- Bug Photography, bug art, bug science...Bug Wonder!
"...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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DISCLAIMERI am a photographer, not an entomologist. 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 dead and 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.
Tag Archives: Alberta
…almost redeemed, anyway.
I have been looking back at last years’ photographs. I came across this image of Habronattus americanus, that, instead of following due protocol, insisted on perching on the edge of my white bowl rather than on the bottom. Because I shoot active bugs in the field, without resorting to freezing, I usually have to do some post-production to make the image presentable. This is an extreme case (see image on the right): although the focus is good, the image is under-exposed, poorly composed and generally bllaaaghh. Is it worth saving? I love the spider’s pose, so I have attempted it.
I am not a Photoshop guru. Almost all the adjustments I need to make for images is done within Adobe Lightroom. I always shoot in the RAW format, so I know I have some latitude to make changes. My goal is to have a well composed image on a clean, white background. In the above image you can see what I want, but it is not perfect. Some of the detail of the fine hairs on the head are lost, so I will have to rework this image in Photoshop to see if I can make this jumper fully presentable!
In the spring of 2012 my brother gave me a pupal case that he had found while digging in the garden. I had no clue what it would be, but I placed it in a container with some leaves and a damp sponge, and waited. I would check on it occasionally, and the last time I checked it was the day of our departure (10 July) for the family holiday to Newfoundland. A last minute visit to the Nature Study to turn off the computer and feed the wee beasties gave me the chance to take a look at the container and, sure enough, there was a freshly emerged and somewhat disheveled looking moth nestling in the corner of the container. What to do? With a trip to the airport just moments away, I grabbed my camera with flash, a macro lens, some white background material and then rushed to the patio. I set up quickly on the patio table, placed the moth on the white background and took six photographs. Before long it was vibrating its wings like a mad
manbeast, and I knew that I had only moments to take more photos…
Too late! Off it flew into the garden.
Here is one of the better shots, with the trail of yellow goo (there is probably a name for that) it left behind Photshop’ed into nothingness…
After going through eight years of digital photographs, I can see a pattern in the bugs that appear on our garden flowers. With Spring officially in progress (he says with more than a hint of cynicism, one week after shoveling 25 cm of snow off the sidewalks and driveway…) I thought it would be a good idea to share some of the more successful plants that attract bugs to our Zone 3b (or is it Zone 4 now?) garden in Edmonton, Alberta.
The first bug-magnet I want to mention is the Blazing Star or Gayfeather, Liatris spicata (L.) Willd. This perennial is native to grassy areas of eastern North America, favoring moist to average soils on the edges of marshland, mesic prairie and open woodland clearings. In the best conditions it will grow up to 120cm in height, but in our drier sub-urban garden the plant usually only reaches a height of about 60cm. It displays an erect composite flower head, with the individual purple-rose blooms which open from the top down. The leaves are grass-like around the base, with narrow leaflets covering the flower stem.
For those wildflower enthusiasts there are two native species in Alberta: Dotted Blazing Star (Liatris punctata Hook.) and the Meadow Blazing Star (Liatris ligulistylis (A. Nels.) K. Schum.) which you can learn more about from The Home Bug Gardener.
The gallery below is a sampling of some of the visitors to the garden as they make use of Liatris blooms.