Thursday, September 18, 2014

Heads or tails?

Which way do YOU eat a tiny fly
(or, say, chocolate bunny, if that's more your style)?

Heads (i.e. ears, if you're in chocolate bunny-land):
(Just occurred to me this is one entry point used to embalm mummies...)


Found this carcass beneath the dahlias which host many crab spiders.
They catch a lot of flower-visiting flies & bees.

On the same day I found a similar bug being eaten
by a crab spider in a dahlia.

Seemed like when spider saw me, it immediately passed the fly over its head.

I wonder if that's a ninja move:
hold victim #1 out of the way w/1 arm,
then prepare to attack again with other 7.

Good move.

Lots of beautiful spiders in this group:

Lastly, a free, helpful hint to anyone trying to run a web site
 about crab spiders and hoping people will use/trust it:

Don't say "bees and insects."

Bees are insects.

So, there's that...

I'm willing to bet has never said that.
'Cause they're awesome like that. =)

So, heads or tails?
I was an eat-the-chocolate-bunny-ears-first kinda kid.


Friday, September 12, 2014

Why I can't deadhead this particular dahlia bloom

 Big ol' pale yellow dahlia flower pretty far past its prime...

This crab spider looks REALLY ready to be a mama spider.

Her abdomen is HUGE.

So, the flower stays.



Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Storm cloud + ogling Tenaya Lake

 Had a nice little storm, yesterday.

Which proved that it CAN rain in California.
Got about .14 inches.
We'll take it.

Was enjoying the #IAmANaturalist thing on twitter, yesterday,
which inspired me to riff off of it:

#YouKnowYoureANaturalistWhen you have to unplug everything due to thunderstorm
then grab your camera & go outside. =)

Yeah. Amid a bit of lightning and a few drops of rain.
MAN, that smelled amazing.

Tenaya Lake, Yosemite NP.

Went to Mammoth Lakes this weekend, and upon our drive home,
took a wee little walk at this perfect lake.

And was delighted to see a tiny beach restoration test area (my interpretation).

And, in case you've never been there, here's shots, scanning right to left, of Tenaya Lake.
Lots of people climb that big thing, so many people also park just to watch them. 

The rest is just more trees.


Can you see why it's popular?

If you go to the south side of the lake,
you'll see some really cool rock formations,
and some AMAZING reflections, if it's not windy.

Next time I'm stopping there, too.

Hoping I'll process, and later post, a few photos from Mammoth Lakes.


Tuesday, September 2, 2014

You're so judge-y: county fair photos are RATED.

At the end of this post, I also share a few of my favorite photos other folks took.

The Me Wall

SPOILER ALERT: I got zero 1st place ribbons. Bupkis.

However, I did get a few other-place ribbons, much to my delight. =)

In the novice/intermediate enlargement category for insects and lizards:

MOSTLY I'm just psyched I did this.

It was 100% new for me
& I was nervous
& had no clue what I was doing
& I did it anyhow.

WOOT! =)

In the novice/intermediate enlargement category for plant life/natural environment:

I have no idea how many entries they got,
and I'm dying to know.

They say if it's crowded, they reserve the right to
just display placing photos.

Novice/intermediate snapshots, insects and lizards
 (plus other categories to l & rt.):

The 3 Best In Shows I saw were:
photo of an old man's face
photo of a child's face
photo of corn.

None of the above are photos I'm likely to take or enter.
I'm native species and non-human animal biased. =)

I do love a Good Underdog.
Which, incidentally, was my FAVORITE cartoon when I was TINY.
Probably not a coincidence.


The Them Wall

This might be my very favorite of other folks' photos:

Isn't it LOVELY? I think it's YUMMY.

This one is also great. WAY better in person.

So simple, and so good.

This one's also nice and abstract, w/lovely shapes & colors.

The professional group stands out, even from a distance. =)

So much great color and simple, strong composition.


There you go.
I got six ribbons in all,
and got to see a lot of other photos I really enjoyed.

Same Time, Next Year

Next year I'm making LARGER prints,
and I've got ONE category that
I'm for SURE breaking into, so...



Wishing you all good health, good times, and good photos.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Show off

 Photos I may have submitted to the county fair.
DH suggested you might wanna see. =)
Warning: these may look familiar...

Probably my favorite bee shot. Was TOTALLY watching me. =)

It may have been a strategic error to have SO many of my photos in the insect category
but I'm apparently obsessed w/bugs.
Nevertheless a few non-bug shots got in, too.

 This one I EXPRESSLY submitted 'cause YOU people had said you really like it.
So, THANK YOU!!! =)

Another benefit to this process:
I learned to cut & mount photos which is
exacting, precise and a wee bit stressful.

However, it's 100% absorbing,
and for ONCE I have some of my photos enlarged & mounted.



Thursday, July 31, 2014

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's Super Exuvia! (plus wildfire cloud sexiness)

It flies through the air
with the greatest of ease,
that daring young exuvia
on the flying trapeze.*

Found this near the bottom of a dahlia, suspeded somewhat invisibly.
Pretty sure it's the exuvia of YET another bordered plant bug.

I say "yet another" 'cause just before dark, the day before, across the garden, I found:
eep! I'd NEVER seen this sort of thing happen in person. SO COOL.

Obviously some kind of beaked bug shedding its old exoskeleton.
However, bug colors can change as they dry out & inflate wings, etc.

40 minutes later:
Beauty, eh?

Pardon plant cage wire, but it was basically dark,
I couldn't really see and I didn't think to engage auto focus,
so this is the ONLY shot I took that was clear.

Next morning I rooted around the VERY same dahlia plant and found:

A VERY fresh looking bordered plant bug, Largus spp.
I'm guessing it's the same individual, just all dried and hardened,
and maybe L. californicus 'cause we're in California & it looks right. =)


Looking at Largus images on bugguide
I ran across images of the nymphs,
which I'm convinced are the TINY, shiny bugs
that earlier this year crowded our zinnia plants:

As you can see, that zinnia stem indicates these little dudes are LITTLE.

Yesterday morning, peering up from a basil leaf:

It's a very snouty little creature that I find adorable.
  I'm thinking Scolops genus, one of many plant hopper species.

I just love that face with the dreamy eyes. =)

The ONLY reason I knew this dried lavender leaf was actually
a crab spider is that it ran out & posed when I arrived.

Amazing camouflage.
Imagine flying around, trying to find nectar & pollen in a super dry year,
zooming past a dead lavender leaf & it GRABS AND EATS YOU.

Yikes! Nature is NOT kidding around.

I was in the above spider's neighborhood 'cause I'd spied this
and wanted to know who it was:

Looks a lot like our friend on the basil--though this one didn't fare so well.
But, a spider's gotta eat.

A relative: an exuvia of a fulgorid nymph (another adorbs plant hopper) I found days ago.
Even its exoskeleton is cute. =) This thing is pinky nail tiny or smaller.


This photo was taken from our backyard Saturday at 5:22 p.m.
The El Portal Fire started ~3:30 that day.
I love the (presumed) lenticular cloud forming over the pyrocumulus cloud. Wow!

Two minutes later, lenticulars are pretty much gone.
 SO much amazing texture.

Once again, felt the wildfire feelings:
awe at this powerful, weirdly beautiful phenomenon,
AND concerned our house might burn down.

Never fear, though, it's on the "other" side of Merced River from us,
and the "French" fire (east of Oakhurst, CA) is bigger & more out of control, 
but is much further from us.

In the meantime, we will be breathing a pretty smoky palette.

Never seen a forecast like THAT before. =)
However, better smoke than fire...

And there's always the smoky sunsets: delicious!


*This is based on the Daring Young Man on the Flying Trapeze song, from 1867, inspired by the super successful trapeze artist, Jules Leotard. Presume the name of the close fitting article of clothing favored by dancers comes from his last name. 
An image of Jules Léotard in the garment that bears his name (in public domain due to its age).

=) He's probably wearing rather unusual attire for the late 19th century, but I imagine he's wary of clothing that may catch on things...