Macro Monday: the bee fly (bombyliidae)

This is a quick reminder that my 2015 nature photography calendars are now available for saleIf you’re looking for a unique Thanksgiving or holiday gift to give a teacher, a friend, a colleague, or a family member, this is a great choice. I thank you for your purchase and your support.

Today I’m taking part in the Macro Monday photo challenge. You can click on each photo for a larger view. If you like what you see, I encourage you to subscribe so you can enjoy the new photos I post a few times a week.

I recently took photos of a number of flowers at a local botanical garden, and bees were busy visiting them for nectar collection. But this flower bush below (don’t ask me what type of bloom it is, I have no idea; but if you know, please tell me!) displayed something a bit different: a bee fly. From the Bombyliidae family,  bee flies are quite larger than your regular house fly and they include many different types of flies. They all collect nectar and pollen and can even be useful pollinators. I’ll tell you, they’re not as pretty as bees but they are awesome when it comes to posing for photographs because they don’t seem to be bothered when you stand close to them. Oh, and another great advantage over bees? They don’t sting.

Some bee flies can be as colorful and as fuzzy as bees. This bee fly just looked more like a very large fly, but since this is the first time I’ve photographed one, I’m not too picky.

Macro Monday: the bee fly (bombyliidae)

Macro Monday: the bee fly (bombyliidae)

Close-up of a bee fly (bombyliidae)

Close-up of a bee fly (bombyliidae)

 

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Floral Friday Fotos: pink and red roses

I’d like to start with a quick reminder that my 2015 nature photography calendars are now available for saleIf you’re looking for a unique Thanksgiving or holiday gift to give a teacher, a friend, a colleague, or a family member, this is a great choice. I thank you for your purchase and your support.

Today I’m participating in Floral Friday Fotos. You can click on each photo for a larger view. If you enjoy my photos, I encourage you to subscribe and receive updates when I post new photos, usually 3 to 5 times a week.

I recently toll a stroll in San Diego’s Balboa Park and ended up in the rose garden, where the roses were displaying their bright and colorful blooms one last time before the cooler season. It had rained the night before (yes, I said rain, in San Diego!) so the rose petals were covered with raindrops.

I hope you enjoy these bright pink and red roses on this Friday, especially if you live in a place where the flowers have now disappeared for the next few months.

Close-up of raindrops on pink rose petals

Close-up of raindrops on pink rose petals

Pink rose and orange roses

Pink rose and orange roses

Raindrops on red rose petals

Raindrops on red rose petals

Floral Friday: bright pink rose with raindrops on petals

Floral Friday: bright pink rose with raindrops on petals

My 2015 nature photography calendars are available for sale

Well, I feel like I just crawled out from under a rock. A big, heavy rock. I have been spending the past several weeks studying for several exams that will open up some work opportunities, only now to wait for one more test result that’s not coming in in time for an important meeting tomorrow. Argh, life always has a way to let you know you’re not in charge, no matter how hard you try.

And of course, I’ve been working diligently on creating new photo calendars for 2015 and I’m proud to announce that my 2015 nature photography calendars are now available for sale. If you’re looking for a unique Thanksgiving or holiday gift to give a teacher, a friend, a colleague, or a family member, this is a great choice. All calendars are made to order in the USA so you support the US economy with your purchase, and a starving artist at the same time (me!).

While I’ve decided to keep the same five themes as last year, I’ve updated quite a lot of photos in each 2015 calendar and I hope you’ll enjoy them. Of course, Zazzle has made it very difficult for me to promote these 2015 calendars since their system continues to refuse displaying them in my online store, although I posted them for sale several weeks ago. Their tech support answer? “We’re aware of the problem but we can’t tell you when it will be fixed.” Which means, they won’t fix it. Well, thanks for nothing, Zazzle! So to access these calendars, just click on the links I posted below, including links to pages featuring the photos for each calendar. I really wanted to create a couple more new calendars for this year, but I’ve been so frustrated with the process, I’ve run out of energy, haha!

Zazzle offers discount coupons on many products, so visit Zazzle’s coupon page for their latest promotions. They also display coupon codes just below the top menu. And today only (November 12, 2015), you can use coupon code OJNYFHHWBIBVAVOPYTGM to save $10 when you spend $20 or more.

Click on the calendar links below to purchase the calendars of your choice. Thank you very much for your purchase and your support!

Buy this 2015 12-month calendar – A YEAR IN SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA – VIEW individual photos in a large slideshow

2015 San Diego calendar - front cover

2015 San Diego calendar – front cover

Buy this 2015 12-month calendar – WATER LILIES  – VIEW individual photos in a large slideshow

2015 water lily calendar - front cover

2015 water lily calendar – front cover

Buy this 2015 12-month calendar – BEES AND OTHER INSECTS  – VIEW individual photos in a large slideshow

2015 bee and insect calendar - front cover

2015 bee and insect calendar – front cover

Buy this 2015 12-month calendar – FLOWERS AND BLOOMS  – VIEW individual photos in a large slideshow

2015 flower and bloom calendar - front cover

2015 flower and bloom calendar – front cover

Buy this 2015 12-month calendar – WATER IN SAN DIEGO  – VIEW individual photos in a large slideshow

2015 water in San Diego calendar - front cover

2015 water in San Diego calendar – front cover

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: the color blue

Today I’m participating in Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge and her theme is “the color blue”. I encourage you to click on each photo to see a larger view.

If you like what you see, please subscribe to this blog to receive updates of the new photos I post, usually 3 to 5 times a week.

Blue is by far my favorite color, from very light to very dark, just as it is or with a bit of green or a bit of red in it. I love blue skies, blue waters (where blue skies reflect in), blue jeans – anything nature-made or man-made that looks blue. Here are a few pictures I took this summer that feature the color blue.

The first thing that comes to mind is how blue the sky can look here in San Diego. Well, maybe not downtown San Diego, which tends to be overcast many days out of the year. Inland, where it’s warmer and hotter, the sky can be the brightest blue on good days. This is a mountain peak I photographed while hiking in Idyllwild this summer, a couple of hours northeast of San Diego.

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: the color blue - blue sky in Idyllwild, California

Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge: the color blue – blue sky in Idyllwild, California

I took this next picture with my cell phone camera. That’s all I had available at the time and I thought the very rare clouds and their reflection in the water presented an opportunity I didn’t want to miss.

Blue sky and white clouds reflecting in water - water reflections

Blue sky and white clouds reflecting in water – water reflections

Spend a few hours in an aquarium and you’ll see a lot of blue. I love taking pictures of sea jellies (aka jelly fish), especially when the tank light keeps changing colors. Here’s a blue jelly fish for you!

Blue sea jelly - blue jelly fish

Blue sea jelly – blue jelly fish

Blue and yellow are complementary colors, so what’s not to like about yellow seahorses in an aquarium with a bright blue background?

Yellow seahorses in blue background aquarium

Yellow seahorses in blue background aquarium

Finally, this is one of my favorite photos of a duck I took this summer. This female mallard duck was swimming in very still water, mostly in the shade. The water almost looks like a sheet of bluish metal.

Mallard female duck swimming in still, blue water

Mallard female duck swimming in still, blue water

How to photograph a frog

You can click on each photo below for a larger view. If you like what you see, I encourage you to subscribe so you can enjoy the new photos I post a few times a week.

So how do you photograph a frog? I have no idea but I’ll tell you something. Don’t bring kids who are running low on patience with you when you want to photograph animals that don’t care about you taking their pictures. My only tip is to find a pond with a lot of frogs in it. Eventually one or two will come out of the water long enough for you to snap a few photos. I believe all of the frogs featured in this post are American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana).

And be ready for most frogs to come out of the water just this much. Apparently they think it’s good enough.

Frog hiding under lily pads

Frog hiding under lily pads

If you’re lucky, the frog will completely come out of the water, but you still may end up with a camera shy frog. Or maybe it really doesn’t want you to take its picture.

Camera shy frog

Camera shy frog

Alright, not all frogs are that rude. These two little frogs didn’t have any problem with me standing there, as long as I kept my distance. Honestly I didn’t really have a choice since they were standing in the middle of the pond.

Small American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) on a lily pad

Small American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) on a lily pad

Small frog laying down on a lily pad

Small frog laying down on a lily pad

These next two frogs actually demonstrated their swimming skills for me.

Green frog in the water

Green frog in the water

Frog swimming in the water and weeds

Frog swimming in the water and weeds

This last frog happens to be the biggest one I saw in the pond. It was so big, I would have had to use both hands to grab it. I think it was the same frog in the first picture that eventually came out of underneath those lily pads.

Very large frog in the pond

Very large frog in the pond