Tag: insects

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Bumble Bee Delights

Yesterday we returned to 2007 with a backyard portrait of bunny Daisy. A few months earlier, June 24, I shot bug and flowers on a mini-medium that separates Decatur and University avenues where Newport Mill Road intersects both, in Kensington, Md. According to Google Maps street view, from June 2022, the place remains—even fuller and lusher than I recall.

I used Canon EOS 20D and EF100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens to shoot the Featured Image and companion. How strange is it that I clearly remember this outing when others aren’t recollected. I can’t guess why are the quirks of memory, being such an otherwise meaningless moment.

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Lonely Locust

We take yet another break from the New Vision Christian Fellowship building destruction (and replacement). Dual problems plague us this evening: ants and uncharacteristically unavailable Internet access. To save time and keep posting simple, please regard this locust (not a grasshopper, right?) seen on Sept. 20, 2022.

I used Leica Q2‘s Macro mode, which is activated by turning a ring around the f/1.7 Summilux lens, to capture the Featured Image. Vitals, aperture manually set: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/250 sec, 28mm; 6:16 p.m. PDT.

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Jeopardy Answer: In California. Question: Where are Bees Fish?

Yep. Last week a court basically reclassified bumble bees as fish. Where else but California could one thing that is be called something it ain’t. Hehe, it’s the craziest, but not necessarily intentional, twist on identity politics yet. Someone tell me: What’s the appropriate pronoun, so I don’t offend anything that flies or swims?

The problem, if you can call California legislative narrowness anything less, is the definition of protected species used in the 1970 Endangered Species Act. Amphibia. Check. Bird. Check. Mammal. Check. Reptile. Check. But, whoops, somebody overlooked insects. Which is how through one court proceeding and appeal the definition of fish now applies to some bees.

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Which Bee Better?

Welcome to an unexpected compare-and-contrast session. Tonight, while preparing to share a bee and sunflower shot, I came across another that is surprisingly pleasing, particularly considering its vintage and source. We’ll start with that one, from Google Nexus 5 smartphone on May 30, 2014. Vitals for the Featured Image: f/2.4, ISO 100, 1/4200 sec, 3.97mm; 9:44 a.m. PDT.

I made the moment outside what was the wonderful wildlife sanctuary nicknamed the Butterfly House. The tenants maintaining the lush plants and trees moved to Hawaii in January 2019 and the sanctuary is no more.

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Caution, Caterpillar Crossing

Outside the home where lived Grace (before she passed away) and nearby where once crouched Champagne, chalked caution and watch out warnings seek to raise caterpillar awareness. Both putty-tats appeared in my “Cats of University Heights” series—in April 2018 and February 2021, respectively.

The husband and wife who own the property tend flowers and flora that attract butterflies and caterpillars. I often see Monarchs fluttering about. Spring—or in San Diego three-season parlance, early Summer—is breeding and feeding time.  So, please, be mindful where you step.

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Tiger Moth Caterpillars

While walking along Louisiana today, Annie and I came across two of our neighbors tending their flower garden. Gracie, one of the “Cats of University Heights“, belonged to them before she passed away at age 19. Seeing my camera, the wife turned my attention to three caterpillars munching leaves.

I immediately exclaimed “Woolly Bear caterpillars!”—for their colors and fuzziness. But the resemblance ended there. My memory is a larva with orange band in the middle and black at both ends. If I rightly recall, and please correct me if mistaken, that caterpillar eventually becomes the Isabella tiger moth.

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The Swarm

This afternoon, while walking and talking to my sister who lives in Florida, I came across bees buzzing around a front yard along Mississippi between Mission and Monroe here in San Diego’s University Heights neighborhood. I excused myself briefly and shot a short video using iPhone XS.

Strange thing, when finished I observed the insects swarming about the next property. That kind of deflated my working presumption of a disturbed nearby hive. So I snagged another short video, followed by the Featured Image taken using Leica Q2.

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Bee Friendly

Along the sidewalk outside what was the Butterfly House—and a yard now greatly trimmed back of insect-and-bird-welcoming flowers and plants—a bee drinks nectar on July 19, 2019. I captured the Featured Image and companion using Leica Q, manually focused. Vitals: f/2.8, ISO 100, 1/1600 sec, 28mm; 12:19 p.m. PDT. Other is the same, except for 1/2000 sec.

Neither bug mug is as sharp as would please me, but they’ll have to do as memory markers for a refuge vanished. As Monarchs migrated South this autumn, I wonder where went those accustomed to the Butterfly House as one of their way stations.

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Making Monarch Moments

Surely weather is major explanation: Monarchs are uncharacteristically present this summer. I see more around University Heights than any year since moving our family to San Diego in October 2007. I wondered while walking around the neighborhood: How effective a photographic tool could be Fujifilm GFX 50R for capturing butterflies? After all, composing is deliberate rather than quick, and the Fujinon GF63mmF.28 R WR lens isn’t specifically designed for macro (e.g. close-up) work. I have experimentally used the oversized camera as a street shooter—since acquiring it in February 2019 to replace my Leica M10, which a Mexican wedding photographer purchased from me late last year.

The massive medium-format sensor collects heaps of data, which makes shooting with a 50mm-equivalent prime lens surprisingly satisfying. In post-production, I can crop in close, retaining amazing detail—something that the Featured Image and first companion demonstrate. The 50R is able enough, and more. Question answered.