insect

Going out of the city means going into the wilderness meaning you get more bugs bugging you.
I shot a good number of bees in the past months, and they get boring at some point (yeah, they do). But I still shot a few more, just because they were s o o o o o  s l o w. They were just sitting there. And they were still sitting there in exactly the same spot the next day. And no, they weren’t dead.

Bumblebee

D800, ISO400, 1/500 sec @ f/4,5, Tamron 90mm macro

Bumblebee

D800, ISO400, 1/500 sec @ f/4,5, Tamron 90mm macro

But now that we’re a bit further into the summer… Or actually, now that summer’s pretty much on its end and we’re going into fall, some other bugs have come out that I -for some reason- haven’t seen around so much during summer.

Crane fly

D800, ISO100, 1/125 sec @ f/4.5, Tamron 90mm

And this weird creature:

Heteroptera

D800, ISO400, 1/125 sec @ f/5.3, Tamron 90mm

Interesting stuff going on!

Ringlet butterfly resting on a leaf

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Bumblebee on a fireweed collecting honey

D800, ISO1600, 1/2000 sec @ f/4, Tamron 90mm

Two bumblebees sitting on a water hemlock collecting honey

D800, ISO100, 1/320 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash

Hoverflies flying around a thistle

D800, ISO1600, 1/8000 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Hoverflies flying around a thistle

D800, ISO1600, 1/8000 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

And one where I was simply too slow 😀

Grass against a blue sky

D800, ISO100, 1/320 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash

 

I love it. Just to go out there, be surrounded by wildlife (read: mosquitoes, and occasionally the persistent horse- or moosefly), take pictures without being disturbed (except by mosquitoes, and occasionally the persistent horse- or moosefly)… 😀
But I’m persistent, too. And that leads to some interesting pictures every now and again. This’ll go into a few posts, since I can’t really stuff all those images into one post.

So here goes. It all started after a good rain shower…

Drops on the leaves of a plant

D800, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Of course us human beings (with cameras) are the only ones nagging about a bit of water (while it’s coming down, it’s all fine and dandy when it’s done and dry outside… 😉 ). These critters don’t really give a toss.

Bumblebee

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Bumblebee collecting honey from the flower of a yellow aster

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/3.8, Tamron 90mm

Bumbebee sitting on a water hemlock collecting honey

D800, ISO100, 1/320 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash

Bumblebee flying to a fireweed collecting honey

D800, ISO1600, 1/4000 sec @ f/4, Tamron 90mm

 

You don’t find rainbows on and under the leaves. Other colorful and not so colorful stuff you do.
This little bug(ger) was very patient and let me do my thing for about 10 minutes, before taking of. I guess it thought that after turning left, right and face front I must’ve got all there was to shoot of it. And I did.

Fly sitting on a leaf

D800, ISO1600, 1/350 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 105mm

Fly sitting on a leaf

D800, ISO400, 1/180 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 105mm

And then this weird thing… We were heading out of the woods and I happened to spot it crawling around on a leaf. Funky stuff going on in those tentacles/antennas (whatever you call them). I thought it was some sort of thing to lure or keep away other animals. It really looked like there was a maggot inside of them moving up and down. When I was keywording for stock and searched for the snail with maggot like antennas I came across the Wikipedia page where it was explained that this snail was infected with a parasite. It’s originally in bird poop, where the snail eats from and ingests the parasite. The parasite then starts to consume the snail slowly and it nestles in the tentacles, basically switching off the snails ability to determine whether it’s light or dark, so it doesn’t know whether to hide or not, thus being a nice little prey for birds, who then consume the snail including parasite, which returns to the digestive system of the bird and ends up in the bird poop, where another snail east from and ingests the parasite. Etc. etc. etc. Amazing how nature does its thing, isn’t it?

Snail infected with a parasite in its tentacles

D800, ISO400, 1/350 sec @ f/4.8, Nikkor 105mm

Another parasite, or pest, plague, if you like, is this one.

Sack of the tent caterpillar hanging under a tree trunk

D800, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/5.6, Tamron 90mm, on-camera flash

The caterpillar makes some sort of web around the entire tree and eats it completely empty. The web is funny stuff. It feels like plastic, the kind of plastic they vacuum-wrap food and other products in, and it’s super strong. It doesn’t feel at all sticky like a spider’s web. This image doesn’t really do it justice, but the light was beautiful, especially reflecting off of the webs. Destructive as it is, it does look really pretty.

Webs of the tent caterpillar in the branches of a tree

D800, ISO200, 1/750 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

And then there was still this little fellow, who at first I thought was dead, but then regained consciousness and took off. I did get my pictures, though 🙂

Bumble bee on a thistle

D800, ISO800, 1/350 sec @ f/4, Tamron 90mm

The bee photo is a focus stack of 10 images. I wanted the whole flower and the bee in focus and since the little guy played dead for awhile, it gave me all the time to get enough images to do the focus stacking.

My friend was kind enough to lend me his new Nikkor 105mm macro with VR. I have a Tamron 90mm (it’s about 8 years old, I think, and my only non-Nikkor lens) and I’ve been considering for awhile already to switch. I never got to try it out, though, even if a couple of my photographer-buddies have offered to lend it to me. This day I did give it a go, and I must honestly admit that, with the images that I shot, there’s not much difference in quality and sharpness. One clear difference is that the Nikkor focuses at least twice as fast. The Tamron really needs a clear contrast in the image for the autofocus to properly lock on. If there isn’t enough contrast, the lens keeps on searching and you get the annoying buzz of the lens zooming in and out to try to find something to focus on (and your object/subject/target will probably have left by the time you decide to switch to manual). So in terms of quality I would stick with my Tamron. The massive price of the Nikkor doesn’t justify the switch for me. I know when to autofocus and when to manually focus, so that’s no issue for me. However… If someone would have a (good as new) Nikkor for a good price up for sale, I would probably still get rid of the Tamron and buy the Nikkor.

Although temperatures are dropping, it’s still fall. In all it’s glory.
I promised I’d give you some more. I’m not going for all the colorful leaves this year (yet, at least). You’ve probably seen plenty of that.
The other day, when I was driving home, I noticed a whole bunch of mushrooms in a garden patch right out front the building. Had planned to go take some pictures of it, but the weather’s been so crappy that I never got to it. Last Sunday was such a glorious fall day, though, that I finally got to go out and shoot them. Plastic garbage bag a-ready, because I was sprawled out on the wet grass on my belly, getting down and dirty, and up close and personal. I missed all the funny looks from passers-by, but that’s ok. I had some pretty cool views myself.

Mushroom

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB-800

Mushrooms

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 90mm macro, 2x off-camera SB-800

But the coolest thing… shows that you should SO shoot in RAW to retain as much image detail as you possibly can… was this one:

Mushrooms

D700, ISO200, 1/125 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro, off-camera SB-800

What’s so special about this, you’d probably wonder… Well, I didn’t think of it much first. It’s a funky image with the mushrooms like this and the detail “under the hood”, but when I had it open in Lightroom I noticed the mosquito. Here’s a cut-out of the original:

Cutout of the original

Partial close-up of the original

As a silhouette the mosquito isn’t all that bad either, but I opened it up in Photoshop and went to see how much detail there really was recorded in the RAW file. So with a few adjustments in exposure and curves, and a pixel-perfect mask on the mosquito

The layer mask for the mosquito and the (adjustment) layer panel in Photoshop

The layer mask for the mosquito and the (adjustment) layer panel in Photoshop

the whole thing turned out to be a surprisingly sharp image of the mosquito (lucky focusing there, I guess 😉 ). No additional sharpening has been done here. The SB-800 was lying upside down in the dirt to the left (upside down, because I wanted the flash to flash upwards under the cap of the mushroom) and I guess there was so much light bouncing back off the stem and cap of the mushroom that it lit up the mosquito completely. It almost looks like it’s transparent or something. Really cool. Anyway… Ramblings of a biased photographer.

Mushrooms with mosquito

Partial close-up of the adjusted image

By the way… If anyone knows what mushroom this is, feel free to drop me a line. I suck in recognizing plants and other vegetables and Google isn’t much help in this either 😉

When these guys come out, you know “that” time has come.
“That” time in “this” country means an abundance of colors, shapes and other goodies to take pictures of.
Other pictures will follow, I have no doubt, but for now I’m sticking to this particular (poisonous) hallucinogen: the fly agaric.

Fly agaric

D700, ISO200, 1/180 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 50mm

Fly agaric

D700, ISO1600, 1/180 sec @ f/16, Tamron 90mm macro

Oh, and have you ever wondered why they are called “fly agarics”?
I have. And I never really understood (must admit that I never really try to find out why either), but well… Here you go:

Fly agaric

D700, ISO200, 1/20 sec @ f/9.5, Tamron 90mm macro

Apparently in the early days it was used as an insecticide and it clearly works well. This bug isn’t peacefully enjoying its sunny day, it’s RIP-ing in its colorful coffin. The mushroom isn’t a flesh eater, though.

 

Went to friends yesterday to shoot some flowers, because they have such a nice garden… You never know what you end up shooting 🙂

Snail

D700, ISO800, 1/320 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro, on-camera flash

Centipede

D700, ISO800, 1/320 sec @ f/8, Tamron 90mm macro, on-camera flash

Place your orders for prints, posters, cups, etc. etc. now, before any one else has the chance! You’ll be one of the first ones with a poster over your bed like this!
I’d never seen a pink grasshopper before, so I googled it and there’s a stack of results coming up saying this is a rare thing. I remain sceptical until the orders come in 😀

Ok, all jokes aside… When out with the Better Half (I guess I won’t disclose the location to prevent news teams showing up at the place 😀 ) I took a stroll through the garden when my eye caught a glimps of an out-of-place color. At least for the part where I was looking. I checked in closer and saw the cutest little creature sitting on a leaf.
Needless to say I went for the camera to shoot a couple of pictures. I did have the macro lens on, but that didn’t really turn out too good, so I went back to the car to get my bag and the extension tubes, expecting the little bugger to be gone by the time I came back. But lo and behold: it was patient, and and apparently experienced in modeling, because it had turned around, head up, facing right up in to the light (if you lean in closely you might even catch a catch light or 500 😉 ). So I set up the tripod, which I also brought, put the extension tube on, stuck it in the face of the grasshopper and even then it didn’t move.

Pink grasshopper sitting on a green leaf

D700, ISO200, 1/250 sec @ f/4.8, Tamron 90mm macro + 24mm extension tube

A little break from the Canaries…
Now that summer’s come to an end, and fall has been disappointingly short, and before I go out and change the tires on my car to studded ones, I thought I’d give a last little reminder of this year’s summer…. *sighs*

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/4.2, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/4.2, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/16, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/16, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250sec @ f/16, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250sec @ f/16, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/250 sec @ f/11, Tamron 90mm macro, Sigma EM-140 DG ring flash

D200, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

D200, ISO100, 1/500 sec @ f/4, Nikkor 70-200mm

Refuge

We had it coming already for a couple of days, and after 3 weeks of pretty much non-stop rain I was really looking forward to it. SNOW!
Some slush to begin with, but last night it started seriously snowing. Now I only hope that it’ll get more and that it’ll stay until next year. Last year’s winter sucked moosepeckers. We “celebrated” my first snowless Christmas since moving to Finland.

There was a little bug on the window looking out, probably content with itself being on the inside of the window, not on the outside. It IS quite important, if you’re a one-day fly that the quality of your life is good and snowless.
Unfortunately the quality of its life wasn’t catless and Cassandra did have a protein rich breakfast… And the fly turned out to be not-quite-a-complete-one-day fly.

Enjoy the snow while you still can...

Enjoy the snow while you still can...