Thursday, July 15, 2010

North Pond - July 14, 2010 - Post #1

I went to the North Pond yesterday. My trip was split between the afternoon and early evening by a visit with a friend for dinner. Which means I got some great contrasting light settings. What I learned, though, was things that were easy to shoot hand-held (fast shutter) at 2:00 in the afternoon are a lot harder at 7:00 when the sun has set behind the buildings. Just because there's more than enough light to read a book by doesn't mean that you can shoot the same way you did when the sun was high. So, note to self, next time you do an evening shoot, bring the tripod.

But I did get some great shots...

An Eastern Pondhawk dragonfly. Blow this one up. Seriously. I think, for some reason, the ISO was up pretty high, and that annoys me, but there's some great detail in this shot. You can see the hairs on this guy's legs! I've deliberately uploaded a less-than-great crop of this shot because I didn't want to upload the full 4MB file, but I still wanted the details to show when clicked on. [Eastern Pondhawk #1]

A Bee with his head in a flower. Anyone know off hand what kind of flower this happens to be? Or for that matter, is anyone good enough at identifying insects that they can tell me what kind of bee this is?

[Bee with his Face in a Flower]

This one is called an Elfin Skimmer. This is one of the smallest dragonflies in northern Illinois. What I love about this shot is that the veins in his wings look like lace. Especially the wing that points the the top left corner.

[Wings Like Lace]

A species first-sighting! A Juvenile Great Blue Heron. At first I wasn't sure *what* it was because it didn't match the images I was finding under "blue heron" until I found a listing with the images of the juveniles, showing how different their head crests are. This guy had clearly been wading in the pond looking for food - you can see the algae that's still stuck to his legs as he walks up that branch.

[Baby Blue Heron]

So apparently that expression is all wrong. It's not about getting your *ducks* in a row. It should be about getting your geese in a row. (Yeah, not photographically brilliant, but I thought it was funny. :)

[Get Your Geese in a Row]

This guy was fun. We chased each other around for a bit. After he ran up the tree I got under it and tried to find him, only to have him come down at my head... head first!

[Head-on With a Squirrel]

I love this shot of a monarch butterfly. Not just because the butterfly looks awesome (because, you know, she/he kind of does), but because if you look at the leaf behind him, you can see what appears to be caterpillar damage. It gives you the impression that either he was just hatched from his chrysalis there or that he/she has little one's hanging out nearby. [Monarch After Lunch]

One of the best things about the North Pond is the mulberry trees. My grandparents both passed away in the early 1990's, and one of my favorite memories of visiting them in Rogers Park was going outside and picking mulberries off the tree on the corner. I remember as a kid that I didn't understand the concept of fruits having seasons and being *so* disappointed that I couldn't get them every time we went into the city. It's February. So? I want mulberries! So, yeah, I walk around picking and eating the ripe mulberries as I shoot. Having fingers stained purple for the first time since I was about 12? Awesome. (Not that I was 12 in the 90's or anything, but when my grandparents moved there were no mulberry trees on Touhy Avenue.) [Monarch on Mulberries]

One last Monarch shot for today. I like this one because I caught him as he was opening his wings. You can really see how the color patterns developed as the wings were folded together, making them symmetrical. If you blow it up, there's some great details of the body too. [Symmetry in Motion]

One last shot for this post (I don't want any one post to be so picture-heavy it kills someone's browser). I love this duck. Anyone know what kind it is off hand? Look at the feathers along the lower edge of her wing. It' like she's the duck version of "Rainbow Fish". Or she got one of his scales or something. (You may need to blow this thumbnail up in order to see what I'm talking about. :) [Rainbow Duck]

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