Iceland is amazing   Leave a comment

Iceland is a PAYFC kind of place (“Put Away Your Camera”).  There’s just so much beauty everywhere you look, how can you hope to capture it?  Where do you start, where do you stop, and how can you even try?  I did in fact put my camera away at times, because I didn’t want to look at the country through a viewfinder.

Here are my attempts, and they don’t do the place justice.  The first set is in Skogar, near the southern tip.

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The trail actually went behind the waterfall:

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These photos were also in Skogar, as we climbed the trail up Skogafoss and behind it:

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The view from the top of the falls:

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This is one of my favorite photos I’ve ever taken:

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The next set of photos are from the trail to Solheimajokull glacier.

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Photos from Dyrholaey, a rocky promontory on the southern coast:

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On the drive from Skogar to Skaftafell, there were huge tracts of land that had been recently covered by volcanic activity, and the woolly fringe moss had just started establishing a foothold.

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Foss a sidhu:

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Early views of Skaftafell from the road:

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The colors were nothing but spectacular, and I wonder how they change over the seasons.

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Jokulsarlon was also amazing:

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The famous blue icebergs lived up to their reputation:

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Seeing and actually photographing a mink in the wild was a major highlight for me.

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Ice lying on the beach:

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In Vatnajokull National Park, we hiked from the Skaftafell Visitor’s Center to Svartifoss to Sjonarsker to Sel.

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Svartifoss is beautiful, and the basalt columns near it set it off stunningly.

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Sjona means view, I believe, and Sjonarsker lives up to this:

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We had a great view of the sunlight through the clouds:

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From Sel, we saw the range from blue sky to rain clouds to the rain falling:

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Let’s end on a rainbow.

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Posted 2016-09-25 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20160909 Borderland State Park   Leave a comment

Friday?  Halictidae!  I’ve always wanted good photographs of sweat bees (Halictidae) and today delivered.  As a technical aside:  I always thought I did a good job with white balance, and then I tried taking photos of sweat bees, and my fond hopes of reproducing the right colors utterly vanished.

Off to Borderland State Park.  For some reason, I’ve never looked for insects at Borderland, even though it’s only five minutes from my house.  A rather strange gap, I’m not sure what I was thinking.

I get unreasonably excited by photos of insects flying, and am willing to share them, even if they’re actually pretty crappy:

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At this point, I hit sweat bee paydirt.  I’m just going to share all my  best sweat bee photos from today in one place.  These were identified for me as Augochlora pura.

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There were many more, but I think that’s enough for now.  See why I think sweat bees are so beautiful?

A couple of carpenter ants aka Componotus, I believe.  Identifying ants better has been a goal for a long time, maybe it’s time to start working towards it.DSC00691.JPG

 

I enjoyed this tapestry:

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A closeup of a bee’s tongue:

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A pretty cute leaf beetle, Chrysomelidae, I think:

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Some random photos of the lake:

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And an extremely reddish stream:

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I find Opilionids (harvestmen) always very photogenic with their long limbs arching out of the focus zone:

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Nobody likes flies, ever.  But look at those colors:

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And finally, a very charismatic, heavy-metal rock-and-roll assassin bug nymph:

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Posted 2016-09-09 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

201609 Mount Greylock   Leave a comment

A basilica orb-weaver at the base of Mount Greylock.  (Perhaps Linyphia triangularis instead?)

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From the top of Mount Greylock, we went on the Overlook Trail.

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The overhead sunlight was harsh on the photos, but you snap what you get.

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Posted 2016-09-05 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

Acadia National Park   Leave a comment

 

We spent a week in Acadia National Park, and had a wonderful time.  Not much time for photography, and a lot of that was during the afternoon, when the photos tend to get washed out.  Still a great visit!

Here’s a loon that was nesting.  To be clear, we did stay outside the roped-out area, so as not to disturb it.

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There was a Pelecenid wasp at our house, and those are always very photogenic.  Those ovipositors are spectacular!

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I went to photograph a Syrphid fly, and it turns out that there was an elephant weevil in the photograph when I looked at it later.  Embarrassingly, the elephant weevil was in better focus than the Syrphid fly.

 

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I love this photograph of a caterpillar — the perspective works!

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Some beetle hanky-panky.  Sorry.  Let’s move on.

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As mentioned earlier, the photographs did not do justice to the scenery.  Apologies for that, and it means I need to make another trip.

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I went to catch the sunrise at the beach, but missed the peak color by a few minutes.  Here are a few photos that I was able to take.

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I’m going to add the black and white versions, just to see how they compare:

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Posted 2016-08-18 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20160614 Mayfly   Leave a comment

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We had a welcome visitor on our door.  I love mayflies — please read this blog post.  This one was tired enough to let me take a lot of photographs.  Take a look at this photo, and let me know if you notice anything missing:

 

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Did you notice that there are no mouthparts?  Many species of mayflies do not eat in the adult stage, and so don’t need mouthparts.  They have one order of business: reproducing.  That’s why their (adult) lifespans are proverbially short — the order is called Ephemeroptera for a reason.

Good luck, buddy!

Posted 2016-06-14 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20160612 King Phillip’s Rock   Leave a comment

I hadn’t been to King Phillip’s Rock in a long time.  It’s the best place I’ve found for insects, for whatever reason.

Here’s a gorgeous wasp:

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I love scorpionflies for their alien appearance:

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I think this is a bee-like tachinid fly:

 

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A beautiful Derbid planthopper:

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I like the light in this photo:

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Caterpillar:

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Theridiidae?

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There was a stag beetle I was trying to photograph, but it escaped.  As it escaped, it led to a congregation of dozens (maybe hundreds) of click beetles (Elateridae).  I think this was mating behavior, don’t know what else it could be.

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This is either a robber fly (Laphria) or a golden-backed snipe fly, with its Elateridae prey.

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There was a major infestation of moth caterpillars, perhaps gypsy moths.

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Nothing improves my mood like a walk in the woods.

Posted 2016-06-12 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized

20160423 Moose Hill   Leave a comment

Late spring means, among other things, lots of salamanders. Almost every time I picked up a rock, there was an Eastern red-backed salamander beneath it.

 

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Salamanders are not all you see under logs and rocks.  There were lots of sowbugs — but I didn’t get to see any sowbug-killers, spiders belonging to Dysderidae.

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This spider (Linyphiidae?) was hanging around doing some yoga:

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Note sure yet which version I like better.

 

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Backlit leaves are always nice.

Posted 2016-04-25 by gaurav1729 in Uncategorized