Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Close Encounters of the Insectoid Kind

Sometimes watching a single bed of wildflowers for a short while can make me feel as if I'm in Grand Central Station. In my latest session at knee level, I spotted a color-coordinated visitor.

The bees really like the onion blossoms. They move constantly, so a fast shutter speed is necessary to stop the action. (All of these photos were done with just the existing daylight, no flash, no reflectors.)

Flies visited the same flower patch at the same time. This is, I think, a bottle fly.

The butterfly landed first, and I was photographing it when the bee landed. I expected the butterfly to leave, but it stayed pretty much in one place while the bee wandered around. I was hoping I could catch a close encounter like this, and managed it at last. Note the considerable load of pollen on the bee's leg. I laughed when I enlarged this shot on the computer monitor and noticed how the butterfly's curled tongue had formed a smiley face against the yellow anther behind it.

Okay, that's enough sharing my space - ciao! Butterfly in flight!

"Quickly as you can, snatch the pebble pollen from my hand!" (Kung Fu TV show reference, for those old enough to notice.)

Some closer views of the bottle fly.

And I stood up for an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (which may have been attacked, judging by the damage to its tail). It seemed to be doing fine, and was certainly still beautiful against the trees and sky.

I've learned that even if I only have twenty or thirty minutes to spare, I can get in some good lens practice, and even learn a little bit about the creatures which surround me. I've always been inclined to notice them, but I can see so much more with the aid of a camera!


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