Thursday, July 21, 2016

I've Caught The Bug

This week's article was not published in the South Shore Breaker...apparently they had too much content and my column got dropped...a bit of a kick to the confidence! However, a friend contacted me by email to let me know she enjoyed my bug article in the Bedford paper. That was news to me!  I have included my article below, with all the photos I sent in with it.
published in the Bedford-Sackville Observer - July 20, 2016
Feeling waspish is to readily express anger or irritation. Synonyms are irritable, touchy, testy, snappish, cantankerous, moody, crotchety, crabby, grouchy. My husband is smart enough not to call me any of those things, but waspish probably could be an apt description of me sometimes. Although Im never waspish when I'm busy with my camera.

A while back, I shared a little story about finding an insect wing when I was vacuuming. I took the wing and photographed it, and added some inspirational words. A couple of days ago, I discovered the type of insect the wing came from. 
an obliging wasp poses on our back door
Our cat Myrtle was pretty excited at our back door, so I went to take a look to see what was happening. I thought she might be seeing our resident squirrel at the bird feeder. But no, a wasp on the back door had caught her attention. I decided it called for some camera time, never giving a thought to the fact that I might get stung. Its well known that a camera protects the photographer from all sorts of mishaps. But seriously, some risks are worth taking and I decided that taking pictures of a wasp was worth the risk. 
By now you probably think I am a crazy person. After all, not too many people think its fun to take photographs of bugs. If you want to practice your skills at close up photography, nothing beats a bug. Most insects move quickly, so you will be forced to learn the details of your camera so well that it becomes second nature to change the settings. You will develop patience and learn to anticipate their behaviour so you can set up a good shot. 
quick insects are a challenge - capturing two at the same time is a bonus
Some insects are slow movers, which will present a great opportunity for you to experiment with depth of field. You can practice with your camera to compare having the whole photo in focus, or just parts of the image. Best of all, when you are photographing insects, you learn so many things about nature that you would never know without such close up contact.

Did you know that the eyes of a grasshopper are more than one colour? One of the grasshoppers I photographed had eyes that were a pinkish hue at the top, changing to green in the middle and then yellow at the bottom. If you get up close and personal with a grasshopper, you can see them make all kinds of interesting gestures and they let you get pretty close as long as you move slowly. Grasshoppers can be bad news for farmers, but the symbolism of a grasshopper is a harbinger of good news, and messages of glad tiding.
Blow me a kiss! You can capture some interesting poses with grasshoppers
Did you know that there are spiders that are so tiny that dozens of them would only take up the space of a quarter? Ordinarily, I have a great fear of spiders. Im not sure when or why I developed such an intense dislike for them. I have tried photographing spiders to try to change this feeling, but so far it hasnt worked. However, I did find a batch of baby spiders while out and about in Chester and took a photo with the trusty pocket camera that I try to always have with me. It has a microscopic setting that takes excellent photos with just the press of a button. The camera does all the thinking for me and stacks a series of photos into one image, meaning that pretty much everything is in focus.
itsy bitsy spiders spotted on a post in Chester and captured with a point and shoot camera
I bet there is no one around who knows ticks like I do. Taking macro images of ticks forced me to face my fears and learn their behaviour. Lots of people think ticks fly through the air or hop, but they dont. They climb onto the tips of blades of grass and raise their front legs when they sense motion close by. They will grab on with their arms if you get close enough to brush by them. Would I ever hang a photo of a tick on my wall? Of course not. But it was an interesting exercise and learning experience to photograph them, nonetheless.Of course, the stars of the insect world are bees and butterflies. The best time to photograph them in your garden is when it is cool. They slow down and you can easily capture them in wonderful poses. Bees and butterflies also add life to the flower photos that gardeners so love to take. But flower photography is something we'll focus on another day.

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