On this date 45

fruit fly Drosophila <img loading=
Back in 2012, there were just two subjects that I shot on this date, but I shot a lot of frames of them, reason being, I was after the tiny details. One was the molted exoskeleton of some kind of grasshopper, and the other was this: a species of fruit fly (genus Drosophila) with curiously dark eyes. Typically they’re red or red-gold, but fruit flies are known for their visible mutations, especially in the eyes, which is one of the reasons they’re studied in genetics so much, and I was documenting this one because I wasn’t sure that I had a mutated specimen. Actually, genetic mutations occur fairly frequently in most species – humans are said to average between 60 and 100 per individual – but most don’t have any effect, and even less so visibly; there’s a lot of ‘junk’ DNA that no longer does anything, and mutations in that don’t either, for the most part.

Fruit flies are tiny, so holding one in position for photos takes more than tweezers, and what you see here is the tip of a wooden toothpick with a tiny blob of petroleum jelly on it, to which the fruit fly is adhering; yes, it’s tiny, and yes, it’s dead. Ah ha, you looked at a dead thing!

Moving on to the next year (that would be 2013.)

pampas grass blossoms against sky
At the old place, a rental, we had two kinds of pampas grass in the yard, and they bloomed very differently in the fall. This one was fluffier, and I simply framed it against the richly-colored sky.

pampas grass blooms against almost-matching cirrus cloudsIn fact, I’ve had this fartsy composition hanging around in the blog folder for years, thinking that I’ll put it up sometime, so now’s the time. This is the other kind, in fact shot two weeks and one day after the one above (so ineligible for an OTD post.) Yes, I used the cirrus clouds in the background that way on purpose, almost giving an impression of windblown seeds or trailing smoke. That’s creativity, that is.

I’ve got more space to use alongside this one, so I’ll digress. We no longer have the pampas grass, and I don’t exactly miss it. It didn’t look bad when fully grown, and provided enough photographic subjects, both by itself and by habitat for other things, but the maintenance was a bear. Each fall or winter it would have to be cut down to stubs, not particularly hard (any old saw would whip through it,) but the patches were thick, getting up to four meters in height, and the mass of vegetation to be hauled away measured three or four tarploads, dragged to the back and tossed over the fence into a mulch area. But pampas grass leaves are a bit serrated and sharp, so gloves and a heavy shirt or jacket were necessary. Then the stubs had to be burned off to promote the next year’s growth, and I know one year, I experimented and simply set fire to one of the patches of standing plants, throttling it back with a garden hose as needed. Easier, but just as time-consuming and a bit more dangerous. Overall, pampas grass isn’t worth the effort.

On to 2014.

autumn leaves in still pool
I shot a lot of images on this day too, all during an outing to find fall colors, but really, not very many of them were compelling at all, and I may just go through and toss a lot of what I’d previously kept. The colors were weak – not because of the camera or anything, but because of the overcast lighting and the poor development of the autumn that year; usually that means a late summer/early fall drought. I did what I could, but this is about the limit of the palette available that day. Whoop de doo.

And that’s it, really – November 4th wasn’t too productive in my shooting history. Next week should be better – I’ve got six different years to work with.

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