Thursday, July 31, 2014

Shooting Silk

I saw this while filming a crab spider bouncing around on a windy day. When I saw the silk being expelled I couldn't believe it had happened, the light hit it in just a couple frames. Yesterday I found an interesting talk at Google Talks. It was a little more detailed than my interest but you can get an idea of the incredible complexity of spider's silk between minutes 4-6 (approximately).

Tuesday, July 29, 2014


Insect drama is not as exciting as the drama that unfolds for photographers when they see the charismatic megafauna of Africa or Yellowstone but it is much more common and cheaper to record. A slow walk in the woods or on the prairie will give more than enough opportunities to photograph drama in the natural world. I noticed an upside down flying butterfly and followed it until it landed. Then saw it was in the clutches of a big fly. 

Monday, July 28, 2014

Head to Head

As you can imagine this does not have a happy ending for the grasshopper. Crab spiders can adapt their color somewhat to blend into the flowers as they lay in wait for prey. Web spinning spiders are hard to see during the day making this spider one of my favorite spiders to photograph when looking for butterflies.

Saturday, July 26, 2014

Love those lilies!

I can't seem to get enough time with Turk's Cap lilies. Now that they are past peak I'll be daydreaming about ways to photograph them until they bloom again next July. The lines and colors offer unlimited possibilities for the macro lens, it is just a matter of trying ideas at different settings and compositions. Recorded with a 180 mm Macro at about f5.6 to blur the background.

Thursday, July 24, 2014

Backroad Orchids

I was roaming the backroads of Wadena County this weekend and noticed intense pink flowers scattered amongst all the green. It was  quite a surprise to see purple fringed orchids at peak. When I was tuned into them they seemed to be everywhere.

Monday, July 21, 2014

BC (Before Coffee)

It doesn't have to be a Monday but it always seems to be a morning. The irony is that this snail is shown moving at twice actual speed so could be considered AC, after coffee. Filming this snail gave new meaning the the term: snail's pace.

Thursday, July 17, 2014

Purple Coneflowers at Peak

I usually find a couple coneflowers at peak and the rest in various stages of bloom. Earlier this week I fund most of them in the same stage.  As you can see domestic coneflowers have been significantly modified from their wild relatives.  Recorded at Cottonwood River Prairie SNA. 

Wednesday, July 16, 2014

Turk's Cap (Michigan Lily)

This is my favorite July wildflower, followed closely by the butterfly weed. The intense red and petal design drew my attention to this particular flower. Do you see the diamond made by the petals? Playing with the f stops gave a muted green background. A soft vignette was also applied in Lightroom.

Tuesday, July 15, 2014

Prairie Colors

Now is the time to visit the tall grass prairie! The colors are brilliant and match the rainbow in variety.  Phlox are past peak but still present.  Butterfly weed is at peak and the yellows are just starting with coriopsis. Early morning dew adds to interest and the wind is usually less. Enjoy.

Saturday, July 12, 2014


I visited the mourning dove nest for the first time in a couple weeks and was greeted by a fluttering of wings as the adult noisily left. I took a couple shots of the motionless chicks and left. This is the pair before hatching.

Friday, July 11, 2014


I was surprised to see a caterpillar on this iris when walking exploring the prairie one day in June.  This common buckeye caterpillar is more colorful than the adult which has a more graphic design. Now to find an adult this month. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Could you please move?

This chance occurrence took place when I was scouting for a macro class at Eastman Nature Center in Maple Grove. I first discovered the frog and then noticed a meadow hawk dragonfly eating a deer fly. While photographing the meal it moved to the back of the frog creating this unique image.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

So much food, so little time.

The orange is overwhelming as the is its food supply for the butterflies and bees that cover it. I chose to use a wide angle lens instead of the usual macro lens to show the diminutive size of the butterfly on the flower and make the most of the morning colors.

Saturday, July 5, 2014

Lunchtime Marmots

This weekend is about tradition and America. What could be more American than picnicking in Yellowstone National Park?

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Butterfly Breakfast

It was 46 degrees when I woke up this morning, way too cold for butterflies. I finally went out when it hit 55 degrees and found a couple hairstreaks feeding on a dew covered butterfly weed. I settled for the butterfly after getting frustrated trying to capture a bumblebee in flight as it moved from flower to flower.

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Hanging On

The fierce prairie wind that blew my cap off was also a nuisance for the pollinating green bees. This one was hanging on before it took off to another blossom. 

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Next Generation

With all the talk of the demise of the monarch butterfly it is refreshing to see a new caterpillar, it is even on a native plant. This guy was blowing in the wind yesterday trying to find a juicy leaf.