Tiger Beetle by (Luke Theodorou)

Tiger Beetle, originally uploaded by Luke Theodorou.

This is such a cool photo! I like it so much because Luke got right down to the eye level of the beetle to make the shot. This perspective makes the beetle look huge! I love the sand and all the detail. I would like to see what the photo looks like with more-depth-of-field – just so the legs would be in focus. Great job Luke!

Suburban jungle (Jodie Randall)

Ant with aphid colony

Honey bee with flare

After a good few weeks of dry, bright summer days and high temperatures, the weather has turned and brought with it some much needed rain. It is now much more like an English Summer. For this reason I’ve been sticking close to home and venturing out only in the odd sunny spell. My garden has proved surprisingly productive for macro photography, and being the quickest place I can get to, extremely convenient. The foxgloves and poppies hum with big bumble bees banded with bright warning colours, while the smaller more discreet honey bees collect pollen from the lavender. Ladybirds seem to be having a good year. Their black and orange pupas are like tiny baubles decorating the garden. The Californian poppies are a favourite of the hoverflies, their abdomens glowing with the brilliant orange light radiated from the flowers. Spiders wait patiently in their webs, while comma butterflies warm their fiery wings in the sunlight. It is a miniature jungle. Life cycles are playing out underneath my feet.

A mass of cadmium red poppies growing at the end of the garden have become home to thousands of tiny black aphids. Frantically scampering up and down the spindly, towering stalks, an army of ants work tirelessly to protect the aphids from ladybirds and other predators. There is a brilliant alliance going on here. Ladybirds feed on the aphids. The ants protect the aphids, which in turn excrete a sugary substance, which is consumed by the ants. Everybody’s happy (except perhaps the ladybirds) and they are just one example of the fascinating life cycles happening in an ordinary suburban garden.

There are many things you can do to encourage wildlife to your garden. Simple things like introducing a log pile or leaving a small area to grow wild will make a big difference. Nettles attract butterflies, and long grasses will provide cover for all sorts of creatures. A small pond will encourage frogs, newts, water snails, and possibly even damselflies and dragonflies.

Flickr Contest: Evan Pagano!

No use without photographer’s permission under any circumstances.

Some photo info: “I took the photo at Scarborough Beach in Narragansett, Rhode Island, USA, right after sunset on July 3rd, 2010. I was using a Nikon D50 and a Manfrotto 055xprob tripod setup just inside the shoreline. The image was exposed for 1.3 seconds; f/22.0; ISO 200; and at a focal length of 17mm. I had to run down the beach with all my camera gear just to make sure I had enough time and light to take some shots. I ended up taking around 30 different exposures, all of which gave me a different pattern of flowing water.”

Evan, I really like this photo. It looks like you picked a great time to shoot, with the subtle natural lighting and beautiful horizon line. It’s very simple, nothing distracting the viewer from the landscape. Well done!

Upcoming Photo Contest (Connor Stefanison)

Canadian Geographic’s 2010 Wildlife Photography Of The Year Contest has been open for some time now, but it ends on August 30th. So for all those Canadians reading, this is definitely something to look into.

Peep this link for more info:

http://photoclub.canadiangeographic.ca/cg/Contests/wpy/default.aspx

GLORIA Alpine Research

Hey guys! So this will be my first post but I’ll go straight into some exciting stuff I’m preparing to do in the following weeks.

I am going to be helping with research of climate change on alpine environments in the Sierra region with a group called GLORIA (The GLOBAL OBSERVATION RESEARCH INITIATIVE IN ALPINE ENVIRONMENTS). The GLORIA summit cluster will be centered around the Mt Langley area of Sequoia and Kings Canyon National Parks. Our base camp will be beautiful Upper Soldier Lake, at approximately 11,000 feet. I will be working with scientists and of course, a photographer (from National Geographic!) I will post photos soon!

Button’s Kittens [by Emma Canfield]

On July 7th 2010 at 6:00pm her water broke…

Yes, my Siamese cat had kittens! And apart from the miracle of life and the thrills of having 4 little cats running around like crazy, there was some trouble afoot with the birthing process too.

The mother cat (Button), or as all the cat books refer to her, the “Queen”, is a VERY petite chocolate point weighing in just under 7lbs. The first 3 kittens to be born came out with no problems other than the fact that since the queen was a little young (just having had her 1st birthday 3 days before), she wasn’t very competent with removing the membrane that the kittens are born with. So my dad and I were there to remove the membrane, cut off the umbilical cord and try to get them to start breathing ASAP. The 4th kitten came out just as easily but s/he (at this point it’s still a little difficult to tell what their sex is) wouldn’t latch onto the mother to start nursing. So for the first night I stayed up and had to feed the kitten some homemade formula to make sure he got up enough strength to fight against the others to get his share of the mother’s milk.

But then a day later, the queen started having contractions again… yes, another kitten was coming. And so a fifth kitten arrived; unfortunately, it was stillborn. After that kitten, she continued to have contractions, we couldn’t figure out what was going on, but started to suspect there might be a sixth kitten… We then took her to the vet and got some x-rays taken:

x-ray with very large kitten remaining inside the mother

Continue reading

Packing Light with Strong Support

Seagull at Niagara

Hello everyone! Here are some photos from a recent trip to Niagara Falls in New York state. Since the main goal of the trip was not photography, I packed light, but thanks to Trek-Tech, I was able to take a small yet sturdy tripod. I highly recommend the Trek-Tech T-Pod. Due to experience, I know their customer service to be top-knotch, as are their products.

Nebo Tools also makes great products, and has top-tier customer service as well. I find it useful to keep a small LED flashlight (#5110) near my camera bag.

Niagara Falls

So… What small items do you find to be invaluable in your camera bag?

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