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Posts Tagged ‘Acalymma vittata’

Last month I first encountered the Striped Cucumber Beetle (Acalymma vittata) in a neighbor’s garden. I was immediately taken by his cool, sophisticated, man-about-town look. The black and light yellow stripes down his back make him look like he is dressed formally. The translucent orange high collar, though, adds a splash of color to his ensemble and causes him to really stand out in a crowd. This well-dressed dandy, however, has a deep dark secret. Beneath the surface of this Dr. Jekyll lurks a Mr. Hyde.

I ran into him today in my friend’s garden. Previously, the garden had been green and flowering. Now the garden looked like a war zone, with signs of devastation everywhere. The leaves of the plants had all been ravaged and looked like the image below.

So I confronted the striped cucumber beetle about what had happened to the leaves. I asked him to swear an oath to tell the hole truth, and nothing but the truth. Initially he resisted and then he admitted to a hole in one. Finally he confessed and named the other beetles who had participated. The judge, however,  may be lenient with him because he took personal responsibility for his actions and acknowledged that the hole thing had been his idea.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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What do you want to emphasize in a photograph that you display to others? It is a creative choice that each of us faces every time we take a photo or manipulate an image.

I enjoy shooting subjects with friends and comparing our results. Earlier in the week I was with Cindy Dyer, my photography mentor, and spotted an interesting looking little beetle on a plant in her garden. I did not have my macro lens on my camera and suggested that she photograph the little striped beetle, a type she had never previously encountered. She later identified the beetle as a Striped Cucumber beetle (Acalymma vittata).

Cindy took a wonderful photo of the beetle staring over the edge of a leaf and entitled her posting “The Abyss.” Her photo is graphic and colorful and full of a sense of mystery and contemplation. I took some photos this evening of what is possibly the same beetle. I tried to convey the same impression that Cindy did in my second photo below, but that was not really what I wanted to stress. This first photo shows my “take” on the subject.

I decided that I wanted to contrast the beauty of the beetle with its destructiveness and chose to include the damaged leaf in the initial photo that is most prominently featured on the blog. The rest of the photos are variations of the themes of beauty and destruction, sometimes depicting only one of the two themes or juxtaposing them both in a single frame.

Our choices influence how our viewers are likely to react to our photos.  It is liberating to have that kind of creative freedom. It is who we are and what we do.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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