BayScaping – Update

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Bread feeds the body indeed, but flowers feed also the soul. — The Koran

Back in April I first described my “Bay Scaping” attempt:  planting native plants with positive food and habitat values for wildlife.  Well the bumble bees really like the swamp milkweed, but the milkweed didn’t attract too much else.  The Joe Pye weed  however, is doing a reasonably good job of attracting tiger swallowtails, including one dark form.  I have had as many as four or five at a time.  Also, perhaps as the season advanced, getting some silver spotted skippers.  Hopefully, some eggs will be laid and the intensity will increase next year.

Silver-spotted Skipper butterfly.TigerSwallowtail015

Trying Out “Meet Your Neighbours” — Again

Nature has explained to me many things that books alone could not give me. Science and nature have given me the most interesting hours of my life.  —Roman Vishniac

I first heard about “Meet Your Neighbours” (the “u” is intentional) during the BioBlitz at Rocky Mountain National Park.  Clay Bolt gave a presentation on this project that is associated with ILCP and lists some pretty impressive photographers as participants. The technique is fairly straightforward.  Basically you use white plexiglas (acrylic) with a flash behind it to create a pure white background for your subject.  Flash in front provides the main light. It creates a very consistent appearance and makes it easy to extract the image.  I used it for my project in Nebraska at Homestead National Monument, but not under the best circumstances, trying it for the first time in the field. So today when my son found a large Imperial Moth on our porch, I thought it was a good opportunity to try it at home where I had more resources.

Welll — I actually had better luck in the field.  I used an old Sunpak 311 with a mini-slave for the back lighting.  It worked reasonably well in Nebraska, but here it just kept shorting out.  Nevertheless, I was not about to let this opportunity with a very cooperative moth escape without at least trying.Imperial moth (Eacles imperialis, female).

Imperial moth (Eacles imperialis, female)

I found that the back lighting wasn’t sufficient and wasn’t even, so I had to do a lot of clean up in post.  Also need to make sure next time that the plexi is clean –  it is a real dust magnet.

I ordered a flash multi-sync cable that I can use to connect an old (not as old as the Sunpak) Nikon SB-25 flash to my SB-800 directly and avoid the issues I had with the slave. Hopefully it will work better next time.  Also played around a little with images.ImperialMothEdgesDiffImperialMothEdges

Completing Artist Residencies

A big part of doing your work is defending your time and your attention so you can do your work. —  Seth Godin

In the last two weeks I have finally given up procrastination to complete the second and third artist residencies I did last year.  The requirements were not very onerous, but I didn’t make it priority — now finally done. BlueMesaOverlook012-300For Petrified Forest, this picture from the Blue Mesa area toward the southern area of the Park was selected by Park staff. Blue Mesa was definitely one of my favorites; the other being the Painted Desert behind the Painted Desert Inn. SunriseMist-(45)Take3CroppedMASTERdsmall

For Big Cypress, which was actually in 2013 and my last residency, both the Park and I readily agreed on a sunrise picture of a palmetto coming out of the ground fog with a really fantastic morning sky.