Someone gave us a few Turtlehead plants many years ago, and they have grown into 4 substantial clumps in the shade of the trees along either edge of our yard. Turtleheads are more commonly a flower of the stream-side. We have the white variety growing wild along the Kennebunk River not from from home. They are such a strange flower, closed in on themselves and not very inviting, but the big bumblebees we have here in Southern Maine seem to like them, and are very busy forcing their ways into the throat of the turtle and back out again laden with pollen. I was out with my iPhone for some macro and semi-macro shots. This one was taken with the Sirui 60mm portrait lens on the Moment thin case at about 2x digital zoom with the standard Apple Camera app. Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.
I seem to be photographing a lot of bees this month, both around home, and during our visit to New Mexico. Maybe August is the month of the bee? There are certainly a lot of bees in the Blazing Star boom on the Kennebunk Plains. Mostly Bumble Bees like this one…which is, I am thinking, the Common Eastern Bumble Bee (though there are several others it might be). This shot catches the business end of the bee…ready to prob deeply into the Blazing Star for pollen, and you can see by the pollen sacks on the legs that this bee has already been busy. Bumble Bees to occasionally sting (mostly when trapped or squashed), and I certainly would not want to be on the receiving end of that stinger. This is a shot from the Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Cropped and processed as usual in Polarr and then opened in Pixelmator Pro for enlargement using the Machine Learning Maximum Resolution tool, and recropped to fill the frame, for what amounts to a super-telephoto macro. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
This is another wildflower from Sandia Crest high above Albuquerque, New Mexico…and one that totally had me stumped. It is a pretty unique flower, with the bright yellow petals (or bracts) pulled in tightly around the true flowers in the center, in fairly large clusters, hanging like bells below the stems…but one that I had definitely not seen before. I actually identified it using Google Lens, which returned the name, Nodding Ragwort, as well as hundreds of other images. The bee is a added bonus, and you can see front he pollen on the legs that though the flowers look strange, they are very productive pollen factories. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/640th.
The lupine stands, of course, attract large numbers of bees and other pollen feeding insects. This large bee was among hundreds working the patch. You can see by the swollen pollen sacks on the hind legs that life is good for the bees among the lupines. And, of course, the bees are doing their part to ensure another crop of lupines in this meadow next year. Nikon B700 at 1440mm equivalent. Program mode. Vivid Picture Control. Low Active-D Lighting. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
White Wood Aster, Kennebunk Barrens Nature Conservancy, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — September in southern Maine is certainly the season for Asters. There are at least 6 different Aster species in bloom right now…and they are all over, in every kind of habitat. These are, I am pretty sure, White Wood Asters from the Kennebunk Plains, and what looks to be a Honey Bee. You can see that the Bee is harvesting pollen and is already heavy laden just by looking at those bright yellow leggings. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos.
The Green Metallic Bee clan is among my favorite set of insects. They are mostly tiny. If you know Owl Clover you know that the blossoms are themselves quite small, so you can get a sense of just how small the bee is. I am always delighted to find one. I only found my first one a few years ago, quite by chance, right in our front yard working the flowers. I never “expect” to see them, and certainly did not expect one when I bent down to photograph the Owl Clover. I did a brief search, by the way, on why Owl Clover is called Owl Clover. The consensus seems to be that no one knows. ? Some say the flower heads might look like little owls with the individual blossoms making “owl ears”…but no one seems to be particularly convinced by that solution…and I certainly am not. It shall remain a mystery. Of course there is no doubt about why the Green Metallic Bee is called the Green Metallic Bee. 🙂 Like the Owl Clover, there are many species of Green Metallic Bee…not all of them tiny. I won’t even attempt to hazard a guess as to which one this is, though I am pretty sure it is the only species I have ever seen here in Southern Maine. Sony Rx10iv at about 90mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
The masses of Lupine flowers in the the field where they grow out toward Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport attract all kinds of insects, including this giant bumble bee. I could not begin to say which of the 16 species of bumble bee we have in Maine this is…except that is not the orange-belted. 🙂 Notice, from the pollen collected on the back legs, how red the pollen of the Lupine must be. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
With a backlog of bog orchids and other wildflowers from Laudholm Farms this week, I was certainly not thinking about Wood Lilies when I took an ebike photoprowl out to the back side of the Kennebunk Plains yesterday. I was thinking of skies and landscapes, but as soon as I turned down the fire road that goes to the back of Day Brook Pond, I found the Plain covered with one of the most impressive displays of Wood Lilies that I have seen. I have never photographed Wood Lilies on that side of the pond…I always find them on either side of Rt. 99 where it crosses the Plains on the other side, so maybe this is a typical display for the area off Maguire Road, and I have just missed it all these years. Lots of lilies and lots of tall lilies, and many clumps of lilies. Checking last year’s photos of Wood Lilies, my first shots are from July 16th, on the other side of the pond, so the timing is right…I was just not expecting to see them yet. Nice surprise. So now I have a lot of Wood Lily images on top of my Grass Pink and Rose Pagonia orchid images from earlier in the week. Such abundance…but that is July in Maine for you! If you are into wildflowers, at least.
On this image of a double blossom, you will see, if you look closely, that there is a tiny Green Metallic Bee in flight above the lower flower. The Green Metallic Bees were all over the Wood Lilies, and I have to suspect that they are a major pollinator, at least out on the Kennebunk Plains.
Sony RX10iv at 326mm equivalent. Macro mode (in Scene Modes). Processed in Polarr.
I actually did not see the third bug in this Black-eyed Susan shot until I got it home and was processing it on the computer. The bee is obvious, as is the beetle. I am not certain what beetle it is, though it appears to be in the same family as Milkweed and Asparagus beetles. The spider is a Yellow Orb Weaver. Emmon’s Preserve, in Kennebunkport. The mosquitoes were so bad that my natural repellent was useless against them, and it was all I could do to stand still long enough to get a few shots here. I am very surprised there are not any mosquitoes in the image!
Sony RX10iii at 554mm equivalent field of view. 1/250th @ ISO 100 @ f4. Processed in Lightroom.
“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus
There are still lots of Wood Lilies in bloom out on the Kennebunk Plains Wildlife Management Area. I have only explored the Day Brook Pond side this summer so far, but, despite earlier impressions, the Wood Lily bloom is at least as good as last year, and maybe better. (It is about a week late, which contributed to my earlier disappointment.) Yesterday, I found a bunch growing right in among the ripe blueberries and wanted to frame both the blue and the bright red/orange in the same shot, but as I focused I noticed the Green Metallic Bees at work gathering the abundant pollen of the flower. I have shots where I adjusted the camera’s program to get the blueberries in better focus for better color contrast, but for this shot I was after the motion of the bees, so I let the camera choose a high shutter speed. (Photography, like most things in life, is all about choices and balance.) I remember finding my first Green Metallic Bee among the flowers of our yard a few years ago, and being totally amazed that such a creature could exist. In this shot we have two species, one much smaller than the already small Green Metallic, but clearly in the same family.
This shot, to my eye, has captured a vivid slice of life…full of a rich variety of color, form, and texture, and alive with energy. But then, so often, that is what the generous eye sees in the world around us…life both abundant and bright with promise…with the energy of the spirit at work in the world. And there is a unity. The bees are not separate from the flowers. As they gather the pollen of one plant and carry it to another, they are an essential part of the Wood Lilies’ life…there would be no more Wood Lilies without their action. Even the way the Wood Lilies and Blueberries are growing together must serve both…it is always about choices and balance…fulfilling the spirit’s vision of abundant life. If you push back behind the surface of this second, or any second, you become aware of the pure radiant light of creation at the center…expanding, expressing itself in form and color and texture, in all that lives and all that is…expressing itself with intelligence (choice and balance) and with all embracing love. You become aware of God. And God’s light fills you, not from the outside in, but from the inside out, as you realize yourself as another expression of the creative love and light that is all in all. Choice and balance…unity. Generosity.
Happy Sunday! And may your eye be generous.