Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Canon vs. Nikon? Nah....

 In case you're reading this, Spencer, just know that I'm not trying to make Canon look bad.  :)
Here's the situation.  I'd been watching the annual frenzied insect gatherings on the Rabbitbrush in front of the FRC library, which they insist calling the LRC.  But for days, I'd traveling without my camera.  So, yesterday, as we walked by this spot, my son reminded me that he had his little Canon point-and-shoot, smaller than a pack of cigarettes.  It boots up faster than you can blink.  A very nice little camera with 12 MP resolution.  However, it is very small, which makes it harder to hold steady.  Also, with no viewfinder, and a less-than-great viewing screen, it is very hard to tell if you're focused on what you want.  Too much glare on the screen.  Also, I'm not used to this camera.  So, these first two photos were taken with the Canon.  They show Skippers, which a family related to butterflies and moths, but showing some characteristics of each.  Most entomologists put them in a separate family.  Note that the sharpest focus is not on the Skippers themselves but on some of the adjacent blossoms.  I couldn't tell this when I was shooting.  But this was good enough for recording the event.  Just not good enough for showing in a gallery.
 Today I made sure to bring my Nikon to work.  It's an older D40, one of the first DSLR's with a mere 6 megapixel resolution.  But, Vive le difference!  A viewfinder no less.  Heavier body, easier to hold steady.  Probably better optics.  And, definitely a plus - I'm used to it.
 The honeybees were so engrossed in their feeding that I could approach within inches without fear of getting stung.
 Here's an image of a Skipper.  Note that long proboscis probing a blossom.  Click on any of these photos for closer views and to see the relative sharpness.

 Note the resting position more typical of moths than of butterflies, but they fly in the daytime which is more typical of moths.  A distinct feature would be the little hooks at the ends of the antennae.
When we left the Rabbitbrush behind I checked the lower branches of a huge California Black Oak and saw my favorites, the Oak Treehoppers, for the first time this season.  It was quite dark in the shade, but that helped me achieve a black background which made the insects stand out brightly.  Note there are adults and juveniles in the photo.  As in previous years, I'll be photographing these often over the next few weeks, always trying to get better photos.  I'll also share more of the lore of these fascinating, tiny insects.  Click for closeups.

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