Coral Hairstreak and Wood Lily revisited

I posted another in this sequence of images the other day. I was delighted to watch this Coral Hairstreak working a Wood Lily on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area here in Southern Maine. As this panel shows, and I tried to describe in the previous post, the butterfly worked its way across the flower and then back again as I watched. Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent, plus enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.

The Generous Eye: Going deep… Happy Sunday!

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

I walked out the door the day before yesterday, on my way to the bank to get funds for my trip to Peru (which starts tomorrow) and was arrested by a Canada Tiger Swallowtail in our yellow Day Lilies right in front of me. I had to go back inside for my camera, and by the time I got back in position the butterfly was in flight on its way to another stand of lilies under the Cherry tree. These are more the common orange lily that we call, mistakenly, Tiger Lily here in Southern Maine. They are in full bloom in all the yards less than half a mile inland from us, but just coming into bloom in our well shaded and tide cooled yard. I got the best shots I could of the butterfly, but it was buried deep in the flower, and only sat there a moment, before rising and sailing out over the tall unblossomed lilies along our drive and on across the road into the forest.

Looking with a generous eye this morning, I have to admire the way the Swallowtail dove right into that flower…going deep…drawn by the promise of whatever nectar had collected in the cup of the petals. It was certainly at its most vulnerable, head down, busy, going after what it wanted, or what it needed in the moment. And I take that, with the light within me, as a metaphor this morning for our quest for the spirit. We are born, I believe, with the inner certainty, that there is more to life than nectar in a cup, sweet as it might be…that we are part of something much bigger than ourselves. Oh yes, you can explain that feeling away…make it into a weakness instead of a strength…but to me it has always been evidence of our calling as the Children of God, meant to live out of the spirit of Creative Love that animates the universe. The light within. I remember the feeling of vulnerability when I had to admit that what I wanted, what I needed, might be found deep within the experience, the reality, of Jesus. Sometimes you just have to dive right in…go deep…and let consequences take care of themselves…like the Tiger Swallowtail on the Tiger Lily. With a generous eye, you just might find a satisfaction that will fill you with light, and send you sailing on over unopened flowers into the future. Happy Sunday!

Calico Pennant

Calico Pennant (Celithemis elisa), Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, Kennebunk Maine, USA.

Yesterday’s post featured my first Halloween Pennant for the season. The Calico Pennant, featured here, is the other Pennant on the wing in Southern Maine right now. I have been seeing Calicos for about a week and half. These individuals were around the pond on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, and are particularly dark red, for whatever reason. I was also, just after my encounter with the Halloween, struck anew by how small they are. There were lots of Slaty and Spangled Skimmers around, and the Calicos were almost tiny by comparison. Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical plus enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.

Halloween Pennant

I found my first of the season Halloween Pennant the day before yesterday. I stopped at the parking lot for the new Wild Forever Sanctuary on Rt 99 going out of Kennebunk toward the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area and spent some time chasing Monarchs in the overgrown field. There was just this one female Holloween Pennant perching on the tallest grasses. I managed to get several angles on it. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent with enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.

Coral and Lily

This shot will justify the largest view you can provide 🙂 It was a cool, dry, sunny day in Southern Maine yesterday so my ebike photoprowl was delightful. And in the midst of the delight, while photographing more Wood Lilies out on the Rt. 99 side of the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area, something caught at the corner of my eye and I turned in time to see this Coral Hairstreak land in another Wood Lily. It proceeded to harvest something from the petals, dragging its proboscis across the surface, working its way down one petal and back up, before moving on to the next petal. Here it is poised for the turn, with its proboscis tightly curled. Coral Hairstreaks are common on the Plains in July, and around the Wood Lilies (this is not the first I have photographed on a Lily), but here the light is perfect and the composition eye-catching. Beautiful flower. Attractive butterfly. What more could you ask for? Sony RX10iv at 600mm optical equivalent, plus enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.

Damsels

Things are really hitting up Odonata wise in Southern Maine here in mid-July. About time! Every little drainage pond and ditch is alive with dragon and damselflies. These damsels are from a fairly large drainage pond on a condo development between Kennebunk and Wells. Male and female Familiar Bluet, and Eastern and Fragile Forktails. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent with enough Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.

A Bunch of Wood Lilies

Though a single blossom is the norm for Wood Lily plants, a few produce multiple flowers…two is fairly common, three less so, and a plant with four blossoms, like this one, is, in my experience, quite rare. Photographed with the Sony RX10iv on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area off Maguire Road, in Kennebunk, Maine. Top at 600mm equivalent. Bottom at about 85mm. Macro Mode (Scene mode, not focus mode.) Processed in Polarr.

Cheating on a Wood Lily

Full disclosure. This is a composite image, an attempt at rudimentary focus stacking. Because of the shallow depth of field working with the RX10iv at 600mm and f4 for this telephoto macro, I could get the anthers and stigma in focus or the spotted surface of the petals in focus, but not both at the same time. Even stopping down for grater depth of field would not have gotten both critically sharp in the same image. So I came back with one of each…one image with the anthers and stigma in focus and one with the petals in focus. After my standard processing in Polarr, being careful to match the two images, I used Pixomatic to combine the two, laying the in focus anthers and stigma from one shot over the in focus petals from the other and then carefully erasing to expose the background image as needed. I am pretty happy with the result. I doubt, if I had not told you, that you would have noticed anything out of the ordinary about the image. 🙂 Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Macro mode (in Scene Modes). And here, just for those who might be interested, are the two shots that I combined. Is that cheating? I will leave that for you to decide.

Grass Pink clusters

There are always a few “clusters” of Grass Pink Orchids (when there are Grass Pink Orchids at all), and it is common for one plant to have several blossoms, but this year in the remnant bog at Laudholm Farms the orchids seemed uncommonly clustery and particularly prolific. And who can object to such a display, especially when dealing with a beautiful flower that, due to lack of habit, is becoming rare? Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (top panel) and 62mm (bottom panel). Macro mode (in the Scene Modes). Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.

The Generous Eye: The best stuff just happens! Happy Sunday.

“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus

If you go about with your eyes wide open, taking a generous look at nature in the world around you, you can not help but be surprised by the stuff that happens. 🙂 Even more, if you photograph nature, you can not help but be surprised by the amount of times you manage to capture the stuff that happens. You can not plan for this kind of stuff. It just happens, and you have to just happen to be there with your camera, and just happen to have your camera ready to take a photo…or, more likely, you take a bunch of photos and only discover the really good stuff that happened when you get back home and are processing them on the computer or tablet. That is what happened here. I was photographing Rose Pagonias and Grass Pink Orchids in the remnant bog at Laudholm Farms one day last week, and came back with hundreds of images. While processing this one, I saw the tiny cricket/grasshopper-like insect on the leaf next to the blossom. Though I have tried my best to identify the bug, I have had no success. Most crickets are not out in plain sight during daylight hours, and most grasshoppers have definite wings.

I am not sure what the bug is, but the fact that it is there in my photo of a Rose Pogonia makes for a special image. The best stuff just happens, and happens often enough so any thinking human being is likely to wonder…to feel a touch of awe (which is concentrated wonder), not to mention a good deal of gratitude. God is good. God is good everyday and all the time, but every once in a while the best stuff happens, and you are reminded just how good God is. May something good just happen to you today…and that is very likely if you take a generous view of the world.