Monday, June 24, 2013

Photographer's Journal

Quilted Steel

Yes, I love to photograph butterflies, dragonflies, wildflowers and more. But I'm also fascinated by the work of human hands. We too are gifted creators.

Grain elevators dot the Louisiana landscape. This one is in Winnsboro. I shot this for a project I'm involved in on Google+. A group of photographers shoots photos on a theme, then gets together in live, online "hangouts" to share and discuss their two best images on that theme.

This was one of my submissions on the theme "Industrial." The group liked it a lot, but one person suggested I make the blacks a little more intensely black--which I did, just a little bit, and I think it an improvement.

Many complain that online social networking is a waste of time. I disagree. It certainly can be used in productive ways while still being great fun.


Saturday, June 22, 2013

Summer Solstice Safari

Painted Lady (Phyciodes tharos) on Bee Balm (Monarda fistulosa)
Today I had the rare privilege of hiking on Nature Conservancy land near Copenhagen, La. This preserve is not open to the public, but the Louisiana Native Plant Society got permission to visit, led by botanist Dr. Charles Allen.

What an amazing place and experience! We spent most of our time in a large plot of prairie thick with grasses and wildflowers. This was the only painted lady I saw. The bee balm was blooming everywhere, and we saw prairie clover, prairie conflower, purple coneflower and much more.
This is one of my favorites from the morning. Many photos to come!

Friday, June 21, 2013

Summer Solstice Safari

Cloudless Sulphur (Phoebis sennae)
It was plenty hot, but we had a fantastic hike today at the Charles Allen Biological Station, led by Dr. Allen himself, with friends from the Louisiana Native Plant Society. It was our kick-off hike for the Summer Solstice Safari that continues through Sunday noon.

Tomorrow we will visit the Nature Conservancy reserve in the Copenhagen Hills that neighbor the CABS where we spent today. I am so excited! The Nature Conservancy is not open to the public, but Dr. Allen can take use in.

This beauty is tasting Brazilian vervain, a common wildflower in Louisiana that butterflies love.


Louisiana Natives

Barfweed (Lobelia spicata)

Lobelia has many common names, almost all of which are pretty good descriptions of what happens if you ingest it, heaveleaf, pukeweed & vomitwort being among them! Nevertheless, a lovely flower, "spicata" being a pale blue and a bit less common in Louisiana then appendiculata, according to my botanist friend Dr. Charles Allen. I found this specimen in the ditch along Hwy 463 in west-central Louisiana.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Photographer's Journal: Dragonflies

Eastern Amberwing (Perithemis tenera)

This is a small dragonfly and he stayed on the other side of the drainage ditch, so this is not as close as I'd like. I say "he" because, based on descriptions of their behavior, I'm guessing it's a male. He stayed on this twig or sashayed out a ways and came back, which indicates he had chosen this as a mating site. Indeed, while I was watching, another one come in and out several times but did not stay. That was probably the female and maybe she didn't like the "amenities" of this spot!

This drainage ditch skirts the Arkla Flyers airfield just southwest of Mer Rouge, La. I spent over an hour there a week ago on my way home from leading Morning Prayer at St. Andrew's in Mer rouge. This is my third time to stop there. I love photographing the planes, but the drainage ditch draws birds, dragonflies and more.

On this particular outing, two really unusual dragonflies were cruising up and down the drainage ditch. One was pink, and it finally landed just briefly. I got one slightly out of focus shot. The other had a stark white body and very dark wings. It flew fast and never landed. I have never seen anything like it! So... must return and try again.

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Photographer's Journal: Dragonflies

Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa), female
So... I was photographing at the quarry along Hwy 165 just north of Camp Hardtner, and this beautiful dragonfly obliged by posing for me.

Actually, NOT. She flitted around, stopping just long enough for me to get the telephoto lens in focus, then took off again before I could release the shutter.

But I finally got a couple of shots in focus, this being the pose that best shows her marks and colors. Yes, it is a she. With a little help from a small but enthusiastic band of dragonfly photographers on Google+, I identified the species, then from Wikipedia learned that this is a female.

A week later I was able to photograph a male of this species between two of the Three Sisters Lakes at Camp Hardtner. His markings are red and I'll post him soon.

And thus I discovered the great fun and challenge of photographing dragonflies! More to come.


Monday, June 3, 2013

Things Unseen

tears, not despair

heading south
then west, not east
away, not to

okay, not okay
not despair