On Friday I headed out to the Allegan Forest, once again pursuing insects. Due to other commitments, the time I have available for shooting has been reduced, so a weekly trip out is now about the best I can hope for. So I decided to devote as much of the day as possible to insect and landscape shooting, and headed out early in the morning, staying out until late afternoon.
It’s been dry in west Michigan lately, and the sandy soil in Allegan county results in a quick run off of the rain that does fall. Early in the week the area received a good soaking from a large thunderstorm, and that seems to have brought things back to life a bit. The butterfly weed and knapweed are now in full bloom, drawing in more fritillaries and lots of hairstreaks, blues, coppers and sulphurs.
I started out north of the Kalamazoo river, and worked several large fields between M89 and M43. There were lots of dragonflies and other insects, along with the abundant butterflies. The male Halloween Pennants are assuming the black and orange coloration that comes with maturity, and that’s a sure sign that the summer is advancing.
While north of the river I stumbled on an adult Ant Lion – and insect I don’t recall having ever seen before (and certainly have never photographed.)
I then headed across the river and into some fields to the south. These are areas where the lupine is usually tick in the spring, and where Karner Blue butterflies, along with other interesting species, can usually be found. This year, due in part to the dry weather and in part to a late spring frost, the Karner population is down. During the course of the day I encountered and photographed one Karner Blue, the only firm sighting I’ve made this summer (see above). There were several blue butterflies flitting about the field, and based on the way that they flew they quite possibly were Karners, but I did not pursue them for a closer look.
I wrapped up the day with some B&W landscape medium format landscape work. Shooting the woods in high summer is a challenge. The repetition and patterns of the trees dappled with sunlight is compelling, but difficult to capture on film in any meaningful way. Well, I have several rolls yet to develop, and perhaps a new post will arise from that activity.
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