The other day I got a solicitation call from a pest control company. The person on the other end of the line informed me that many people in my neighborhood had problems with insects. “People are even reporting Carpenter Bees in your area,” told me, intoning the words “Carpenter Bees” like VanHelsing would say “the Undead!”
“Well,” I said, “gotta go – if there are carpenter bees out there, I want to see them!” and that ended the conversation.
One nice thing about shooting insects is that you often don’t have to look far to find them. Honey Bees are much less common than they used to be, as are Carpenter Bees, but even in the city (such as it is in a town this size) there are usually bugs on hand to be photographed. So over the weekend I kept my camera handy as I puttered in the yard, and snapped a few shots of a dance fly, snipe fly, and just plain old green bottle fly. I placed my hopes for more exotic species on the week ahead, with a day or two possibly free to do some shooting in more wild settings.
Unfortunately, today I once again found myself behind my time when it came to getting out and shooting. I had two tasks to complete in the morning – making slides to submit to a juried show, and dropping off a couple of pieces for a new exhibit opening in Three Rivers next week. With phone calls and interruptions, it was neigh well noon before I finally managed to slip out for a few hours.
I decided to visit the Kalamazoo Nature Center. This is an approximately 1,000 acre nature preserve that has a few acres of restored native prairie (and is in process of adding one of the largest restored native prairies in the Midwest.) It’s close, just a few minutes away, and has been fruitful in the past.
The restored prairie had been burned back last month, though only a few charred bushes hinted at that. By and large the vegetation had bounced back, and a fair amount of wild vetch and lupine covered the ground. Following the trail into the woods brought a change to wild garlic mustard – a growing (literally) problem.
Skippers – diminutive little butterflies about the size of dime – were the order of the day. They were out in force. When I’m out shooting I’m both trying to build new additions to my portfolio, and also trying to get better quality images of subjects I’ve shot in the past. Though there is nothing exotic or rare about skippers – these were primarily European Skippers at that – I still enjoyed the challenge of trying to improve on the quality of my shots of these diminutive insects – and I think I made a step forward today, if I say so myself.
Also in the “quality improvement” area is the Ebony Jewel Wing or Black Damselfly. As I have commented in past posts, this remains an elusive subject. Today’s shots are a step forward again, but still short of what I eventually hope to attain.
In regards to getting additions to the portfolio, I was happy to have a chance to get a couple of shots of an Ichneumon Wasp. These large wasps are not uncommon – I see them fairly often, but virtually never stop and rest. I was glad to get a good clear shot of this specimen – before it flew off.
A few more photos: