A year-end retrospective

Two years ago at the last day of the year, I posted a series of pics intended for blog posts that had simply never made it, and I am doing the same again this time, with one small addition: I am posting a photo taken within each month, and adding a link to my favorite post(s) for each month as well. It’s kind of like those TV programs that can’t be bothered with new content (or to pay their writers adequately) and lower themselves to doing a clip show. And with that kind of promising lead-in, we leap into the old year…

windmill palm Trachycarpus fortunei in freezing rain
This windmill palm (Trachycarpus fortunei) was decorated by a freezing rain storm, and I featured a number of other photos from the storm in a post back then. I was messing about with natural light and a short depth-of-field; naturally, the point that is picked to be in focus can affect the entire image. How much different would it have been if I’d picked the drop farthest to the left instead?

January’s choice: The struggle for an appropriate title. Literature it’s not, but I still like it… which probably says way too much about me.

termites - that's all
February was really slow, but at one point I found a small termite colony (that I subsequently destroyed because, you know, new house.) I realized after preparing a few photos that I was too bored with the topic to post it, but here’s the evidence anyway.

February’s choice: Freezing my balls. Okay, it was a toss-up between that and this philosophical one – the former was something I’d wanted to try, and still want to try again, because I think it could be better. We’ll see what this winter brings.

wild blue phlox Phlox divaricata divaricata with crab spider ThomisidaeMarch

Despite having a long stretch of really cold temperatures and a couple of nasty storms, the wild blue phlox (Phlox divaricata divaricata) got an early start. I spotted the legs of this little crab spider (probably Thomisidae) peeking out from behind the leaf on a previous frame, and coaxed it into better view for this one. Yes, this is the same phlox that was blooming a couple of weeks ago, and is still blooming as I type this, but it’s still warm here anyway.

March’s choice: Whoa. Because.

dead fish on hillsideApril

Not great art here, but a bit anachronistic, because this was spotted well up a steep hillside several dozen meters above the nearest stream, and completely unable to have been washed there from further up, because there were no water sources at all above it – the hill peaked a few dozen meters above. Something had dropped it there uneaten, so apparently disturbed before it could consume its catch – an untold story in the woods, a lost meal. Poignant, isn’t it?

Okay, maybe not, but I still found it curious.

April’s choice: Once again, with feeling. I had to go with the thunderstorm, one of many this past year.

leaf-footed bug Coreidae on unidentified flower
A variety of leaf-footed bug (family Coreidae) perched on a funky flower as if looking to see if the rain has stopped. Note the antenna matching the line of the flower; this was no accident, but a specific change in shooting position to bring it out.

May’s choice(s): Time mismanagement for the photos, but All out of ifs for the scope of the project – it was a long time in the making.

Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis portrait on rosemary plant
This one just didn’t get into the mix, even though I like the expressive quality of it, a kind of optimistic, almost-excited air. This is, naturally, a Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis) perched on one of the rosemary plants which effectively betrays its size (if you know how big rosemary leaves are, anyway.)

June’s choice: Report from the field, part one, the first in a series of posts featuring the photography of Jim Kramer during his trip to Alaska.

painted skimmer Libellula semifasciata dragonfly apparently blown by the windJuly

Another that I liked but simply never found a place in a post. This is likely a painted skimmer dragonfly (Libellula semifasciata,) and while it looks like it’s coping with a stiff wind, the air was completely dead that day – this is just how the dragonfly had perched.

July’s choice: She has a great personality, perhaps my favorite photo of the year – but I’m weird, so you’ve been warned. I’m just very pleased with the way the portrait turned out on such a small subject. But it only narrowly beat out Value pack which has a collection of strong images itself. I know, I keep sneaking in extra links; some day I’ll pay for it.

unknown yellow wildflowers in detailAugust

I have no idea what these flowers are, but they were growing in tall spikes and I was convinced that, if I looked close enough, I’d find yellow crab spiders lurking among the petals. I still suspect I might see evidence of such if I keep looking through all the frames I took; this is the kind of flower that they would be well-camouflaged within. This is a tight crop for detail just to show how dynamic the blossoms are. If you see a leg someplace, let me know.

August’s choice(s): Too cool, part 28: Wholly molty! is an obvious choice, though I don’t want to forget Making up, especially for the anole photo. August really was a good month for posts, so check out the whole collection.

Carolina mantis Stagmomantis carolina peering straight down at the photographer in the leaves below
This one just didn’t fit in with the collection of other images I got that day, but there is a definite air of surprise from this Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) peering down at the nature photographer shooting straight up at it from underneath the leaves. I did a job on one of my shirts getting this image, since I failed to notice the goose shit on the ground where I sprawled supine to get this perspective. The sacrifices I make…

September’s choice: Just some casual shooting, getting fartsy in my birth month. Go me!

unidentified snail on wild blue phlox Phlox divaricata divaricata
There were a lot of unused images for October, but I went with this one for the composition and because I didn’t feature any of the snail photos at all that month; the runner-up was another perspective on the tiny frogs found here. The conditions are natural, courtesy of a misty morning (like today.)

October’s choice(s): It has to be The myth of “live and let live” for the message and writing, and Keep coming back to ’em for the photography and video.

Carolina mantis Stagmomantis carolina peering from longneedle pine clusterNovember

Another that narrowly missed getting into the post at the time, I’m sure you’ll agree that I couldn’t pass up this perspective on a late mantid. Another Carolina mantis, this one in more typical coloration, and really only a couple of meters from the last we saw in this post.

November’s choice: I have to go with Depends on where you look for the fall colors, including some not typically associated with fall (or even seen in such a manner.)

lone twig on a foggy morning
This one was in the running for December abstract, until I got the photo that I ended up using. Just catching sunrise on a foggy morning.

December’s choice: While I had intended to feature one of the ‘But how?’ posts from one of the months above, the one I liked best got beaten out by a photo post instead. If you have to ask…, however, is the same application of critical thinking to the topic, and demonstrates how to ask real questions instead of fake ones.

And so, we celebrate this arbitrary day (that doesn’t even align with any astronomical event) and bid good bye to 2015 and hello to 2016 at the same time, more or less. Happy new year, everyone!

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