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Posts Tagged ‘spring’

I love simple beauty, like that of a single tulip flower that opens in the sunlight to reveal its colorful center, and closes at night as if to protect its precious treasure. This red tulip was the first full-sized tulip to bloom in the garden of my friend and photography mentor Cindy Dyer. I spotted it early on Easter morning when it was closed up, as shown in the second image. I was pleasantly surprised that afternoon to see that the tulip was open and I captured the first image.

I love this time of the year, when so much color is beginning to appear. Take the time this season to smell the roses—tulips do not seem to be particularly fragrant.

tulip

tulip

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Daffodils have popped up all over my neighborhood the past few days, but none of them says Spring to me as much as this single crocus that I spotted in a neighbor’s yard last week. Backgrounds are always a big problem with flowers this early—it’s hard to avoid having mulch or fallen leaves in a shot. For this shot I used my 180mm macro lens and a really shallow depth of field. I like the softness that the settings gave the edges of the flower, while the center on which I was focusing was pretty sharp.

crocus

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The calendar says that it is not quite spring, but after the cold weather we have had recently, it sure feels like spring when the temperature reaches 60 degrees F (15.5 degrees C) on consecutive days. As I walked about in my marshland park this past Monday I noticed some small flying insects, giving me hope that dragonflies and damselflies will be on the scene soon.

As I was climbing down the stairs of the observation deck, I noticed something hanging in the air. When I bent toward it, it seemed to move farther away from me and eventually came to rest on the surface of the boardwalk. I was a little shocked to see that it was a tiny spider.

There was no way that I was going to be able to get a shot of the spider with the 150-600mm zoom lens that was on my camera, but fortunately I had my 100mm macro lens in my bag. With one eye on the spider, I rapidly changed lens. As I tried to figure out a way to get a shot, the spider started moving, which, of course, increases the challenge of getting a macro shot.

I managed to get a few shots of this early-appearing spider, which I have not yet been able to identify, before it crawled into a crack in the boards and disappeared from view. I’m pretty confident that I will get some better images of spiders as the weather continues to warm up, but this one is special, because it is the first one of the season for me, so I am more than happy with my record shots of it.

spring spiderspring spider

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Damselflies are beautiful, delicate insects that are often hard to see and photograph. I captured this image of my first damselfly of the year at Huntley Meadows Park this past Friday. I am not very good at identifying these tiny insects, but think this might be a Fragile Forktail (Ischnura posita).

I was standing my the edge of my favorite beaver pond when I saw the damselfly in flight. I followed it with my eyes and was delighted when it landed on a nearby stalk of grass. I didn’t have a lot of maneuver, because much of the area at the pond’s edge is covered with thorny bushes, and I had to pull back a bit to get within the minimum focusing distance of my 70-300mm telephoto lens , i.e. 4.9 feet (1.5 meters). At that range, the dragonfly filled a reasonable amount of the frame.

Lighting was a bit of a challenge and I tried a couple of different settings as the damselfly lifted its tail from time to time. Eventually, it climbed to the end of the stalk and I changed position too and tried a couple of shots (including the final shot) using my pop-up flash.

Most of the time the first shot below is my favorite, but sometimes I like the others as well or more. In any case, I am happy that I was able to get some good shots of my first damselfly of the spring.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Anticipation, waiting for the moment when a tulip will burst open. For now, all we can see is a little tongue of color, a foretaste of the beauty that is to come.

Anticipation web

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Taking advantage of yesterday’s gorgeous springtime weather, this little Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) took a break from his chores to enjoy a snack and to bask in the warmth of the sun for a few moments.

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© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

 

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The world changed for me when I put my macro lens back on my camera, simultaneous becoming smaller and bigger. Instead of looking in the distance for birds, I switched my focus to the world immediately in from of me, searching for tiny objects that I can photograph.

In vain I long for colorful butterflies and dragonflies, but it is too early in the spring for them to appear. As soon as a fly buzzed by me, I was seized with an irresistible urge to capture its image. It’s only a fly (a Green Bottle Fly, I think), but it is symbolic of the joys to come, the time when I will spend endless hours chasing after insects, trying to capture the detailed beauty of their colors and patterns.

fly_march_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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The late afternoon sunlight shining through this crocus from behind illuminated it like a natural stained glass window. I love the beauty of simple things.

crocus2_march_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Yesterday afternoon, my dear friend and fellow photographer Cindy Dyer called to alert me that there were some crocuses blooming in her garden. The lighting was wonderful and the dirt in the background provides a simple backdrop for the gorgeous colors of this little spring flower.

crocus1_march_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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An insect on the edge of a leaf is a perfect candidate for a macro shot and when I saw this one from a distance in my neighbor’s garden, I got to work without a clue about its identity.

When I looked at the photos initially, I thought I had captured images of a Red Milkweed Beetle (Tetraopes tetrophthalmus), because of its bright red body and curved, segmented antennae. (I have a self-identified obsession with this insect that I discussed in a blog posting last year.) However, there were a few problems with that identification. This beetle seemed smaller; it was on a plant that was definitely not a milkweed plant; and it seemed too early to be seeing a milkweed beetle. My identification was further complicated by the fact that I never did see the back of the beetle.

So what insect did I photograph? I have been going over photos at bugguide.net, one of my favorite sources and wonder if this might be a Lily Leaf Beetle (Lilioceris lilii). Tentatively, though I like the name that I invented for this post, Red Spring Beetle.

I may not be sure about the identification of this insect, but I know that I like the photos that I managed to get, especially the first one. I captured a pretty good amount of detail and I like the way that he posed, looking directly at me.

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Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Yesterday while I was walking  in Washington D.C. along a path through Rock Creek Park, I came across a small cluster of daffodils that are already blooming. The day was cold and gray and eventually we had a small ice storm, but these hardy, bright yellow flowers remind me that spring is not very far away.

daffodil1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I usually think of the robin as a harbinger of spring, but the robin loses that symbolic significance during the waning days of October, or does it? Seeing the first American robin (Turdus migratorius) in the spring is an indication that the long, cold months of winter are finally ending, a sign of hope in the promise of things to come. Irrespective of the season, I need that hope, that joyous expectation in my life and the sight of a robin serves as a visual reminder that spring will come again.

Autumn robin

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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