Blue dragonfly and water lilies

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I love dragonflies but they’re quite hard to find and photograph since they don’t like to sit still. Did you know dragonflies are the fastest insects in the world? They can even fly backwards, hover and make U-turns at full speed. I guess those two sets of wings come in really handy when they’re hungry. And they do eat a lot of bugs, which is convenient for us.

It was my lucky day a few months ago when I spotted this blue dragonfly standing on a dead leaf over a pond covered with lily pads. I was even luckier to have some beautiful water lilies to include in the background of my pictures. I first captured the blue dragonfly with a pink water lily in the same shot.

Blue dragonfly and pink water lily
Blue dragonfly and pink water lily
Close-up of a blue dragonfly and pink water lily
Close-up of a blue dragonfly and pink water lily

Then I just had to point my camera a bit to the left and capture the same blue dragonfly with a white water lily in the background. How nice is that?

Blue dragonfly and white water lily
Blue dragonfly and white water lily

I can’t put even a finger on a dead leaf without breaking it, but it seemed like a nice stand for this dragonfly.

Close-up of a blue dragonfly on a dead leaf
Close-up of a blue dragonfly on a dead leaf

Floral Friday Fotos: pink bottle brush flowers

Zazzle online shop If you enjoy my photos and would like to purchase some, I want to thank you! Simply visit my Zazzle online shop and browse the product offerings. If there’s a photo you would like to purchase but don’t see it in my shop, please contact me by using the Contact form at the bottom of my home page and let me know which photos you are interested in purchasing, and in what format / medium.

This is a quick reminder that my 2015 nature photography calendars are now available for saleYou can choose from five different nature themes: a year in Southern California, bees and other insectswater lilies, flowers and blooms, and water. These 2015 photo calendars make a unique Thanksgiving or holiday gift to give a teacher, a friend, a colleague, or a family member. 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 have shared pictures of red bottle brush flowers before but when I ran into several bottle brush trees that displayed pink flowers a few months ago, I couldn’t resist taking a lot of pictures. There were so many pink bottle brush flowers on the first bush I encountered, they almost looked like Christmas ornaments.

Pink bottle brush flowers in bottle brush tree
Pink bottle brush flowers in bottle brush tree

Can you count how many pink bottle brush flowers are in this picture? Would you believe there were even more before I cropped the picture? That is some happy tree.

Pink bottle brush blooms
Pink bottle brush blooms

Of course, bees are very fond of those bottle brush flowers, so it’s easy to take a picture of the blooms with bees on them.

Bee collecting nectar on pink bottle brush flower
Bee collecting nectar on pink bottle brush flower

You can easily understand from their unusual shape why these were named bottle brush blooms.

Bright pink bottlebrush flowers
Bright pink bottlebrush flowers

By the way, I took this set of pictures last August. I don’t want you to think that we’re getting that many blooms right now. Although, bottle brush bottles seem to have an erratic blooming schedule in San Diego, depending on the fluctuating temperatures. So you really never know what you may see.

Floral Friday Fotos: pink bottle brush flowers
Floral Friday Fotos: pink bottle brush flowers

This last picture features another bee on those pink bottle brush trees. I hope you’ve enjoyed this splash of bright colors on this floral Friday.

Close-up of pink bottle brush flowers
Close-up of pink bottle brush flowers

Tiger swallowtail butterfly (Papilio glaucus)

Zazzle online shop If you enjoy my photos and would like to purchase some, I want to thank you! Simply visit my Zazzle online shop and browse the product offerings. If there’s a photo you would like to purchase but don’t see it in my shop, please contact me by using the Contact form at the bottom of my home page and let me know which photos you are interested in purchasing, and in what format / medium.

I want to start by reminding you that my 2015 nature photography calendars are 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.

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.

Butterflies are cool looking insects and they do a great job at pollinating flowers. But I find them challenging to photograph, especially since I don’t have a super fancy zoom lens or a tripod. Unlike bees, they won’t let me get too close without taking off, and they don’t always keep their wings wide open long enough while resting on flowers. Oh, and they love to stay on flowers that are out of reach, so I can’t photograph them from a good angle.

Still, I was pretty lucky to find this beautiful, yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly (more formally known as Papilio glaucus) a few weeks ago. Somehow, it landed on the same kind of bright pink flowers I photographed that bee fly the same day, even though those bushes were in different areas of the botanical garden. Those flowers must be tasting delicious. The first flower cluster this tiger swallowtail butterfly picked didn’t make for a great picture, but he did help me out a bit as he kept hopping from flower to flower.

Tiger swallowtail butterfly on pink flowers
Tiger swallowtail butterfly on pink flowers

This was much better already than the first picture I took.

Yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly drinking nectar
Yellow tiger swallowtail butterfly drinking nectar

This tiger swallowtail was nice enough to display its beautiful wing markings for me to take one last picture of it quickly before it took off.

Close-up of a tiger swallowtail butterfly on pink flowers
Close-up of a tiger swallowtail butterfly on pink flowers

Are you a butterfly fan, or do they creep you out?

Macro Monday: the bee fly (bombyliidae)

Zazzle online shop If you enjoy my photos and would like to purchase some, I want to thank you! Simply visit my Zazzle online shop and browse the product offerings. If there’s a photo you would like to purchase but don’t see it in my shop, please contact me by using the Contact form at the bottom of my home page and let me know which photos you are interested in purchasing, and in what format / medium.

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)

 

How to photograph a frog

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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