On this date 50

While not as bad as last week, we’re still talking about the winter season here, so I only have two years that have photos to work with this week – but I’m gonna present three photos, because I’m greedy. Or something.

holiday lights during time exposure and camera tracking
I know what I was doing here in 2012, but not exactly. Meaning, I was experimenting with the holiday lights strung on the bushes out front, doing time exposures while moving the camera, but I don’t know for sure if this image should be vertical or horizontal – I’m leaning towards the latter, because the tripod pans a lot easier and smoother than it traverses vertically, and these lines look too straight to be handheld. But it looks better vertical anyway. The streaks are dotted, not because the lights are blinking, but because, well, the lights are blinking. I mean, to our eyes, they’re on constantly, but all lights running on AC power blink – that’s from the alternating current – yet it happens quite a few times per second and we just can’t see it. The camera can catch it, though, when panned fast enough. Meanwhile, there are solid little circles at the ends because the camera was held still for a moment before the panning started. And they’re circles because the camera was intentionally defocused for the effect.

So if you have the holiday lights strung up, play around a bit. Meanwhile we’ll leap ahead a bare year.

angular spittlebug Lepyronia angulifera with raindrops adhering
Featured in a post back then (but without this particular image,) this angular spittlebug (Lepyronia angulifera) demonstrates the water-repellent properties of its exoskeleton, or perhaps a chemical coating thereon. I’m curious about the color of it, though, since it shouldn’t be that brown, and I don’t know if this was the rain running off of some other surface first, or stained by the oils of the rosemary leaves the bug is perched upon, or coloration from the spittlebug itself. Notably, one droplet isn’t colored, the one at the corner of its eye and quite possibly mistaken for its eye by at least some of the viewers – I know you weren’t fooled. And I could easily believe this was moisture exuded by the spittlebug, except I know that it was immediately following a decent rain at that point, from the post itself and from one other indicator, shown in the next pic.

raindrop on flower tassel of dogfennel Eupatorium capillifolium
The dog fennel plants (Eupatorium capillifolium) had provided plenty of arthropod photos that year and the previous, and after the rains that evening I saw this droplet dancing on the hanging tip of the flowers. Going in close with the macro lens and an aiming light, I attempted to focus on the drop bobbing in the breeze, but gave it up after one frame because I knew the timing would be impossible – it was going not just out of focus, but completely out of the frame. So I was stunned to see what that one frame looked like, though happy enough to put it in the photo galleries.