Living in the past VII

very young Chinese mantis Tenodera sinensis covered in dew on azalea blossomsWe’re back to another installment of living out my glory years and realizing how unglorious they were, but you take what you got, because whatcha gonna do about it now? You should have thought about needing post material a decade later back then, shouldn’t you?

Though I admit, you have no idea how psyched I was to get this image back then, and I still find it pretty damn slick, a lucky find (that I handled quite well, mind you.) It was the first year that I’d had a mantis hatching right on the property and thus incredibly handy, and I’d gone out on a particularly dewy morning to find the bebbies were all covered with dew – this is not work of the misting bottle. The azaleas that they’d chosen to scamper about on were still in bloom, as well as producing new leaves, so the background was a lot more colorful than the deeper green of the mature leaves later on in the year. I had to use the supplemental light of the big flash unit, at that time with a Lumiquest Big Bounce (which turned out to be too heavy and cumbersome for macro work, and was soon replaced by a custom unit,) but the macro magnification was obtained with the bellows – also cumbersome for field work, but more than adequate in this situation.

You’d think with the high humidity that NC typically displays, images like this would be common, but there are only two times of the year that morning dew usually occurs, in the spring and the fall, and it’s still not that common – warm to hot days and cool nights, and we transition through those periods rather quickly; all summer long we never hit the dewpoint in the evening. Generally, April and September are when these conditions appear, provided we’re not getting the rains that come then instead.

Although it helps if I’m actually around to see the dew, because clear skies will burn it off quickly, so it’s usually gone soon after the sun is up. You could say I’m not a morning person, but you’d be wrong – I’m always up in the early morning. I just usually consider it the previous day still…