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Posts Tagged ‘Halloween’

I never got around to posting a shot of my final Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina) of the 2018 season, so today seems an appropriate time to do so. I spotted this tattered beauty on 29 September at Ben Brenman Park, a small suburban park not far from where I live in Alexandria, Virginia.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween Pennant

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I grew up in the suburbs and have never lived in the country, but somehow I love the beauty of old tractors. During my recent visit to a local produce center that I have featured the last few day, my eyes were inexorably drawn to the a green tractor and its ghoulish driver. Oh, Deere. The scene was staged at the edge of the property, so it was hard to get a shot that did not include barbed wire and chain link fence.  Here are a few shots from different angles to give you an overall view (yes, the driver is wearing overalls)  as well as a wide-angle view.

Happy Halloween!

Halloween tractor

 

Halloween tractor

 

Halloween tractor

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some very creative people must work at the local pumpkin patch at Nalls Produce Center in Alexandria, Virginia. As I wandered about, I encountered numerous mini-scenes celebrating farm life and/or Halloween.

One of my favorites featured a crazed–looking cat in overalls conversing with a cow. I also really liked the jack-o-lantern made with all natural materials. I can’t recall ever before seeing a jack-o-lantern with hair.

Halloween

Halloween

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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This spooky spider image that I took late Friday afternoon while hiking along part the Potomac Heritage Trail is probably more suitable for later in the month, but I just couldn’t wait until Halloween to share it.

Normally when I use fill flash I try to be subtle, attempting to add a little pop without making it obvious that I used flash. In this case, you can’t help but notice my use of the popup flash. Normally I would take a shot of a spider like this with my macro lens, but I was travelling light with just my superzoom Canon SX50. The 50x zoom of this camera has helped to bring distant subjects closer, but I had never tried to use the camera’s macro mode. I quickly learned that you have to be really close to your subject, literally only a few inches away. I was pretty happy when I was able to get the second shot below, but wanted to add to the drama of the shot.

I dropped the exposure compensation in the camera down to a minus three stops and got my favorite shot. The darkened sky and the way that the flash illuminates the spider give the image a kind of creepy look that feels appropriate for a spider that was just about at eye level.

spooky spider

spooky spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Earlier this month I spotted a butterfly with perfect colors for Halloween and it was perched upside down in a way that reminded me of a bat. (Take a close look at its shadow.)

It’s not really called a Halloween Butterfly—I sometimes like to make up my own names for the creatures that I see and photograph. It was a cool, but sunny day when I came upon the butterfly, which was completely stretched out, basking in the warmth of the sun’s rays. I wasn’t sure it was alive, until it flew away when I moved in a little closer after some initial shots.

The unusual wing shape made me think it was either an Eastern Comma or a Question Mark butterfly—yes, there are butterflies named after punctuation marks—but I wasn’t sure which one. After a little research on line, I’m convinced that it is probably an Eastern Comma butterfly (Polygonia comma). According to a posting on Trekohio.com, Eastern Comma butterflies have three dark spots in a row on their front wings, while Question Mark butterflies have four spots.

Why am I seeing a butterfly this late in the season? Eastern Comma butterflies overwinter as adults. A University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Field Station posting described the process in this way, “They overwinter in cracks and crevices in rocks and trees. There, they certainly freeze, becoming butterfly-sicles, but their blood contains glycogens – antifreeze – that allow their tissues to withstand the winter’s cycles of freezing and thawing.”

In spring, the un-dead arise again.

Happy Halloween.

Eastern Comma

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I never quite know what I will stumble upon when I wander about in remote areas of the woods, fields, and marshes of Huntley Meadows Park. This past weekend I spotted this skull, which I guess is that of a White-tailed Deer (Odocoileus virginianus), a common species where I live. How did this deer meet its demise? Was it old age, disease, starvation, or a predator?

Somehow this simple image of a skull seems appropriate for Halloween Week. Happy Halloween in advance.

White-tailed Deer

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When I arrived at the marsh in the early morning hours, it looked like the spiders had been busy all night preparing decorations for Halloween—there were spider webs everywhere.

The webs seemed to have been more hastily constructed than those of the orbweavers that I have observed recently and there did not appear to be any spiders in the center of these webs. What is the purpose of these webs if the spiders are not there to secure any prey that is caught in the web?

I can’t help but admire the amazing artistry of these fascinating little creatures as I examine the interlocking lines and curves of their incredible creations.

I’ve place these images in a mosaic collage—if you want to see larger versions of the images, just click on any one of them and you’ll move into a slide show mode that lets you scroll through them quickly.

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Some spiders can be creepy, but others are quite beautiful, like this one that I photographed earlier this month at my local marshland park. I am catching up a bit on posting photos from this month that I really liked and thought it might be good to post a spider image on Halloween night. I have not yet been able to identify this spider, but noted that it did not have a web and seemed to be lying in wait for prey on the long leaf of this plant. I’d welcome assistance in identifying the species of spider,

spider_halloween_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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On Halloween night, it somehow feels appropriate to post this photograph of a spider web that I took earlier this month. Some people find spider webs (and spiders) to be creepy, but I find them to be fascinating.  I look at spider webs as a form of beautiful natural art, filled with wonderful geometric shapes and designs and always marvel at the ability of spiders to weave them.

web_halloween_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It looks like this female Northern Cardinal decided to get dressed up as a punk rocker for Halloween. She has put some gel in her bright red Mohawk and adopted an attitude. Her really bright eyes and vacant stare suggest that she might be under the influence of some natural or artificial stimulant. I was not able to get close enough to see if she has any tattoos or piercings, but it wouldn’t surprise me.

Happy Halloween!

Punk rocker Cardinal

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Originally posted on 25 August 2012

I am re-posting this image for three primary reasons.

  • Today’s Halloween and what could be more appropriate for an insect with Halloween in its name?
  • This is one of my absolutely favorite images and many of you may not have seen it yet (and I like the text too).
  • I’m a bit of a contrarian and want to post something beautiful today, rather than the creepy images that others may choose to post.

Happy Halloween!

Text of original post:

I remember my excitement the first time I saw a really cool dragonfly a few months ago that turned out to be a Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Celithemis eponina). He had a very distinctive look with brown spots and stripes on his wings and orange veins. That first time I was happy to get any shot of the dragonfly.

Today I think that I encountered a Halloween Pennant for a second time. I was still very much taken by his looks but I had the presence of mind to circle about a bit, trying to get a good angle for the shot. The shot below is the one that I like the best of those that I took.

As I think about it, I go through this cycle a lot. I’m so in awe and wonder when I encounter something new that photography is not my first priority. Instead I am living the experience. Maybe my photos the first time are not the best, but that’s ok for me, because living my life is more important than merely recording it in my photos. That may be why I like to go back to places a second time and then focus a bit more on getting good shots.

Halloween Pennant dragonfly (Click for higher resolution view)

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It seems appropriate to post a photo of a spider on the evening before Halloween. I was not able to get a look at the spider’s front side when I photographed it this past weekend at Huntley Meadows Park, so I can’t identify it. I know for sure, though, that I never want to wake up in the morning and have this view of a spider. With my near-sighted vision, that would mean that it was way too close to me for my comfort. Happy Halloween!

UPDATE: Thanks to the assistance of my mentor and fellow blogger, Cindy Dyer, I am now pretty sure that the spider is the orb-weaver spider Neoscona Crucifera, sometimes known as Hentz’s orb-weaver or a barn spider (though there are other spiders known as barn spiders too).

Pre-Halloween spider enjoys a snack

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Throughout much of the summer I posted photos Black and Yellow Garden Orbweaver spiders (Argiope aurantia). Having not spotted one in several weeks,  that they were gone until next year. I was happy to be wrong, however, and photographed one yesterday. I was even more delighted that the background colors work well for autumn and for Halloween (and nothing says Halloween more than a creepy spider).

Autumn spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Does Halloween have an official insect mascot? Maybe we need an election, since it seems to be season for campaigning.

When I first saw this photo of a Cattail caterpillar (Simyra insularis) that I took a week ago, I was struck by the fact that its black and orange colors seemed perfectly appropriate for Halloween. (In a previous posting about this species, it was the pattern of the caterpillar that was its most notable feature.)

Does anyone else have a viable candidate? If so, post your photos and let’s make this a race!

Vote for me to be the official insect mascot for Halloween

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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