scientific as I usually like... "Big Black Bee!" But it's late and I was not able to track her down. I did have fun taking pictures of her though! Her copper colored wings were reflecting the evening sun beautifully! I was trying to get a shot that really hilted the wings and their amazing structure but this ended up being my favorite.


Cup of Gold Nectar
Tuesday, May 29, 2007
Cup of Gold Nectar

Kind of like The Hound when she gets into her food "Face First".

This bee was very cooperative. She spent a lot of time on each blossom. I guess she wanted to make sure she did not miss anything.

This was the only flower on the plant that had the cool "crumpled" look. All of the other flowers were more cup-like. Fitting, since their name in Spanish (Copa de Oro) means "Cup of Gold."


Daisy Bee
Thursday, May 17, 2007
Daisy Bee

I was up to one of my favorite pastimes last weekend, chasing bees. This one was quite cooperative. She was at a local Nursery so there was plenty of things for her to eat!


Ladybug Daisy
Tuesday, May 1, 2007
Ladybug Daisy

I noticed this little guy (or girl) when we were walking The Hound the other day. If you look close enough you can actually see my reflection in his back. I did a little poking around to see if perhaps the lack of spots meant it was a younger ladybug (I thought I read that somewhere). But apparently it's just a different kind of Ladybug and there are hundreds of different kinds in the US, thousands in the world.

I did however, find out that the name Ladybug comes from when farmers prayed to the Virgin Mary to help save their crops from pests. When the small red beetles came to save the day (and the crops) the farmers started calling them "The Beetles of Our Lady".


Popular Rose
Tuesday, December 5, 2006
Popular Rose

It looks like there's gonna be a fight!

Actually, they got along really well and shared the flower. At one point there was even a third bee.

I have been known to chase bees, but in this case I was drawn to this scene by the same thing they were. There are a lot of beautiful roses out there but the yellow/red variegated varieties are my favorites!


Somebody's Watchin'
Wednesday, November 15, 2006
Somebody's Watchin'

This is a closer crop of one of my shots of the dragon from a couple of weeks ago. (Sorry to any Entophobics out there!) I like this shot not only because you can actually make out the hexagonal segments of his eyes. Which is pretty cool, but also because of the shadows of the hairs. There are hairs between his eyes, you cant see them, they are pointing straight at the camera. But you can see the shadows on his eye.


Blue-eyed Darner
Friday, November 3, 2006
Blue-eyed Darner

We spent the last couple of days in Pismo Beach, it was a nice place to spend a few days.

One of the places we wandered into after lunch was a garden store that had all kinds of interesting plants and things. The most interesting of them was this Dragonfly that buzzed me when I was looking at a fountain (his fountain?) Of course he froze when I found his perch which gave me a great opportunity to get some nice shots of him.

His eyes are extremely beautiful, you can see the hexagonal structure of the segments of his eyes in the shape of the highlight on his left eye.