Monday, January 28, 2013

Photography WordArt

I asked everyone of my friends on Facebook, and fellow photographers, what words came to mind when they heard the word photography.  This is the result of that experiment.  I played around with different layouts and colours and these are the best.  I've made T-Shirts out of them, and I'm trying to figure out which one I'm going to have...  They also look great on Canvas and would make great gifts for those who are obsessed keen on photography like myself!

Sunday, January 27, 2013

The Sex Lives of Butterflies

Following on from my last blogpost about learning how the Bees get their pollen from the Lupin Flowers, I came across this scene of two butterflies trying to mate. Not that I'm a pervert or anything.

Butterflies fly extremely fast and all over the place. To get these images I had to put my camera on continuous burst mode. These shots aren't in the order they were taken, the male would fly in and out and in and out, and around, up down in a matter of milliseconds. However I put them in order to show a sequence only.


The male is now 'presenting' himself to the female! I thought this was the other way around, but on googling it appears I was wrong. Isn't Google great! One can even learn about the sex lives of Butterflies there!

This is as near as they got mating for the day - thank goodness. Don't know whether I could have stood the heat!

They then flew off in a butterfly dance together and I walked on to leave them to it! According to Google, had I stuck around, I might have seen them in the act. I'll remember that for next time!

Friday, January 25, 2013

The Bees of the Wild Lupins - Part 3

One of the things I love about my macro lens is that it shows me things that I would not usually see. I knew bees landed on flowers, and collected pollen, and I never thought twice how it would do that on a Lupin Flower until I saw it through my Macro Lens. Let me show you want I learnt!

Firstly, The Lupin flower head is made up of lots of pods.  These pods are actually closed - imagine a petal in a shape of an oblong bubble. The stamen is inside each pod. The bee flies to the pod..

And then proceeds to start opening the pod

This could take a bit of time depending if its been opened or not before..

 He opens the pod quite wide...

I thought he'd get into the pod, but no, he then...

pulls the stamen out and collects the honey.  Note that this particularly bee is so laden down with pollen, that when he tries to fly he simply drops in a crash...

And leaves pollen dripping off the pod! 

I did catch him again doing another pod - never gave up and those pollen sacs must be heavy.

Here's another one that isn't laden down with pollen... He alights on the pod which is closed...

Opens it up to expose the stamen.

Exposes everything so he can access it... 

then pulls himself up to collect the pollen...

Pretty amazing isn't it? It's also nice to know that honey bees are still out in force in the wild. We don't want anything happening to our bees as they do one of natures most important jobs, pollinating plants to ensure we can eat.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Wild Lupins of Lindis Pass - Part 2

In the previous blog, I lamented how I could not find any information about the Historic Red Bridge.  Fortunately a friend of mine, Dave Gibb, has far superior googling skills than I, and managed to find a snippet of information about the bridge...

The Luggate 'Grandview Bridge' is a local icon listed highly in the Queenstown Lakes District Council's Historic Register. It was opened on October 28, 1915, and has been described as "one of the most attractively proportioned steel truss road bridges in the country." It is 103.7 metres long, and features a 61 metre Baltimore through truss, another 30.5m truss and a 12.2m rolled steel joist end span.

I bow to Dave's Superior Googling!  It might be that he's a South Islander and knew more than to just google 'Red Bridge near Hawea'.  I believe he actually put in the word Luggate, which I would never have known. I guess I'm  not a true mainlander yet, but I do believe I'm getting there!

Anyway, our next stop was the Lupin field at Bridge 2360 on the Lindis Pass.  We had seen it on our way down, and we memorised the bridge, with the intention to spend an hour photographing in this field.  We arrived about ten, knowing that this was about the right time or else everything would have been in shade.  This is view that you can see from the road - you can see in the distance the amount of Lupins growing there...  Like a river of them..

We would have loved to contact the farmer, but there was no farmhouse anywhere to be seen and it's very remote, so without further ado, we climbed the gate.  No easy task with a broken ankle, believe me!  But the Lupins beckoned and how could I resist?  That corally lump of stone on the other side of the gate is a lump of salt for the cattle. I made up that word 'corally' but it seems to fit well! They should let me write the next dictionary!  I'm always making words up!

But I digress. A short walk down that lane, past the gate, and this is what greeted us.  Looking south...

And looking north...
Just a mass of colour everywhere in various shades of blues, purples, pinks and whites. It was heaen. Lupins must be pretty hardy as they had even taken hold in the middle of the river. The river was elevated though because of the rain.

Love those Willow trees, even if they are a noxious weed here in New Zealand, they still are very attractive. The Lupins quite tall as well, which made it fun to photograph.

The sun came out briefly with a touch of mottled blue sky, which was nice after all the rain.

Of course we had to do the posing shots as well. Here's Emily smelling the Lupins. Not sure if there's a scent or not, I wasn't overwhelmed by scent while we were there, so perhaps not. I was too busy using the camera anyway.

 Liz amongst the flowers with her Tripod.

And Liz found a hill to get some elevated shots. I wasn't able to get up there because of.... you guess it - the damn foot!
 Emily and I hiding in the flowers..

After taking photos for a couple of hours, it was getting hot, so I headed to the last willow tree and found this. I managed to climb up onto that stump, no mean feat with one ankle broken! Tripods come in very handy - walking sticks, climbing sticks, poking sticks!

I took nearly 1000 images in this area. A lot in a period of the two hours we were there, but most of them were macro shots on continual burst mode, of all the bees collecting pollen from the Lupins. These shots are incredible and I'm amazed at what I saw through the macro lens. But I'll save that to Part 3.

I recently downloaded Topaz Labs and am enjoying playing with the images in that program. This is one shot I love, which I then overlaid it with the original to get the slight difference.  Which one do you like best?  I prefer the top, but that's just me!

This is a tiny tiny aphid on one of the Lupins, I was actually photographing a small droplet of water, bigger than this insect, and saw this pale yellow thing, put my glasses on and then I could just see him. I took a couple of photos not expecting them to turn out, so was pleasantly surprised to get such detail on such a small insect.

Keep a lookout for the Lupin Bees blogpost, coming soon!