A year goes by fast

Last year about this time, I published a post about my little friends the fishing spiders, whom I call ‘friends’ not because we hang out and hammer down Pepsi together, but because my first photo sale featured one as a subject. Lately, a few have been making themselves obvious, clearly begging to be featured again, so who am I to crush their little spirits? And I say with all honesty, it’s not that I’m avoiding bunny rabbits and ducklings, it’s that I simply have not seen anything cute at all. But still, I know some people don’t want to be greeted with spiders all the time, so I’m including the detailed pics below the break.

A little over a week ago, while staging the photo for the previous post, I espied something that can occasionally be found at the edges of ponds and streams that have plenty of reeds, seen to the left: the molted exoskeleton of a fishing spider. Spiders, and most insects, shed their ‘skins’ as they grow larger, splitting the chitin and squeezing out backwards, and then usually hiding for a while since their new exoskeleton is soft, leaving them much more vulnerable to predators. The translucent molt is left attached to whatever surface was handy, usually mistaken for a dead insect, but it’s instead a clue to be watching for the former owner nearby. When I sat down to take this image, I soon spotted the culprit hiding in the tall grasses. With a stick, I carefully flushed him out, whereupon he panicked and scampered for cover practically underneath me, but then froze and held perfectly still for some really tight closeups.
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My god! It’s full of snails!

When I was in Florida, I maintained a saltwater aquarium in the most casual way possible, by simply replenishing it with water from the nearby Indian River Lagoon routinely. The occupants were primarily porcelain crabs, tiny hermit crabs, and grass shrimp, all hardy and easy-to-feed critters. Since grass shrimp (too often called “ghost shrimp”) […]

The days of yore, part one

Okay, I admit it: I have no idea what the hell “yore” is. But since it’s not the season for nature photography, I’m hearkening (yeah, ditto) back to a time when it was. That I’m intending to make this an occasional habit is indicated by the ‘part one’ in the title…

This past summer, […]

Hiding in plain sight

Right alongside our front walk sits a cluster of flowers that I planted from seed to assist with hummingbird photography – I’d rather have shots at natural-looking flowers than feeders. Unable to find either plants or seed for varieties I knew were hummingbird attractors, I grabbed a bag of “bird and butterfly mix,” which […]

Could be

Since Rayl asked yesterday in the comments about what made the web in the previous post, I revisited the river to see if I could find out more specifics. This isn’t as big a deal as you might think; the river is two miles away and the path an easy hike, plus I like […]

Does it seem weird?

So this morning I was checking out a new area for nature photography near me, supposedly before the day got too hot (I was wrong.) I wasn’t in search of any particular subject matter, just whatever opportunities arose. When I stumbled across (well, not literally) a dragonfly perched low on a tree trunk right […]

Of dolphins and dedicated driftwood

This brings us to the last of the trip posts – I think, anyway. I’m not promising that I won’t write about some curious aspect of something I noticed while away, but at least this is the last describing the rough details of the trip. Feel free to be relieved. In years past, you’d […]

Observe!

I’m quick to tell anyone who wants to listen that the key to decent photography is composition. Technical proficiency certainly helps, but no one ever looks at a photo and says, “Wow, what a great use of exposure!” It’s what is in the photo that counts, and this can actually excuse some technical faults.

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There’s always a way

Skimming through my archive photos looking for a topic for a blog post, I found one! Amazing, isn’t it? Anyway, one of the things I tell my photography students (and anyone else that will listen) routinely is that chasing equipment isn’t the key to getting those wonderful images they’ve been after. I’d use myself […]

More than meets the eye

When I took a quick look outside tonight thinking I was hearing rain (it was actually the bubbles in my Pepsi can, but that’s another post,) the moon was peeking through a thin layer of high cirrus clouds and producing an effect much like the above image. However, the shots I took just now […]