Monday, November 30, 2009

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Sorting my Bugs

Celebrating getting a new laptop by sorting and transferring some photos. I remember fondly the moment, after several months of seeking wildflower photo ops, of realizing that the frequent "intrusions" of bugs in these photos were not intrusions at all but a subject every bit as exciting as the flowers. So now I am building bug folders for future reference. Next spring, when I resume my favorite season for photography, I'll seek out "bug photo ops." I wonder if I'll discover new flowers. This connectivity is entirely appropriate in that the flowering plants evolved in concert with their insect and bird pollinators. Somehow the flowers are popular subjects for art and photography, as are the birds, but the bugs often get a bad rap. I hope my photography will help to change that. How can anyone deny the beauty of the goldenrod crab spider or the red milkweed beetle pictured here?

Sunday, November 22, 2009


I feel like I'm in the "in-between" season, still struggling to find photo "ops." The fall colors are mostly gone - or, I should say, the reds, oranges, yellows, etc., have merged into browns, and most deciduous trees and bushes have already shed. We had our first snow on 11/21, but it was a light coating, and I haven't yet discovered photogenic snow scenes. So, until the next snow comes, possibly burying the last vestiges of herbaceous plants and shrubs, I'll be watching for "winter readiness," that is, nuts and other types of seeds, and signs of the plants' and animals' winter survival plans. This cat-o-nine tail I have watched weekly ever since spring when it first emerged from a roadside ditch a mile north of the Greenville Y. Left photo taken in mid-October and the right in mid-November. I'm also thinking about paying more attention to clouds. I love clouds, but, for some reason, have not taken up photographing them.

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Apple Fest 2009

We had a great time on Sunday, October 25, at the annual Apple Fest at Dawn Institue, around 12 miles north of Quincy. Music provided by BLT and miscellaneous friends, bring your own apples or pick from what remained in the Institute's orchard, and make fresh-squeezed apple juice, great potluck lunch, and a great opportunity for people photos and nature photos. Nature photos here include one of my favorite angles on bigleaf maple, three piles of bear poop - from among at least 50 in the orchard, lichen on a rock, and a back-lit apple leaf - on the tree that produced "the big apple" featured in my last post. Check out this event in 2010. No neon signs, no "rides," very little traffic, nothing to buy, just plain old fun with neighbors and guests.
. One of these guys "marches to a different accordion."

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Fall images around Quincy

Here are some of my favorite photos from the past few weeks of wandering around my favorite place in the northern Sierra. The showy milkweed bursting with seeds is at a turnout my son and I have named "the milkweed spot"
because we've stopped there often and seen many wondrous things. Three different species of milkweed blooming all at once during the summer. Visits by the amazing-looking red milkweed beetle as well as red milkweed bugs. (Maybe later I'll write about what's the difference between a beetle and a bug.) The sycamore leaf was on the ground in my neighborhood below a tree that has been pruned so severely I can almost hear it cry, but it keeps on growing new branches and keeps a particular intersection looking beautiful during the summer and fall. My twice-weekly commute to Greenville was exciting on the day I saw five otters playing in a pool by the Greenville Y. I got lots of shots of their heads barely breaking the surface, then one finally decided to pose for me. The annual Apple Fest at the Dawn Institute was great fun - more pics coming soon - and I'm always wandering around looking for unusual things or looking at usual things in unusual ways. One of these pics I've captioned "There's more to apple trees than apples." True at least from the perspective of woodpeckers and sapsuckers. Then, I've always wanted to see The Big Apple without enduring traffic and polluted air. Finally!!!
[Click on any photo to see a large version, sometimes even too large for your screen!]

Monday, November 2, 2009

Some summer bugs

These were all photographed in the vicinity of Quincy, California, northern Sierra Nevada, 3,500' elevation. From top to bottom: (hoping the software preserves the order!) anise swallowtail butterfly on fennel, monarch butterfly larva on showy milkweed, checkered clerid beetle on mallow, goldenrod crab spider on yarrow having captured a wasp.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Hello, mystery person

Hi Sierrosmith or Q-topia. I have a feeling, judging from the photos, that we're neighbors. I'd love to know who you are. Also, several of my friends and former students want to post comments on my blog, but don't know how. Neither do I! :) Apparently you know how it works because you're a "follower." Could you enlighten us? I'm still a neo-luddite, even though I'm trying to blog.
My next post will be "bug" photos collected over this past summer. Joe