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Archive for July, 2014

How often do you find yourself taking a shot of a subject with the wrong lens? If you are an opportunistic wildlife shooter like I am, it happens pretty regularly.

At this time of the year, most of the time I have a macro lens on my camera and I focus a lot on insects. Earlier this week, I was attempting to photograph a dragonfly with a 100mm macro lens when I heard the squawking on an approaching bird. Thinking perhaps that it was a hawk, I raised my camera and clicked off a series of shots as the bird flew by on the other side of a small pond.

Imagine my surprise when I looked at my images and realized that the bird was actually a Bald Eagle (Haliaeetus leucocephalus). There is something really special about Bald Eagles and I am thrilled every single time I see one.

Even with a crop sensor camera, a 100mm lens is not the right lens for shooting birds in flight at a distance, especially against a background of trees. I am posting a couple of shots simply to show that it is sometimes possible to get recognizable images of cool subjects even when the conditions and equipment are not optimal.

The images are also a reminder to myself to keep shooting and not wait for the perfect conditions to come together. If I wear out the camera, I can always get another one.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Am I the only one who remembers a poster from the 1970’s featuring the slogan “Fly United” and depicting two ducks mating in mid-air?

That’s what immediately came to mind earlier this week when a pair of Great Blue Skimmer dragonflies (Libellula vibrans) flew by me at my local marsh. Anyone who has ever watched dragonflies mate knows that it is an acrobatic endeavor, requiring tremendous flexibility by both parties. Imagine trying to fly while still in the “wheel” position. Amazingly all of the wings seemed to able to move freely, though I didn’t notice if they were both using their wings for propulsion.

I was able to snap off these shots as the pair flew toward me over the water of a pond, which reflected wonderfully the blue sky and the clouds up above us.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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A handsome little skipper feeds on a gorgeous purple flower and the result is simply beautiful.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Normally when I think of saddlebags, I think of cowboys and the Pony Express, but there is also a species of skimmer dragonflies known as Black Saddlebags (Tramea lacerata). Someone obviously thought the dark patches on the hind wings looked like saddlebags.

Unlike many of the dragonflies that I often observe, Black Saddlebag dragonflies like to fly high in the air (and not low over the water) and some of them even migrate. I was alerted to their presence at my local marsh by a recent posting by a local dragonfly expert and fellow photographer Walter Sanford, so yesterday I kept one eye to the sky yesterday as I searched for subjects to photograph.

Black Saddlebags flew over me several times and I was fortunate to get some shots of one of them in flight. It might have been nice to have used a longer lens than the 100mm macro lens that I had on my camera at the time, but the shots turned out pretty well nonetheless. The first image is the sharpest image, but I like the entire sequence of the three images and the way in which they convey a sense of the environment in which I was shooting.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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One of my fellow photographers pointed out this cool little crab spider on some Queen Anne’s Lace (Daucus carota) during a photo jaunt to Meadowlark Botanical Gardens in nearby Vienna, Virginia this past Saturday.

In this first shot, my favorite, the spider seemed to be expressing frustration that his prey had escaped his grasp (or simply wanted to show me his awesome biceps pose). Who knew that spiders have biceps?

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Initially I tried to photograph the spider looking down at it, but I had trouble maintaining a steady pose and my shots were blurry. I decided to kneel down and get at eye level with the spider, looking across the plane of the flower, and that seemed to work a bit better. These shots look like they were done with flash, but the EXIF data shows a shutter speed of 1/320, which is higher than the synch speed of my flash, so these were actually done with natural light, with some exposure compensation dialed in.

The second shot, which preceded the first one in time, shows the spider trying to capture a small insect (I think).

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The little insect starts to run away.

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In vain, the spider crawled after the small insect, but it was too late. When I left the spider, it was at the edge of the flower, looking off into the distance, pondering perhaps what might have been, thinking about the one that got away.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The light reflecting off the water in the background was really bright, creating these disco ball highlights when I took these shots of a male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) recently at Green Spring Gardens. Normally I try to avoid distinctive specular highlights, but in this case I decided to embrace them.

Why do I suddenly feel an irresistible urge to watch Saturday Night Fever?

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Have you ever found yourself in a thorny predicament? Last weekend, I came upon this female Spangled Skimmer dragonfly (Libellula cyanea) that had literally placed herself in such a situation.

Fortunately, dragonflies are so small, lightweight, and agile that she was able to place herself in between the thorns, out of harm’s way. If you look closely at her wings in the second image, however, you’ll see that they are tattered, suggesting that it’s been a tough season for her, probably as a result of predators, including overly aggressive male dragonflies.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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As I search in vain for larger, colorful butterflies, I continue to be amazed by the beauty of the smaller ones, like this Clouded Sulphur butterfly (Colias philodice) that I observed last week at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia.

Generally I like my closest shots the best when I am shooting with my macro lens, but in this case, I think I prefer the first shot below, that I took from a bit farther back. I like the way in which you can see the shadowy representations in the background of the stalks of the same kind of floweras the one one which the butterfly is feeding.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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When I started shooting regularly two years ago, I followed the lead of my mentor, Cindy Dyer, who specializes in flower photography, and spent a lot of time in gardens. (She photographs a wide range of  subjects, though, and I encourage readers to click on her name and check out the photos on her blog from a recent trip to Iceland.)

Last weekend I went back to my roots and visited a local garden with Cindy, where I spent some time with flowers and was only occasionally distracted by insects. Cindy helped me identify a toad lily and some zinnias, but we think the yellow flower is some kind of rudbeckia.

As I was shooting, I was particularly fascinated by the structure and patterns of the petals and by the amazing colors. The colors proved to be a challenge to render correctly and I am not entirely certain that I got the pinkish color of the zinnias true to life.

If you are viewing the original posting (and not it the Reader), click on any one of the thumbnail images to see the images in succession in larger size in slide show format. (I am still experimenting with using the Gallery options for displaying multiple images.)

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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Two years ago in a posting, I confessed to being obsessed with photographing Red milkweed beetles (Tetraopes tetraophthalmus). Inexorably I kept finding myself being drawn back to these bright red beetles.

I thought I had outgrown my obsession, until I encountered several of my little red friend this past weekend at Green Spring Gardens. I immediately reverted to my old behavior and began to stalk them like a paparazzo, trying to get a good shot or any shot at all.

My obsession continues.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

 

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Whenever I have my macro lens on my camera I seem to be irresistibly drawn to bees, like bees to honey. No matter what else I am shooting during the summer, I always seem to have some images of bees interspersed among my other photos. Here are some of my recent favorite bee shots.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Photographing any dragonfly in flight is a real challenge, but this past weekend I spent time chasing after some of the smallest ones, the Eastern Amberwing dragonflies (Perithemis tenera). According to Bugguide, these dragonflies are typically 21-24mm in length, which is less than one inch, with a wingspan of maybe two inches or so.

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There were lots of male Eastern Amberwings buzzing around the edges of a small pond at Green Spring Gardens, one of the local gardens that I like to visit. They were within range of the 180mm macro lens that I was using, but focusing and tracking were my biggest problems. The dragonflies did tend to hover a bit, which helped a little, but it was tough to get them in focus when focusing manually and almost impossible to do so with auto-focus.

I took a lot of shots and was happy that I managed to get some in decent focus, though I did have to crop the images. As I was preparing this posting, I noticed that I spent some time a year ago attempting to photograph the same dragonfly species. I think the results this year are marginally better, but you can make your own call by clicking on this link to the posting from July 2013.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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A dragonfly perching on a heron? In real life it’s highly unlikely that you would see such a thing, but a male Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) decided that the metal silhouette of a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) in a pond at Green Spring Gardens made a good spot to rest.

Click on any of the tiled images to see all of them full-sized in slide show mode.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Small skipper butterflies don’t stand out as much as their larger, more colorful brethren, but they have an understated beauty that I find striking. It’s a daunting challenge, however, to identify them.

According to Wikipedia, there are more than 3500 recognized species of skippers worldwide, so I don’t feel too bad that my identification skills are weak in this area. As I looked through images on-line, I came across one identified as a Little Glassywing (Pompeius verna) that looks a bit like the one that I photographed, though my confidence level in this identification is pretty low.

I am confident, however, that I like the image I captured of the little skipper. There is a pretty good amount of detail, the background is blurred, and the leaves on which the butterfly is perched makes for an interesting pose.

UPDATE: A butterfly expert has definitively identified this as a female Sachem (Atalopedes campestris). Thanks to Joe Schelling and Jim Brock for their assistance in identifying this little skipper.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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In the shade of the flowering lotus plants, these two Eastern Pondhawk dragonflies (Erythemis simplicicollis) found a few moments for some summer lovin’. Summer lovin’, it happened so fast.

Eastern Pondhawks mating

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Even before they have bloomed, the buds of the Lotus flower (Nelumbo nucifera) can be spectacularly beautiful, like this one I photographed this past Monday at Green Spring Gardens, just a few miles from where I live in Northern Virginia.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Although I don’t live in Ohio, nicknamed “The Buckeye State,” I think that I can claim that Virginia also is a Buckeye state, because we are a home to the uncommonly beautiful Common Buckeye butterfly (Junonia coenia).

Common Buckeye butterfly

I have seen few colorful butterflies so far this summer, besides the Great Spangled Fritillary butterflies that I featured in a posting in June. Where are all the Monarchs and Eastern Swallowtails? I don’t know if they were affected by the polar vortex of this past winter or if I am merely looking for them in all the wrong places, but their numbers seem to be unusually low this summer.

I was therefore thrilled this past Monday, when I caught sight of this Common Buckeye. Its coloration is so distinctive that I immediately recognized it and chased after it a bit. Fortunately I was able to capture several images of this beautiful creature before it flew out of sight.

Looking at these images, I am happy to proclaim that I live in a Buckeye state.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I simply love the exquisite beauty of lotus flowers.  A sense of tranquility seems to fill me during those moments when I am able to drink in their beauty, especially when I am alone.

I took these shots in mid-morning at Green Spring Gardens, a county-run facility that has two small, man-made ponds, in addition to the extensive gardens. The ponds are one of my favorite places to shoot when my time is limited and in the past I have captured some wonderful images of turtles, frogs, birds, and dragonflies. What makes the ponds really special for me, though, is that there are water lilies and lotuses at this time of the year.

I am experimenting with presenting my photos in the Gallery format. If you click on any one of the images, you can scroll through each of them in succession in full size. Let me know if  you think it works better than presenting each shot individually.

lotus3_blogWhen the lotus flowers are completely open, it is a real joy to be able to look inside the flower and glimpse the cylindrical seed pod, which contrasts wonderfully with the delicate pink petals in color as well as texture. I took these shots in the middle of the morning, which is usually a less than optimal time of day for lighting. In this case, though, the light, which was often coming from behind the flowers, helped to highlight the flowers and created some interesting shadows.

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Some amazingly beautiful water lilies were in bloom at a local garden yesterday morning and seemed to be glowing from within.

Green Spring Gardens is a county-run historic garden just a few miles from where I live. I used to shoot there really often, but have been spending more time instead at my local marshland park. A couple of recent postings by Rob Paine on his blog I see beauty all around reminded me of the beauty of this garden and I spent several hours there yesterday, getting shots, primarily of the water lilies, lotus flowers, and dragonflies.

This image is a sneak preview of yesterday’s shoot, with more to follow in the near future.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

 

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It may sound like a new summer beverage sensation, but the title is meant to be literal. I encountered this tiny Eastern Amberwing dragonfly (Perithemis tenera) sunning itself on a rock in a small, muddy creek in the back area of my local marshland park.

It was a bit unusual for me to see a dragonfly on a rock (usually they perch on vegetation or on the ground) and I think the texture of the rock adds visual interest to the shot without being distracting the eye. I was pleased to capture so much beautiful detail of this cool little dragonfly and was particularly happy to see how well the amber wings turned out.

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Readers may have noticed that I rarely take photos of people and never photograph sporting events, but yesterday I found myself supporting one of my friends at the Capital Sprints Regatta in Washington D.C. on the Anacostia River. This was her first competition as a member of the DC Strokes Rowing Club and it was great to get some shots of her in action to commemorate the event.

I had never before been to a regatta and I took a lot of photos in an effort to capture the feeling of the experience. I selected a few of my favorites for this posting, including some close-up portraits as well as some action shots.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

 

 

 

 

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How many views does your average post get? WordPress has a strange way of measuring “views” and “likes” that I haven’t quite been able to figure out, but I consider a posting to be successful if it gets about 30 views. A really popular posting might get 50 views.

As I close out my retrospective look this week at my first two years of blogging, I thought I would share again the posting that, statistically speaking, is by far the most popular. Out of the 1200+ postings that I have done, only seven have over a hundred views and the second most viewed posting has 138 views. The posting below has had 371 views.

Don’t get me wrong—I like these photos of the fuzzy white caterpillar, but I certainly don’t consider them to be my best or my favorite images. How did I get so many views?

Not long ago, Leanne Cole, one of my favorite bloggers did a couple of postings on Search Engine Optimization (SEO) that included a discussion of some techniques to make your photos and postings more visible when people do searches with Google and other search tools. I think I may have inadvertently used some of these approaches with the caterpillar posting, because the majority of the views seem to have come from people who found the images as the result of a search, and not from readers of my blog.

I don’t put a lot of faith in statistics and they don’t count for much in my personal estimation of the success of a posting. However, I am by nature a very curious person, so I can’t completely ignore them, even if they seem a little crazy.

Complete text of my 3 August 2013 “Fuzzy white caterpillar” posting:

It’s hard enough to identify moths and butterflies when they are fully grown—it seems almost impossible to do so when they are caterpillars, like this fuzzy white caterpillar that I encountered today at my local marshland park.

The caterpillar had so much long hair that it was hard to see the actual body, which might have been quite small for all I could tell. It was crawling around in the cattails on a day that featured intermittent rain. If you look closely at the first shot, you can see little water drops near what I think is the area of the head.

The second shot may look like it was done with flash, but the darker background was caused merely by changing the settings on my camera and deliberately overexposing the image.

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Which of your images are unusual or distinctive enough that you genuinely feel like they are “once in a lifetime” photos?

Of course, all photos are unique captures of a subject at a particular moment. As the ancient Greek philosopher Heraclitus is reported to have said, “No man ever steps in the same river twice.”

Somehow, though, it seems like we could capture similar images in many cases if we returned to the same locations under similar conditions and were patient and persistent enough.

As I celebrate my two year blog anniversary this week, I’ve been doing a few retrospective re-postings of favorite posts from the earliest days and am continuing in that vein today with some photos of a North American Beaver (Castor canadensis) breaking through the ice of a beaver pond from below on a winter day early in 2013.

A lot of things had to work together perfectly for me to get these images and it’s hard to imagine that confluence of factors ever happening again for me. The photos and the accompanying prose help to document that very special moment.

Besides the uniqueness of that moment, there is something particularly enjoyable about posting icy winter photos as we continue to suffer through a seemingly endless cycle of hot, humid summer weather. I hope that you feel as refreshed as I do when viewing these images.

Complete text of original posting Breaking through the ice from below on 30 January 2013:

The beaver had disappeared from the small open water area of the ice-covered beaver pond.  Wondering if he would resurface, I stood in silent readiness with my camera still in my hand.

My eyes were focused on one area of the pond, but my ears detected a sound emanating from another location near the edge of the pond. Somehow I knew instantly what was about to happen—the beaver was about to achieve a breakthrough. The light had faded a bit and I couldn’t see well enough to focus perfectly, but I aimed at the source of the sound and got this shot of the beaver poking his head through a newly-created hole in the ice. From this perspective, it looks like the beaver is pretty small.

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As I watched, the beaver placed his front paws on the ice, which appeared to be able to support his weight, and gradually pulled his body out of the water. Naturally, the small hole became a lot bigger as his large body came increasingly into view.

breakthrough4_blogbreakthrough2_blogAfter the beaver was completely out of the water, he bent down over the opening that he had just created. Perhaps he was trying to decide if he needed to enlarge it further or was trying to free a tasty-looking stick from the ice. It almost looks to me, though, that he is peering into the water, wondering if one of his fellow beavers is going to be popping up to join him.

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The beaver did not linger long at the new location. After a few seconds on the “outside,” he dove back into the icy waters of the pond.

There are few moments in life that are truly “once-in-a-lifetime” experiences, ones that would be impossible to replicate, but I have the sense that this was one of them. So many things had to work together to make these photos happen—the timing, the location, and the ice, to name a few.

It is supposed to get up to 70 degrees (21 degrees C) today and the ice will almost certainly be gone by the time I am able to return to the marsh this weekend. Perhaps I will get to observe the beavers eating or working or playing or maybe they will remain in the lodge. In either case, I can be happy, knowing that we shared a really special moment together.

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When I am walking through the woods adjacent to the marsh, I often see small brown butterflies flitting about, but it’s rare that one lands in a place where I can photograph it. Last week, however, I got lucky and I was finally able to get some shots of one of these elusive butterflies.

Now that I have the images, I am faced with the difficult task of trying to identify the butterfly. There are a lot of brown butterflies with a numerous eye spots on the wings and to my untrained eyes, they all look pretty much the same. I think this one may be of the genus Lethe, but is it a Pearly Eye, an Appalachian Brown, an Eyed Brown, or something entirely different?

For now, I’ll fall back on an old habit and make up my own name for the butterfly and call it the Beautiful Woodland butterfly.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Do your mix humor with your photography? I enjoy playing with words (and especially puns) and love looking for opportunities  to inject humor into my blog postings. One of my favorite bloggers, Lyle Krahn at Krahnpix, is a real master at mixing his incredible wildlife shots with a kindred kind of humor (or perhaps he might say “humour.)

This past Monday was my blog’s second anniversary and I am taking a brief pause from posting new photos to think about the blog and my photographic journey over the last two years. During this period I am re-posting some of my favorite postings.

The re-posting today of an encounter between a Green Heron (Butorides virescens) and a frog was one of my earliest attempts to add humor, from the title all the way down to the last line of the posting, and is one of my favorites over the past two years. Here’s a link to the original posting or you can read it in its entirety below.

Full text of blog posting on 24 July 2012 that I entitled “Not Seeing Eye to Eye”:

One can only imagine what is going through the frog’s mind as he looks into the crazed eyes of the green heron who has just speared him. Is he looking for mercy? Is he resigned to his fate?

I watched the prelude to this moment unfold this afternoon at Huntley Meadows Park, a marshland park here in Virginia. The green heron was intently scanning the water from the edge of a boardwalk that runs through the march. Periodically he would extend his neck down toward the water.

Several times we heard an excited “eeep” sound followed by a splash, indicating another frog had escaped. After a few more minutes, however, the heron dived into the water and reappeared on the boardwalk with the speared frog you see in the first photo.

When you look at the comparative size of the heron’s mouth and the frog, it hardly seems possible that the green heron could swallow the entire frog. The heron took his time shifting the position of the frog and then all at once he turned his head, bent his neck back a little, and down went the frog. It happened so quickly that I was able to snap only a single photo that shows the frog’s webbed feet as the only remaining parts that have not yet been swallowed.

In this final photo the heron no longer has a slim neck. I have no idea how long it will take for the frog to reach the heron’s stomach but I am pretty sure he was not yet there when I took this photo.

And don’t try to talk with the heron during this period. Why not? Read the caption of the last photo!

I can’t talk now. I have a frog in my throat.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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How do you decide which of your photos are your favorite ones? Do you rely on technical criteria, like sharpness, or do you rely more on the overall artistic impression? Do your memories of shooting an image factor into your calculations? Do WordPress statistics play any role in your thinking?

As I noted yesterday, my blog’s second anniversary, I am taking a brief pause from posting new photos to think about the blog and my photographic journey over the last two years. During this period, I though I would re-post some of my favorite postings. I am posting them in their entirety, because I think that my prose enhances the appeal of my blog (and I find that I enjoy the creative experience of expressing myself in my words as well as in my images).

I tend to photograph a lot of insects in the summer and birds in the winter, but some of my most memorable images come from my infrequent encounters with mammals, like this tender moment that I shared with a beaver family last summer that was visible one day during the daylight hours.

In response to my initial questions, I tend to give my greatest priority to the overall artistic impression and give little weight to WordPress statistics. Some of my best photos have relatively few views, while I have a few unexceptional images that have a lot of views.

Text of the original blog posting that first appeared on 18 July 2013:

Last Friday, after some violent thunderstorms, I visited my local marshland park, where the staff alerted me that three beavers were sleeping on a patch of dry land near their lodge, which apparently had flooded. The three North American Beavers (Castor canadensis) were all snuggled together and reminded me a little of puppies. I am working up some more images, but thought that I would give a sneak preview of coming attractions.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Two years ago today, my photography mentor and dear friend Cindy Dyer sat me down at her computer and told me that I was going to start a blog. We had just returned from a photo shoot at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens in Washington D.C. and had taken lots of shots of waterlilies, lotus flowers, and dragonflies.

Cindy is a professional photographer and web designer and I had previously looked at her blog (which currently has had over 560,000 views), but I had never really thought about starting a blog myself. Inside I had all kinds of concerns about my inadequacies as a photographer and about not being ready to share my images with an audience broader than, but Cindy was undeterred and helped me choose a theme and a banner and set up my basic page.

My first posting was short, only 14 words and included a shot of a Blue Dasher dragonfly. I have reposted it below for your convenience or you can use the link in the first sentence of this paragraph.

Today’s posting is posting number 1,224. I never imagined that I would enjoy this blog as much as I have or that I would continue so faithfully to document my journey into photography. Thanks to so many of you readers who have encouraged and supported me along the way.

I may take a pause this week to reflect on that journey and possibly re-post some of my favorites from the last two years. Don’t worry, though, I be back to posting new images before long.

My first WordPress posting on 7 July 2012:

I photographed this Blue Dasher dragonfly (Pachydiplax longipennis) at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens this morning.

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Do your review your photos rapidly before you choose the ones to post or do you carefully and systematically evaluate them and only then select the best ones?

I am often in a hurry.  Sometimes I will stop to work on a shot that I like before I have even reviewed the complete set of images. I generally  don’t work up postings in advance and I’ll write up the posting and push the “Publish” button with out realizing that I may have unmined gold waiting to be discovered.

Only later, when I go through the entire set of shots do I realize that I have a better shot than the one I posted and realize I should have at least posted both of them. If the differences are only minor, I won’t do an additional posting, but sometimes, like today, I feel compelled to post a second image.

As was the case in yesterday’s posting, this is a shot of what I think is an Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica)—or possibly a bumblebee— on a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea). The angle and the lighting helped me capture a significant amount of the detail and texture of both the bee and the flower and the colors came through with a beautiful vibrancy. The bee was in an unusual position, which adds to the visual interest of the image.

This is one of my favorites of my recent images. You might think that this experience will teach me a lesson about the value of a full review before choosing images to process, but I suspect that this will happen again from time to time. I know my habits too well.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

 

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Yesterday was a beautiful, sunny day, but it was very breezy, which made it tough for me to get decent shots of bees in my neighbors’ garden. I am still going through my photos (and deleting a lot of them), but I was immediately drawn to this image of an Eastern Carpenter Bee (Xylocopa virginica) on a Purple Coneflower (Echinacea purpurea).

Although the dark background suggests the use of flash, I wasn’t using any flash and the shutter speed of 1/400 in the EXIF data is faster than the synch speed of my flash. I was trying to get as close to the bees as I could and the height of the coneflowers made it possible to get at eye level with the bee and get this head-on shot.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What adds drama to a photo? Sometimes it is the lighting of a scene or the positioning of a subject. These recent shots of Blue Dasher dragonflies (Pachydiplax longipennis) seem to have a bit more drama and are more “artsy” than many of my typical images.

Should I start wearing a beret now when I am shooting?

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When the weather turns hot and humid, even the insects seem to enjoy the shade, like this Cabbage White butterfly (Pieris rapae) that I encountered recently while searching for dragonflies. I never fail to be amazed at the speckled green exotic eyes of this common butterfly.

The Cabbage White’s almost pure white body, though, is often a real challenge for me, because it seems to confuse my camera’s metering system and images are often severely overexposed. In this image. I think I used spot metering to try to get the correct exposure, which seemed to help. However, there was a greenish color cast in the initial shot, probably caused by the light filtering through the leaves, that I had to fix in post-processing.

The Cabbage White does not have the spectacular colors of many other butterflies, but nonetheless possesses an understated elegance that I find really attractive.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

 

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