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Posts Tagged ‘Runnymeade’

There are a lot of fallen leaves scattered all about my neighborhood and at first I thought this butterfly was merely one of them. Then it opened its wings, revealing its inner beauty. Wow!

I am pretty sure this is a Question Mark butterfly (Polygonia interrogationis), though there is also a chance that it might be an Eastern Comma butterfly (Polygonia comma). Yes, there are butterflies named after punctuation marks.

How do you tell them apart? Well. there is a little white marking on the wings and if it has a single part, it’s a comma, and if it has two parts, it’s a question mark. My challenge in this case was that the marking was not very distinctive. I looked through a lot of material and photos on the internet and the wing shape and coloration started to push me toward the Question Mark, but I still had questions. I came across a posting by TrekOhio.com that illustrated the differences in the spots on the inner wings and I convinced myself the spots in the second photo look like those of a Question Mark.

Whatever the case, the butterfly’s resemblance to a fallen leaf and its beautiful orange color are reminders to me that autumn is surely here, my favorite time of the year.

Question Mark butterfly

Question Mark butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When the temperature is 96 degrees outside (about 36 degrees C), it’s hard to have the energy to go far with my camera. Fortunately, my neighbor, fellow photographer Cindy Dyer, has an awesome garden. I was glad to be able to capture this shot of some gladiolas that were blooming there this past weekend.

Thanks, Cindy.

gladiolas

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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I absolutely love the vibrant colors of the daylilies in the garden of my neighbor, Cindy Dyer. Cindy is best known for her photos of flowers that have appeared multiple times on U.S. postage stamps, but she photographs a wide variety of subjects. On a more personal level, she has served as my photography mentor over the past four years and has been a constant source of encouragement and inspiration for me.

As I was capturing some images of the daylilies, I thought back to one of my earliest lessons with Cindy in which she reassured me that I didn’t have to capture the entire flower when I photographed it. That simple insight helped me realize that I was doing something more than simply documenting reality—I was creating my own version of reality through a series of artistic and technical choices.

I learned a powerful and liberating lesson that day that has continued to shape the way I approach most of my photography.

daylily

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Do your remember what it was like to be young and in love? You and your beloved couldn’t beat to be separated—you were always together, always close, always touching, like these two Shasta Daisies growing in the garden of my neighbor and fellow photographer Cindy Dyer.

As I was looking for information about the Shasta Daisy, I came across this fascinating information on the history on the flower at lutherburbank.org:

“2001 marked the 100th anniversary of Luther Burbank’s introduction of the Shasta daisy, one of America’s most beloved garden flowers. Burbank spent 17 years developing this quadruple hybrid which he named after Mt. Shasta. Others have continued Burbank’s work and many new varieties of the Shasta daisy have been introduced since Burbank completed his work more than 100 years ago.”

Shasta Daisy

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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How far do you usually travel when you want to take some photos? I capture a lot of my wildlife/nature images in my local area, but generally I get into my car and travel at least a few miles before I begin shooting.

Sometimes, though, I feel the urge to shoot, but don’t really want to travel far. In those moments I will usually walk over to the townhouse of my neighbor, fellow photographer Cindy Dyer, who always seems to have an assortment of photogenic flowers in bloom.

Last week I chased a Cabbage White butterfly (Pieris rapae) that I spotted fluttering about the flowers in garden. It passed by the globe thistles and the cone flowers and finally perched for a moment on a lavender plant. The sun was shining brightly, which I knew would create problems in getting a proper exposure of the dazzling white wings of the butterfly. I switched my metering to spot metering and the wings retained their details, but the background became really dark, creating a dramatic lighting effect that I really like. As always, I was thrilled to be able to see the beautiful green eye of this common butterfly that is often ignored or simply taken for granted.

Cabbage White

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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When Freckles heard the sound of a fire engine in the distance, she stopped playing and listened intently for a moment. She then leaned back her head and began to howl along with the sound of the siren. Who knew that Cocker Spaniels like to howl?

For the last two and a half weeks I have been taking care of Freckles while her owners have been on their honeymoon. It’s been a joy (and occasionally a challenge) having a dog in my life again. During this short time we have developed our own little routines and, among other things, I’ll miss her curling up around my feet as I use my laptop.

Freckles

Freckles

Freckles

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The past two weeks have been filled with intermittent rain and constant clouds, so I have not been able to chase dragonflies as I like to do at this time of year. The rain has been good for the flowers, however, and the garden of my photography mentor and neighbor Cindy Dyer is now full of beautiful bearded irises. Yesterday I attempted to capture some of the beauty of the purple ones in different stages of development. I particularly like the way the first image turned out, where the blurry image in the background gives a foretaste of the beauty that is to come when the bud opens up.

Speaking of Cindy Dyer, I was thrilled recently when I learned that another of her images will appear as a United States Postal Service (USPS) stamp. Her image of Sacred Lotuses at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens will be part of a 16-stamp series celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service. The series will be officially unveiled in New York City on June 2. Check out this announcement from the USPS for more information and to see her beautiful image.

purple iris

purple iris

purple iris

purple iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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