One plant

On the same day that I snagged the eentsy frog seen here, I collected a significant number of other pics (of course.) There might even be another forthcoming post out of the one-hour casual trip, but right now, I’m going to concentrate on just one plant. Not one plant species, but one solitary plant itself. This is part of the reason why I like macro work so much, because it often doesn’t take a lot of searching to find plenty of subjects.

Normally I try to line up the text with the images, which may or may not work very well because of varying monitor resolutions, but for this one I’m just going to insert them whatever way that I can since I have a large number of pics. I may also taker advantage of various little bits of text filler to help space things out, like this.

The plant in question is a variety of milkweed, genus Asclepias, which produces a crown of pale pink blooms atop long stalks – which meant that I didn’t need to be flat on the ground trying to get these images (yeah, I’m lazy sometimes.) Not only did the splash of color beg me to come closer, the monster black wasp servicing the flowers attracted my attention, but that one was far too spooky for any decent shots. Once closer, however, I soon spotted a variety of ladybird beetle that I hadn’t seen before, sightly larger than the species I’m familiar with and with a flare to the outer edges. It also appeared to have fallen asleep on its side on a sunny day, I think. In setting up for the first shot, I soon discovered that this was going to be a challenging day, since the wind was blowing and I had nothing to anchor the plant against swaying. So it largely became a matter of timing and luck.

Next to catch my eye was a plethora of golden aphids, in places almost obscuring the stems and giving a strange yellowish pallor to those areas when seen from a short distance back. Curiously, I found no ants harvesting their secretions, but I did find a collection of newly-winged adults clustered under the leaves, most likely drying out after a molt, preparatory to flying off in search of a mate.

The individual blooms themselves are quite small, less than a centimeter across the widest point of the petals, and I went in close for a few frames to capture the detail. This happens more often that you might think, but when I did this, I also snagged a tiny crab spider that I had no idea was even present (this is a cropped section from the much larger original.) Since macro work always involves a very short depth of field, there is a modicum of serendipity present by having focus on the spider as sharp as it is.

The next one was far less subtle. Even from a moderate distance as I circled the plant, I spotted the conspicuous dash of yellow. Many nature photographers demonstrate the wonderful matching of crab spider coloration to their chosen flower species, but either this guy couldn’t afford those books, or had been evicted from a goldenrod plant. Full credit, however, to a primo position, ready to snag whatever pollinator came close. The middle-of-the-food-chain status is evidenced here by its missing foreleg. Butterflies can be badass sometimes…

And finally, I close this post with a weevil, and the reappearance of the smaller crab spider – yes, I got two frames (actually more) of a spider that I did not even realize was present, though you’re forgiven if you don’t think this one counts; you’re not able to see the whole spider. But if you’ve given up, just highlight the blank space immediately following and look for the two legs peeking out among the petals at lower left.

Normally for these posts I make the effort to find the species shown and be nice and technical, trying to fool people that I’m a lot more educated than I am, but I repeat, I’m lazy, plus it took long enough to pin down the milkweed. So this is just a demonstration of how much can be found, as the tagline says, when you take the time to look.