Another Great Spangled Fritillery

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This Fritillery had such a dark mantle that, while photographing it, I was convinced that it was another species…on mature reflection though, and after some Web research, I am pretty sure it is just another Great Spangled. As though “just” could ever describe a Great Spangled! Again this is in the meadows at Emmons Preserve, but in the upper meadow this time. There were more typical GSFs, with much lighter mantles, in the lower meadow on this day. The Knapweed is just about finished for this year…only a few blossoms left…so these might also be the last of the Great Spangled Fritilleries.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 1200mm equivalent (2x digital extender). Processed in Snapseed on my tablet. Assembled in Pixlr Express.

Chipper

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It was so dark in the woods at Rachel Carson NWR on this overcast morning that I had to dial back the shutter speed to get this image. Even then it is at ISO 6400. And not bad at that. Who could resist the pose?

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. Shutter preferred. 1/400th @ ISO 6400 @ f6.7. Processed in Snapseed and Photo Editor by dev.macgyver on my tablet. Cropped slightly for scale.

Foggy Morning At Back Creek Marsh

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It rained overnight yesterday and we will to heavy coastal fog. Rain was predicted to start again by 9, so I got out early to the marsh and beach to try for some atmospheric for shots. I tried HDR, and prefer the exposure effects, but the wind was blowing a gale and any shot with flowers in the foreground had too much ghosting from the motion and multiple exposures to work. I had to resort to normal exposures and post processing for HDR effect.

I have hundreds of images of this marsh and this tree, but this foggy shot with the bright flowers will be a favorite.

Sony Alpha NEX 5T with ZEISS Touit 12mm f2.8. ISO 100 @ 1/160th @f8. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.

Spotted Orange Jewelweed

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According to a little Web research this morning, Orange Jewelweed is an introduced species in North America. It is also called Touch-me-not and is actually an Impatiens. It is often used as a natural cure for skin rashes and poison ivy in particular. I found these specimens growing by the small Pond at the Kennebunkport Land Conservancy headquarters at Emmons Preserve.

Sony Alpha NEX 5T with ZEISS Touit 50mm macro. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet. Assembled in Pixlr Express.

Swallowtail on Cone Flower. Happy Sunday!

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There are Tiger Swallowtails everywhere this year. I see them in meadows feeding on Milkweed and flitting through the trees on unknown missions in the deep forest. I see them at Laudholm Farm, Emmons Preserve, Saco Heath, Old Falls Pond, the Waterboro Barrens, and the Kennebunk Plains. I have seen several in our yard, and actually photographed one on our apple blossoms. I almost thought we were going to get out of the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens without seeing one, but one final turn around the Garden of the Senses and the great lawn after lunch turned up a lovely specimen feeding in a stand of purple Cone Flower.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 600mm equivalent. Shutter preferred. 1/500th @ ISO 200 @ f7.1. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet. Cropped for scale and composition.

And for the Sunday Thought: Comparatively speaking we do not have a lot of Butterflies in New England (compared say, to South Texas)…especially big showy butterflies like the Swallowtail. There are summers when a single sighting would be exciting. This year we have Swallowtails in abundance. I have no idea why, and I don’t even know how to begin to speculate. :-) But I am, of course, happy to see them, and I will undoubtedly photograph every one that will sit even remotely still for me. And I will give thanks. I know, year to year, on average, it is our most common big Butterfly. In fact nothing else in New England comes close to its size. So, common or not, every single one is a blessing. Even in a year of abundance, any day with a Swallowtail in it is more blessed than a day without. I have cherrios for breakfast every morning in the warm days of summer (oatmeal in the winter), but that does not mean I should forget to be thankful for cherrios any morning. A day with cherrios in it is always more blessed than a day without. And we do good to remember that. No matter how common the Swallowtails are this summer.

Yellow-jacket on Lantana

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You do not see a lot of Lantana growing in Maine. It is a plant I associate with the Southwest and southern California where it is popular in Gardens for its bold color and for its attractiveness to butterflies. At the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens they had it growing in huge planters which I assume they move inside during the winter. I stopped for a macro of the flowers. The Yellow-jacket (Common Wasp) is a bonus.

Sony Alpha NEX 3N with ZEISS Touit 50mm f2.8 macro. ISO 200 @ 1/320th @ f11. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet. Anyone who appreciates macros would have to love this lens!

Smith’s Preserve

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I have been exploring the local Land Trust/Conservancy properties in Kennebunk and Kennebunkport this month. This week I visited Smith’s Preserve in Kennebunkport. It is the largest Preserve in the Kennebunkport Land Conservancy and has a number of well developed trails. If the day I visited was typical, it is popular with mountain bikers. There is a small stream, some marshy areas, and, as far as I got, some shady second growth forest with large exposed bolders and rock ledges. It makes a change from our typical Coastal sand plain forest.

I took a number of in-camera HDRs, trying to catch the atmosphere. Here I like the slight rise from the trail, the lay of the rocks and ledges and the dappling of the light and shadow. Sony Alpha NEX 5T with ZEISS Touit 12mm f2.8. Processed for HDR effect in Snapseed on my tablet.

Bee for Thursday

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I mentioned in an earlier post that there were more insects at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens on our visit Monday than I had seen before…especially bees…and especially Bumble Bees. They were everywhere. After a few shots with one in the frame, I began to collect them on different flowers.

Sony Alpha NEX 3N with the ZEISS Touit 50mm macro. ISO 200 @ 1/160th @ f10. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.

Chipmunk

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On my way back from my photoprowl to the beach at the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farm I chose the boardwalk trail through the forest, and was rewarded by this Chipmunk sitting and eating berries on a tree quite near the trail. Nothing cuter!

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 1200mm equivalent (600mm optical plus 2x digital extender). Shutter preferred. 1/640th @ ISO 2000 @ f7.1. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.

Any perch

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My wife and I spent the better part of the day at the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens in Boothbay Maine yesterday. It is something we have done several times now on or around our anniversary. The CMBG is a treasure, the unlikely result of the ongoing efforts of a group of dedicated people in Boothbay. They have assembled a world class collection of plants in beautifully landscaped settings that always provides a day of pleasure when we visit. We were a few weeks later this year than in past visits and it was interesting to see the difference that few weeks made in what was blooming, and what was not.

A highlight of this trip was the number of insects. There were bees, mostly Bumble, everywhere, and squadrons of Twelve-spotted Skimmer Dragonflies. crickets. Wasps. Several other Odonata. Etc. It sometimes seemed difficult to photograph flowers without catching a bug in the frame. :-)

This image is, of course, an unusual juxtaposition. Dragonflies, like the Blue Dasher here, are predators and do not generally visit flowers. That is not to say they will not settle on one if it presents itself as a likely perch for hunting. This stand of salmon colored Day Lilies was along the bank above an ornamental pond where many dragonflies were patrolling. And the Blue Dasher is not the only dragon I caught perched among the blooms.

Olympus OM-D E-M10 with 75-300mm zoom. 380mm equivalent. Shutter preferred. 1/500th @ ISO 320 @ f8. Processed in Snapseed on my tablet.