Archive for the ‘macro’ Tag

I Gotta Right to Sing the Greens   7 comments


I Gotta Right to Sing the Greens

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During the dog days of summer here in the South, backyard critters will still find a way to keep cool, and to be cool.

This Carolina Anole seemed to be singing his heart out toward the end of a long day of catching bugs. We noticed him through the glass doors leading to the back deck, so I grabbed the new Sony NEX 7 with the an 18-55 lens and got right up against the glass.

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Where Food Comes From (3)   3 comments


Where Food Comes From (3)
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Continuing on the theme of Where Food Comes From, we have a new subject for you to identify. Can you guess what this is? (* Answer below.)

We had been concerned about this plant over the winter, as it looked a bit gangly. But as this year’s new growth flushed in, the plant became much larger and fluffier just before sending out these beautiful flowers laced with various purple tones.

We don’t harvest the leaves of this plant while it’s blooming, but otherwise, we clip off the leaves, rinse and dry them, and then sauté or pan-fry them in butter and olive oil. (Okay, more butter than oil for this treat!) Don’t make them too dark, or they’ll get bitter.

After about five minutes, you take the leaves out of the butter and cool them on a paper towel. IF there are any remaining after we snitch them, we put the leaves on pasta, on salads, or any other dish that could use a come-up. It always surprises us when the toasted leaves make it to the plate.

* Somewhere on the ‘net, a woman asked what to do with all the excess sage she had growing in her garden. Someone else responded with the above idea, and voila… no more excess sage.

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This is another macro-focus-stack image, derived from five separate images taken at various focus points along the plane. Using Auto-Align Layers and then Auto-Stack Layers commands in Photoshop CS6 produces a good result with few artifacts.

Where Food Comes From (2)   5 comments


Where Food Comes From (2)

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Okay, so the identity of this one is a bit of a trick question, as it is not edible. What is it? *, and what is its relation to food production?

This plant, located in several places around our garden, has a large central tap root and huge, lush leaves. It puts out these delightful flowers ranging from purple to white, yet the plant does not reproduce via the flowers, as it is sterile. (Whatever you do, though, do not cut the tap root, or the plant will pop up everywhere!)

It is highly advised not to eat the plant, as it can lead to liver failure with its hepatotoxic pyrrolizidine alkaloids. However, with a country name of “knitbone”, topical application can encourage cell division leading to faster healing.

Why did we plant about ten of these big boys? Because the leaves make excellent, nitrogen-rich compost and fertilizer! The large tap root, which can extend dozens of feet into the soil, pulls nutrients from well below the surface, concentrating all the mineral goodness into their leaves and stems. Whether we add the leaves to the compost pile, drop them where they are, or make a “tea” from the leaves, this is one of the best forms of ‘free fertilizer’ for the other, edible plants.

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* Russian Comfrey (Symphytum × uplandicum)

This image is created from a focus-stack of eight images, with a Nikkor 105mm macro lens.

My Leaf – My Rules   16 comments


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In our garden, every visiting bee is a precious resource. It’s an interesting turnabout, since many of us were raised to fear their sting. Now, we encourage them in, give them a wide berth, and let them go about the business of pollinating the plants. No bees == No fruit.

This little guy was taking a break on some black bean plants, allowing me the chance to shoot from all angles. As I swung around for a front-on view, he kicked his leg forward to grab the leaf. I imagined that he was getting a bit possessive about it, so I deferred the closer shot and backed up a bit.

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Maternal Instinct   3 comments


Maternal Instinct

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One morning recently, Susan told me that there was something interesting in the garden, that I might want to get the camera. Outside, on a section of floating row cover, she had found this little momma zealously protecting her egg case. Despite the fact that the spider looks big and mean, she’s less than half an inch — more like a 1/4 inch — from left to right.

I went in for the macro. She started waving me off. Finally, she raised her front legs as though to say, “Yeah, just try it, Bucko.”

We anticipate the birth of a few hundred offspring. Ah, the sound of little footsteps.

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Oh Yeah, You Blend   4 comments


Oh Yeah, You Blend

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Stealthy little dude, isn’t he?

While shooting bees working over our new lemon trees (Too Loaded to Fly), I noticed this guy tucked in deep among the flowers.

It’s nice to see that in addition to the lemon trees providing fruit and the most delightful aroma you could imagine, we’re also feeding the local wildlife. Bees are having a tough time of it, lately. Symbiosis rocks!

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Out of Chaos Comes Water   6 comments


Out of Chaos Comes Water
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I’m not entirely sure what Nietzsche had in mind with his quote, “Out of chaos comes order”, but I figured I’d adapt the expression a bit for this image.

Taken along the trail to Diana’s Baths in the White Mountains of New Hampshire, this little vignette caught my eye. I was struck by how it looked like a miniature waterfall, and how the leaves in the lower left look so liquid. I guess there’s a benefit to all the rain that we endured while there.

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Rest Stop   16 comments


Rest Stop

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It hasn’t rained in eastern North Carolina since April. I mean, it has, but only in homeopathic amounts. It’s a very unusual weather pattern for our part of the country, and it wreaks havoc on animal and foliage alike.

This little girl came along on Saturday evening after we had watered a patch of lawn. She was not to be dissuaded from taking a long drink from the ground, and stayed there for over an hour, sipping from various parts of the area. It was only when I took out the long lens and honed in that I noticed she was dropping water back on the lawn.

Now, I don’t know much about butterfly biology, but either the water is running through her like cheap beer, or she used the infusion to help her lay eggs, which I think is more likely the case. Either way, she seemed desperately in need of hydration, so I made sure she had plenty of water.

Dopes anyone know the species?

Nikkor 70-300mm f/3.5-5.6 lens at ISO 400 f/5.6 1/60s 300mm

News:

Over the weekend, some friends over at One Stop Poetry released the first of a two-part interview with yours truly, featuring a few of my images. The cool thing about this site and their Sunday Photography Interview is that they present a poetry challenge for the members. Using one of the images, the poets apply their own creative interpretation of the image in verse. Each contributor posts their poem and comments in an easy-to-access grid, and I must say, many of the poems just blew me away.

Those who know me know that I value Creativity. The great thing about this challenge is that Creativity didn’t stop when the image was finalized, but continued on in the poetry of those who wrote.  A friend of mine once told me, “The essence of creative expression is taking two or more everyday things and combining them in new and interesting ways.” To witness such talented poets taking two different forms and combining them in a new way was a delight to see, and I appreciate everyone who took part in the challenge.

To see the interview, and more importantly, the poetry that goes with the images, please take a moment to visit One Stop Poetry.

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