Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Fixing Memories

 I really miss my Nikon camera!!!  Since I can't present these eight photos as examples of high-quality photography, I figured my title would be my excuse.  Right after typing "fixing memories" I realized the possibility for two meanings.  Maybe both apply.  I don't mean "fixing" as in repairing a faulty memory, but, if I hadn't had a back-up camera handy, the memory could well have become faulty.  What I intended was the idea of "making more permanent" a memory that might otherwise be ephemeral. Even a mediocre or even a terrible photo or sketch can at least serve as a reminder to do further investigation, to tell a story, or do a drawing, or even go back with a better camera and hope to find the subject again.
Every time I go to Feather River College, I park in front of the California Thistles where I usually take a few minutes to see what sorts of critters might be visiting them.  This morning I found a Consperse Stink Bug, then found that the word "consperse" is not in any of my dictionaries.  The scientific name of this bug is Euschistus conspersus.  It's in the Family Pentatomidae which name is a reference to its resemblance to a pentagon.  As with this whole set of eight photos, taken with my substitute camera (a small Canon Powershot Elph), I shot from several distances, hoping that I'd get at least one passable shot for the blog.  I cannot properly judge the focus on a viewing screen with all the ambient light flashing.  In this set, the only ones that are reasonably sharp are those of the Praying Mantis.  I can hardly wait to get a new DSLR!
 When I first pulled into my parking slot, I spotted a tiny yellow bird methodically picking over the seeds of a thistle.  I knew that as soon as I opened the car door the bird would take off, so I took a few shots through my windshield.  First on regular aperture, then zoomed in a bit. You might need to click on the photo for an enlargement in order to spot the bird.  I'm not a bird expert, but I'm guessing this is a Goldfinch of which there are several local species.  He worked on this particular head of seeds for quite a while.  I was wishing I were outside and closer to watch and photograph the action.
 I did read recently that MIT in collaboration with one or more other entities has come up with an "app" that can remove glare from photos taken through windows.  That makes me a little sad because it will probably lead to more and more photography being done from car seats and making people even less likely to get out and walk around.  Hell, why not just buy photos online and stay home!
 As I headed up the hill to my office, I was greeted by our new head football coach, Scott Brade.  Scott had just found this Praying Mantis while preparing for a barbecue welcoming our new crop of athletes (note the props in the background).  While holding the mantis for photos, Scott introduced me to new members of his coaching staff.  It's great to have a coach who is not afraid of large bugs because I've found that many of my student athletes are.  At FRC, where we try to develop scholar-athletes, it will be great if we can start a new trend and recognize Scholar Athlete Environmentalists!

 After a couple of hours in the office, I headed back to the car and found a beautiful Western Swallowtail Butterfly on one of the thistles.  Again, two shots, near and far, neither one as sharp as I'd like, but the memory is "fixed."
 I actually got to within 10 feet of the butterfly before it took off.  If I'd had my Nikon that close, you'd be able to count the scales on the butterfly's wings, or maybe count the segments in its antennae. 


  1. Such a bummer about your camera Joe. I remember when my first camera died, I was not a happy camper. Hope you find one soon!

  2. No worries, Spencer. I'll order a new one any day now. Tax refund on the way.

  3. Good to hear. I am currently without a telephoto, sold my 70-200! What are you gonna buy? If you were a Canon guy I would suggest an SL1 kit.