Macro Monday Water Droplets on Stems

I lay on the grass in my bathing suit and took these pictures. I suppose I’m captivated by all things tiny.

I like how I can see so many reflections in a minute water droplet.

But first, meet my Blood Lily. A bulb plant, buried several years ago, comes back annually, and each time, brings more blooms. I guess it spreads? The blooms are now in varying states of their life cycle.

the Blood Lily in bloom. it’s not a great picture but i wanted you to see what a Blood Lily looks like before I go into the world of macro.

the Blood Lily, unfurling.  i hope.

in all her glory: the Blood Lily’s profile.

droplet in Blood Lily. reflected in that droplet is the variegated Ginger plant behind me.  see?

moving on to Agapanthus leaves.

the stems of the Agapanthus had shimmering droplets i could not resist.

each stem has its own charm.

oh no, i’m not finished!

it’s a slender one.

twins?

Macro Monday Agapanthus Again…and Shells

What can I say? I love the life cycle of these Agapanthus.  A neighbor gave them to me several years ago and I so enjoy watching them go from “pregnancy” in the springtime to seed in the fall.  Ever since I got the macro lens I’m just drawn to these plants.  Honestly, I’m not satisfied with these images. But – - it’s all right.  If I don’t practice I won’t improve.

I had to throw in a few shots of the shells I collected while on Sapelo Island.  That was so much fun.

Macro Monday Fire and Shells

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the swing of Macro Monday and I’ve missed it.  I love zeroing in on detail and seeing what the camera renders.  Last week, I was visiting Eagle Island and I was drawn to the lovely citronella candles and their wicks with flames…and of course, the sand dollars I collected on Sapelo Island. Our Eagle Island host Andy Hill took us there by boat and  we spent a delightful afternoon wandering the deserted beach and collecting pails full of sand dollars and conch shells.

What is this thing?  Anyway, I thought it was cool…like a ‘sea necklace’.

The end.

Macro Monday, Spanish Moss on Sunday

Yesterday I was in Volusia County where I finally visited the famed Blue Spring State Park. More about the spring itself in my next post.  Today, it’s all about the Spanish moss.

When you read such phrases as, “The trees were dripping with Spanish moss,”  well, today, that was all I could think of when I first saw the grand, old live oak that stood with the three-story home of Louis Thursby behind it, in this picture.  The home was constructed, truly, back in the day, and that day was in 1872.  Now it’s open to park visitors who may tromp through its wooden plank floors and imagine what it might’ve been like to live in such a beautiful location in what was surely a beautiful home…even if it didn’t have air conditioning.

On the bank where the St. John's River meets the Blue Spring run.

A 93 degree day in April 2011 kind of makes me think I probably wouldn’t be loving Florida quite so much, before God created air conditioning.

This tree is so mighty and I love how it contrasts with the house from this angle.

Moving underneath the grand live oak looking up…it’s raining Spanish moss!

Walk a few yards over the lawn and you’re on the 1/3 mile boardwalk that follows the St. John’s River into the spring run and ends at Blue Spring itself.  It takes you through a shady hammock of hardwood trees, the Spanish moss like textured veils, framing the view of the river and spring.

Come along with me as I get closer to this moss, so evocative of Southern trees; a delight to this transplant from the North for the first several years.  I still appreciate its character even while I’m accustomed to the landscape now.

Framed by Spanish moss

Spiders and other bugs work their delicate magic amidst the fluff of the moss.

Somewhere I read that back in the day, mattresses were stuffed with Spanish moss. Which sounds nice, until the historian said that bedbugs were a problem, too.  I guess it’s to be expected, after all; it’s obvious there’s plenty of insect activity going on here!

Delicate strands of Spanish moss wrap themselves around thin branches.

Spanish moss dancing in the breeze (above) and in the sunlight (below).

Macro Monday

An afternoon spent in Howell Park in Atlantic Beach, crawling on the ground with a camera.  Fun.

Howell Park was crawling with Girl Scouts, so when I heard their event was being held there on a Sunday afternoon…I knew what I’d be doing while she was doing her Brownie thing.

I had a fine time trying to get some good macro shots.  I did indeed crawl about on the ground, hoping that I would not not crawl upon some dog’s business. On my shoe is one thing; that was bad enough.  On my shirt?  I couldn’t bear it!  So I was very careful because I was off the beaten path, and that’s where people usually  turn the other way if they’re inclined to do so, and Howell Park is a nice park for dog walking.  (It’s not a dog park; we do have a few of those  here at the beach.)  Why am I talking about dogs?  Oh yes.  I’m still traumatized from last Sunday’s misstep and so when I was crawling on the ground looking for spiders and weeds and azalea blooms, I also tried to be aware of my surroundings.

I felt a little guilty when one of the moms came to pick up her child and saw me with my camera.

“Did you get a lot of good pictures of the girls?” she asked brightly.

Actually, I didn’t take a single one of them.  It wasn’t my day’s mission.  I was having my own field trip, thanks very much.

Oh there were so many great opportunities that just missed the mark by this much.  Even these…but I post anyway because it’s all about the practice and besides, it gives me hope.

(click on this one as large as you can to really see the spider. he’s amazing.)

Macro Monday: Caterpillars Are Not Slow

They like to crawl along, is all I’m saying.

It can make it challenging to get a good image of this Eastern Tent caterpillar when you’re climbing with a camera and tripod into the middle of a clump of Pampas grass, and that pretty little bug keeps moving.  If you’re from the north and don’t know what a clump of Pampas grass is: it’s tall (taller than I am), thick, spikey, grows in clumps. Some stalks have fluffy white plumes.  It’s difficult to plant a tripod inside a large clump of Pampas when the bug is, naturally, deep within the plant.

Imagine  trying to keep the bug in the viewfinder, the tripod steady, the settings just right, and capture a great image when you’r constantly having to keep moving to keep pace with a crawling caterpillar.

I’m not going to tell you how many pictures I took of this caterpillar.  Having pored over the images for a good long time, and not finding any family interest in them, I’m wondering:  is this boring to look at?

I love going out alone with the camera and tripod, to see what I can shoot.  Today, clearly, it was all about the caterpillar.  When I first saw one, he was deep within the clump of the Pampas grass.  So picture me, seriously, trying to get inside this clump (although the neighbor’s Pampas was not as lovely as this).  It’s dense and pokes and leaves resides from the white plumes and grassy stalks all over a girl.

They aren’t meant for going into.  But the neighbor said I could.  So in my pursuit of the very moving caterpillar, thinking I’d hit macro pay dirt,  I kept at it, repositioning myself and the tripod in every way you could imagine…but still that thing kept moving.  Then the breeze would come along and the grass would sway; it just wasn’t an easy thing to pull off.

Then I smelled something vile; that unmistakable scent that wafts upward when someone else’s dog crap has been smushed into the sole of your workout shoe, with all its groves and cushioned spots.  Thanks, people.  Most of you don’t mind walking around carrying your dog’s crap in a bag, but some of you still think it’s okay to let it squat maybe in an area you don’t think people will be walking.  Sure, it was an out of the way place, but still.  YOU LET YOUR DOG DO ITS THING AND YOU DID NOT PICK IT UP.

With all the diligent dog-walkers around here who gladly carry their pet’s poop in a bag, I can’t tell you how many times I’ve also had to quickly veer away to avoid a clump of business on the side of the road.  Not so lucky on this day.  But I soldiered on.

Finally, I called it quits and started to walk home, when I spotted another caterpillar in a different location so I started to work on the shot when a neighbor passed by and chatted with me for a few, and when I tried to find him again, he was gone.  So I resumed my stinky walk home.  But I felt something in my hair.  Once.  Twice.  Again.  I reached up…and brought down another caterpillar!  So I put him on my vest and told him, “I’m going to take you someplace nice.  Someplace at my eye level; where the lowering sun will create a lovely golden backdrop for your persimmon-colored, tiger-like, furry little body with your many clinging legs and a definite face.”  So he rode along with me, clinging to my black fleece vest until I found a lovely place to set him down on.  He was calm, this caterpillar, not as busy as the other.  He did not seem to want to debark from my finger, onto the green, new leaf – probably, I now realize – because it wasn’t a food item.  Maybe it’s obvious to everyone but me… I don’t know much about larval insects; I just thought he had pretty colors, some nice fur and was good contrast when placed onto something green!  He wasn’t much happy there so when I finally moved him over to the neighbor’s rose bush, you could see his little face start munching right away.

So, that’s my caterpillar story.  Considering I couldn’t get a single family member to look at my pictures, I’m not sure what to think…but I do have a few favorites, and here they are.  For what it’s worth.

Macro Monday


I learned something today. I was informed that fairies eat pollen. Like, for their food. There are many kinds of fairies; I cannot keep up with all of them. But the family fairy expert was delighted to see I’d photographed fairy food.

Macro Monday

Queen Palm frond’s droplet.

Music to my ears for twenty years.

Liquid crystal.

Texture and lines.

Vertical and diagonal lines…in my favorite hues as reflected in my interior.  I love to bring the outside, in.

It grows where it grows.

Reflections in water.

She follows me.  What am I supposed to do but take her picture?

Water sticks.

Bud and bokeh.

Macro Monday In The Park

My meager offerings for this week’s Macro Monday segment were from a trip to two parks in Atlantic Beach.

I was looking for inspiration without feeling inspired. It was the end of long week, filled with activity and emotion; highs and lows. So I went to my favorite little hideaway park in Atlantic Beach:

I wandered about but didn’t see anything of interest for macro photography but look! There were two owls together on the branch, high in the tree. A telephoto lens would have been useful but it was so fun to watch these birds interact with each other. One groomed the other and was generally more active than his counterpart, who occupied that limb so regally. I kept waiting for one of them to fly off so I could possibly capture the owl in flight but of course, neither did, not until I’d given up and moved away. So, while taken with a macro lens, I give you two owls, in Howell Park.

And finally, the lonely swing.  In Jack Russell Park it waits, expectantly, for someone to come along and put it to good use.

Lastly, a Pampas plume, with bokeh.

Not every Macro Monday means magnificence. But I shall persevere because practice makes magnificence.

Macro Monday: This is Not A Cat Food Commercial

When I was in college, I took a photography class.  A pedestrian student, I loved my camera but lacked inspiration.

The thing I loved to photograph was my cat.  Maybe that’s because he was always nearby, and I didn’t want to work that hard.  Whatever it was, I did take many photos of Frye, processing them in black and white, and happily mounting them for class exhibition.  That cat had the best disposition of any cat I’ve ever had (and I loved him the most, but don’t tell Angel or Pumpkin, because I really, really love them too).

My takeaway from that photography class -

Where Jeannie Made Boring Prints in Photography Class

where I toiled in the Kresge Art Center at Michigan State University on my cat masterpieces – was the professor’s critique of my work.

One day in class he said, “Miss Shmina, this is not a cat food commercial.”

Ouch.

I’ve never forgotten that comment.  I have always associated it with that photography class.

I still have one photo of Frye, gazing serenely through my lens, lying calmly in the grass, mounted on art board, somewhere.  It was pedestrian, but I loved it, because I loved Frye.

Today, I give you my cats, in macro. Perhaps the images are still ordinary, but since they are always around when I’m in the yard with my camera, I snapped a few of them during my ‘seeds and nuts’ shoot.  They are happy to dine on Purina, Meow Mix, and lizards, with the occasional baby bird if they get lucky.

Perhaps my work has not improved much.  That’s up to the viewer to decide.

At least I have a better lens, now.  But I must say, I did have a 50mm 1.4 on that beauty of a film camera.  They don’t make them like they used to; that’s for certain.

Pumpkin, the Calico, has the best fur, so soft.  She likes to jump onto my back, nuzzle my hair, and then she starts biting it.  Odd.

Angel, the black-and-white part Tiger, likes to drink water from the hose.

They are my yard pals, following me as I roam, looking for better subjects to shoot.  For today, though, this is all I have to offer for Macro Monday.

If I showed a partially eaten lizard stiff with rigor mortis, its eyes open and front legs extended as though the possibility of escape still existed,  its bottom half having been thoroughly enjoyed by one of my pals here, now that would have been a cat food commercial.

“Tastes like chicken, and high in protein.  Fresh, locally-sourced,  and no cost to you.  Serve lizard daily, with a clean bowl of water, and your cat will be happy for years to come.”

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