“…mysterious and little known organisms live within walking distance of where you sit. Splendor awaits in minute proportions.”
E.O. Wilson (Biophilia)
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© Adrian Thysse and Splendour Awaits, 2009 - 2015.
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DISCLAIMERI am a photographer, not a biologist. I do my best to have professionals assist in identifying the subjects of my photographs. However, positive identifications can not always be done unless the specimen is viewed under a microscope. If you do find an error or have doubts about the identification provided, please let me know in the comments or by email.
Category Archives: invertebrates
With generations of our youth increasingly becoming captive to the digital world, we need to spend more time showing kids how awesome nature really is. The long-term consequences of raising a generation that has no appreciation for nature will be catastrophic.
Here is a video from the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation which explores what can happen when you place something as simple as a sweep-net in the hands of a young ‘un…
“In this collaborative storytelling project, the E.O. Wilson Biodiversity Foundation explores the moments of personal discovery and transformation that occur as young people connect with the natural world at BioBlitz.”
Finally back with another look at articles that caught my attention in the last week(s). I’ll lead off with a new series narrated by the great Sir David Attenborough:
◊ Along with to explorer and filmmaker James Cameron and oceanographer Sylvia Earle, National Geographic has honored E.O Wilson with the Hubbard Medal for his lifelong commitment to the planet’s rich diversity through his research and writing. The Hubbard Medal is awarded by the National Geographic Society for distinction in exploration, discovery, and research. The medal is named after Gardiner Greene Hubbard, first National Geographic Society president. E. O Wilson has been an inspiration for me, and I am glad to see him honored with this prestigious award.
Just what do I take with me on a typical macro field trip?
There are three types of sorties that I generally make into the field. One is a light-weight kit that I use for a short outing of under 2 hours where I do a quick walk through an area, photographing whatever is incidental on the walk. The second is a medium-weight kit for a trip up to half a day in length, where I can slow down and take more time looking for subjects. The third is more intensive: if I have over half a day to spend outdoors and I need not walk far, then I carry the full kit-and-kaboodle.
But before I list what is in these kits, it would be good to see what my essential equipment is, the kit that goes with me on almost every outing:
- Olympus E-PM1 Micro 4/3 camera with 14 – 45mm lens
- 4/3 to Canon adapter
- Memory cards
- Azden microphone
- Canon 270 EX II flash and diffuser
- Kenko Pro 1.4x teleconvertor
- 21mm Vivitar extension tube
- right-angle finder
- spare batteries (camera, flash, microphone)
- lens pen
- microfiber cloth
And not pictured:
- DSLR viewfinder
- wireless flash triggers
- Op/tech rain sleeve
- knee pads
- white bowl*
- pill containers*
- soft brush*
It looks like a lot, before even adding a DSLR and lens, but most of this fits in the accessory pockets of a single Toploader Pro AW. The Olympus 4/3 camera and doo-dads fit in a small clip-on LowePro pouch. The last three items (*) are specifically for bugs, and tucked into vest pockets. Because almost all new cameras now have video capability, I include a DSLR viewfinder and an accessory microphone for improved sound recording.
Next: The Light-weight Kit, and some details on the uses of the items I do carry, and things I do when in the field.
It’s still winter,, thus, still time for introspection, and time to revisit some of the 96 draft posts that have accumulated in the last year…
Not long ago, Chris Buddle at Arthropod Ecology did an heart-felt post on “Why I study obscure and strange little animals“. While I don’t think he expected it to be a meme, his reasons struck home and made me pause and think. I am not a scientist, but why do I blog and photograph “obscure and strange little animals“? My rambling reasons follow:
- because bugs are fascinating in their physical details, and one of the best ways to see the details is in a photograph.
- because they are beautiful, with so much diversity in forms and structures, carved by evolution.
- because they are everywhere, yet so little regarded or respected.
- because I may, by sharing the fascination, turn a bug-stomper into a bug-respecter – maybe even a bug-lover.
- because it allows me to occasionally cross paths with entomologists and other scientists: they are good people (and almost as interesting as the bugs!) and worth listening to.
- because we know so little about bugs– and photography has the potential to open up new paths of understanding.
- because bugs have amazingly fascinating behaviors and life-cycles, and photography and blogging helps me to share the wonder.
- because photography is a skill that needs to be constantly honed and developed.
- because they can provide a channel for creativity.
- because they keep me physically and mentally active.
- because they are great tools for learning, and understanding the natural world.
- because it helps re-enforce memory, and I need that.
- because it serves as a searchable record of what I do.
- because it satisfies the child in me.
- because it satisfies my need to connect with nature.
In the world of bug photography and blogging, I’m relatively a minor player. However, I do gain some personal satisfaction in what I do, and partaking in the community of bloggers, ‘arthropodologists’ and bug photographers continues to be an enriching experience.