On this date 18

Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis on azalea buds with raindrops
So, listen: this time of year is mantis season, soon after the Chinese mantids (Tenodera sinensis) have hatched, and they’ve been a favorite subject of mine for a while now, so we might see a lot of these even in the posts from the past years’ photos – like this one. But c’mon, you can’t fault me for featuring this lovely alien landscape, something that certainly should be the book cover of some science fiction novel. Hey, maybe ‘book covers’ is the theme this week.

This is from 2013, and I believe the first of the local hatchings that I started following routinely. Notable about this (seriously, make a note of it,) is the state of the azalea flowers, which are just coming into blossom – they’ve already been and gone this year. Different weather? Different subspecies that blooms later? Can’t say, unless we talk contract. What I can tell you is that I really like the light quality, and I believe this was the Lumiquest Big Bounce flash attachment, which does a nice job but is ridiculously heavy and awkward, so it’s been stored away. Maybe I need to do some more experiments.

Two years later in 2015, we have more alien stuff.

unidentified tiny bizarre flower blossoms
I have no idea what kind of flowers there are, just that they’re small, no more than 15mm across, but they’re cool looking. These came from a garden party that The Girlfriend and I attended, and I never asked about them, so they could be from anywhere. I didn’t touch them – they look like they’d inject some kind of parasite or spores or something, and I’d begin acting totally out of character, like taking photos of cute things or writing about TV shows…

And a year after that, now we have our romance novel or period drama cover.

Canada geese Branta canadensis flying low over water in panned shot
… but only if it was a short, wide book, because the camera angle was really off and this has been leveled and cropped to correct that – it won’t get better than this. At the nearby pond approaching sunset, I got a nice view of a trio of Canada geese (Branta canadensis) taking off for parts unknown, and panned with them as I fired off a few frames. The low light produced a nice blur from the background as the camera moved, with a little blur from the wings, and I liked the effect. Now all I have to do is learn how to hold the camera level. It may only take another 30 years or so…

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