Over the past summer, European honey bees have been infrequent visitors to my little wildflower garden. I've been lamenting their decline and hoping for a return. But now that the wild autumn aster is in bloom, honey bees have suddenly appeared in droves. On a warm after the asters are swarming with literally hundreds of these bees, along with a good number of bumble bees and other native bees. Maybe an urban beekeeper has set up shop nearby? Who knows - but it is great to see them back!
Since the autumn aster will be blooming well into October, I hope to have a few more photos of bees gathering nectar for the winter months.
I found several rolls of long expired Pro Max 100 film in my freezer a few days ago. These rolls are very old and when I last used film from this batch it showed severe signs of aging and spoilage. So I figured I'd run some tests to determine the best development time and strategy. If possible, I also wanted to push it a couple of stops to make it more suited for hand held work.
This image is Pro Max 100 pushed to ISO 400, stand processed in HC110, 1:75, 20C, for 90 minutes. The original film is soft, low contrast, and low grain. I boosted contrast in Photoshop and blended in a high pass layer to boost the grain a bit. (I like grain.) I think I have a passable exposure and development strategy for this film - now to burn it up and get rid of it!
One sign of the spoilage in this film is notable staining once developed. It appears in both stand processed and standard processed rolls - basically the stains are faint brown bands that are distinct in color from the developed emulsion and can cover half a frame to a couple frames on the film. So - not a film to be used with critical work, for sure. On the bright side - the canisters this film is packed in are reusable so once it's used up that's more canisters for bulk loading plus more plastic cans.
It is summertime and the cicadas are singing... These are insects often heard but less often seen, since they emerge from the ground and fly up into the nearest tree or other roost as soon as possible. This unfortunate individual did not successfully complete metamorphosis - one wind remained ill formed and the whole exuvia of its former shape was stuck to it. I found it thrashing helpless on the ground, so I snatched it up before the birds (or more likely my cat) got to it:
Cicada, Tibicen linnei
I would tentatively identify it as a male Tibicen linnei - the fact that there are only 10 species of cicada in Michigan helps make the id a little more easy.
This image is only 1.4x lifesized. It was made with a Pentax K3, DFA 100mm macro lens and extension tube. This is 232 images compiled in 2 separate stacks and then blended together.
I found this small bumble bee drowned in my cat's outdoor water dish. Don't know the species, but it was a fairly small bumble bee - about the length of a typical European Honey Bee but much stouter. A close up of its head (click on the image for a larger file):
Pentax K3 with reverse mounted SMC K 24mm f3.5, no additional extension (about 2.5x life sized.) Two separate stacks combined, 111 exposures total.