Tag Archives: flowers

Love Your Earth

Little Monkey

It’s the only one we’ve got.

HAPPY EARTH DAY.

LM Twist 2

 

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Unusual Visitor!

Violet Carpenter Bee 1

Violet Carpenter Bee 1

Look what I found buzzing around in the garden the other day. Well, actually Little Monkey found it first. I chased her inside in case she tried to eat it!

Violet Carpenter Bee 2

Violet Carpenter Bee 2

It was a massive insect and clearly having some trouble, as it flapped around on the ground, occasionally buzzing in my direction and causing me to spring back with my camera!

At first I thought it was a Blue Black Hairy Flower Wasp.

On further investigation I think it is more likely a Carpenter Bee.

Specifically, a Violet Carpenter Bee, Xylocopa violacea.

I thought, “Shame man. Poor bee struggling in this wind,” and I put some sugar water out for it. It went straight to it, but I didn’t see it drink.

Violet Carpenter Bee 3

Violet Carpenter Bee 3

Then I went back inside and read some more about this amazing insect. Apparently they emerge now, at the end of winter or beginning of spring. “Oh, that’s interesting,” I mused. “Maybe it’s just emerged from a dead tree somewhere.”

Violet Carpenter Bee 4

Violet Carpenter Bee 4

I then found out that they bore massive holes in dead wood. “That’s cool,” I think, “I’m sure there’s plenty of dead wood around the neighbourhood.”

Then I thought; “Hey, wait a minute. All my window frames and doors, not to mention all my furniture inside the house, are wood; dead wood! Ooopsie. What have I done?”

I checked outside again, but the Violet Carpenter Bee had buzzed off!

Hopefully to a new destination, far away from my dead wood.

 

post script: On the fascinating subject of insects, did you know that there was a new type of beetle discovered in Cape Town last year? 

 

Nikon-ography #3

Hibiscus 1

Hibiscus 1

Flower Power

Flowers are much easier to capture than my dog Little Monkey, but there was a strong breeze the day I was shooting (I’m not complaining mind; we needed to cool off a bit!) and the flower was bouncing around merrily. I had to time my clicks carefully.

Continuing my self-education with the Nikon camera, the above photo was taken using Mode A: Aperture-Priority Auto. In this mode, I can choose the aperture, while the camera automatically selects the shutter speed for best exposure.

I don’t have a zoom lens, but with this setting, you can achieve a similar effect by using a large aperture (low f value – here 5.3) to reduce the field depth. This gives a really clear close up with a nicely blurred background.

Below is my Also Ran.

Hibiscus 2

Hibiscus 2

The above photo, on the other hand, was taken on Auto with the ‘flower’ or ‘close up’ setting. The camera does all of the setting adjustments automatically. While it’s still a decent close up of the hibiscus, it just doesn’t compare to the first photo.

 

post script: I realise there are many awesome photographers out there, with great skill, producing beautiful pictures. I follow and enjoy many photographic blogs.

Here, I am not trying to say how to take photos. All I am doing is documenting my own slow progress in learning how to use a more complicated camera than my little point and click Canon. 

 

Plethora

Roses 1

Roses 1

Plethora – Definition: A large or excessive amount of something.

Roses 2

Roses 2

I give you my daughter Pix’s Floribunda rose bush –

Roses 3

Roses 3

That is excelling itself this year, with a plethora of beautiful blooms.

Roses 4

Roses 4

Apparently, heavily pruning the syringa tree in my garden has made a world of difference to the amount of life-giving sun now reaching this hardy rose bush.

And it has amply rewarded me.