• Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 56 other followers

  • Archives

  • Like us on Facebook!

Backyard Bugs

One thing I am not is a landscape photographer. To me it is much more interesting to explore the world up-close, and I would much rather get down on my stomach and get a macro shot of a bug or little critter or flower (with a bug on it) and often when I’m mowing the lawn I’ll see a praying mantis or newt and have to stop and run inside to grab the camera. I guess that’s why I was drawn to food photography with the variety of colors and textures and getting in close. Last fall I was mowing for the last time of the season and was thinking I hadn’t seen one mantis all summer, and then I spotted two. My son Colin was eager to get a peek, and the little alien-like mantis’s head would swivel to look at each of us on either side, as if to size us up. We recently planted a butterfly bush and it has lived up to it’s namesake, and was able to capture a tiger swallowtail (looked as if it had some damage, but still beautiful). Then I spotted a luna moth resting on the side of a pine tree and didn’t seem to upset to have my lens in it’s face. Note the small ant on it’s fuzzy abdomen. And just recently found in the archives a Species Antheraea polyphemus – Polyphemus Moth. For info on identifying your backyard bugs, check out http://bugguide.net (Click on the images for a closer look.)

Species Antheraea polyphemus - Polyphemus Moth

Blue-Burning Marsh Bubbles

I have just begun shooting a book for Storey Publishing which will be called,  Kids’ Power!  …  Harness the Sun · Catch the Wind · Crank Up the Power · Take Charge · and Turn Nature’s Forces into Energy, by Michael J. Caduto. When I saw the shot list, the little boy in me smiled, and I couldn’t wait to get started.

The kids who were recruited to participate in the activities have been great and very patient as I try to get the exposures just right, and in this case, to capture bubbles emerging from a funnel into a mason jar.

Michael Caduto gathering the gas from the muck below

I’ve always noticed bubbles emerging from the bottom of ponds and swamps when fishing from a boat or dock, but never realized that it was methane, ammonia, and hydrogen sulfide created from the organic material that was being decomposed by the bacteria in the muck. In this activity Michael shows us how to stir up the gas with a foot while capturing the gas with a funnel and a jar. As the gas rises it displaces the liquid. Then the fun part…

Lighting the collected marsh gas

We got the shot, but then I wanted to capture the full effect in video mode. Click here for the video, and turn up the speakers to hear the kids reaction 😉