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.
Unlike so many of my recent photos here's one made outdoors with a single exposure:
The first of the summer Meadowhawks are finally starting to appear - this summer's cool and rainy weather seems to have delayed their arrival. Very few of the dragonflies that I've seen so far have taken on the coloration of mature males - often bright red. This individual is probably of the genus Sympetrum, colloquially known as Meadowhawks. This would either be a female or immature individual. While a few Meadowhawk species have markings distinctive enough to allow identification from photos, most do not. Identification really depends on capturing the individual and examining it to determine the species (which assumes you know what to look for when examining it!) I've made tentative identifications of these in the past, but for this and most future subjects like it, I'm content to simply call it a Meadowhawk and leave it at that.
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.
Common names for these are Cave Crickets, Camel Backed Crickets, Spider Cricket, etc... they live in darkness, eat mold and fungus, and are just kind of ichy.
Cave Cricket (family Rhaphidophoridae)
One of my cats goes crazy whenever she sees one of these. She invariably winds up killing and eating them and then .... let's just say they don't agree with her digestion. Oh well...
I shot this a few weeks ago but screwed up and the pin it was mounted on was visible so I cropped in about 20%to eliminate it - made the top of the frame a little tight (I would like to show more of the antennae). 45 stacked images in a single run. DFA 50mm f2.8 macro reverse mounted with minor extension - approx 2x lifesized.
I keep looking for non-insect subjects for stack focused macro photos - they are surprisingly hard to find. I noticed the grey headed coneflowers (Ratibida pinnata) in my prairie plant garden have started budding - so study of the flower bud and its wonderful spiral pattern that suggests the Fibonacci sequence:
Grey Headed Coneflower Bud
That photo is at 4.5x lifesized magnification - here's the full flower at 1x lifesized:
Grey Head Coneflower
Both images are focused stacked - the top image is made from 60 images in two separate stacks, which were then combined. The bottom image is made from 95 stacked images - I did not expect to need to stack so much for such a low magnification photo, but sheer depth of the subject - roughly 15mm - meant that it took a lot of images to get from front to back.
I had to laugh when I spotted this sign last week... The last time I was in this place - 11 or 12 years ago - I wandered deeper into the woods and found some large wooden signs, covered with just tatters of paper. Beyond that was a tall steep earthen berm and beyond that was an open field. I like open fields... It didn't take long before I knew I was on the wrong end of a shooting range...
This is a film exposure - 35mm Tri-X. Pentax Mz-S, FA 20-35 f4 lens, XI green filter, film devoped in HC110 Dil B. I am reviving my "sun dappled woods" project, last visited in 2008.
I've been keeping watch for interesting insects to photograph, including watching for carpenter ants. So I was pleasantly surprised to stumble onto this very large carpenter ant (Camponotus spp.) yesterday morning:
Carpenter Ant Queen
This ant is roughly 15mm in length. It was dead, laying on the pavement. Base on its size alone, it appears to be a female Carpenter Ant. Looking at it closely shows spots on the thorax where the wings had recently fallen off, so it was probably a recently emerged female looking for a place to nest.
I'm not sure what killed it, but it was near a part of the house that had been treated for a carpenter ant infestation a few years ago. It may have encountered some residual pesticide.
This photo was made at about 2.5x life-sized, which is the magnification that the SMC K 24mm f3.5 yields when reverse mounted onto a DSLR with no additional extension. This image is 50 separate exposures stacked together with Zerene Stacker.
I spent last week hanging out in the Hocking Hills State Park in southern Ohio, hiking some of the trails and looking at waterfalls and caves. Here's a photo of the upper falls near Old Man's Cave (click on the image for a larger view):
Upper Falls Near Old Man's Cave
It's a little misleading in that the place was teeming with tourists when I took this photo. I did not have a tripod so I took a bunch of images at the lowest shutter speed that I could reasonably hand hold the camera - 1/8th of a second. It was a decent compromise in that any single image what reasonably sharp and the water was slightly blurred. Post processing the images today, I stack focused the group in Photoshop and that increased sharpness considerably by blending the sharpest bits of each of the 29 exposures. I then averaged the exposures and that created a more pronounced blur in the moving water. I blended just the blurred water from the averaged composite into the focused stacked composite for the final image. It would have been better to use a tripod and a ND filter, but this way I didn't have to carry so much while hiking.