Something to smile about…

I woke up at 2:30 this morning and unable to go back to sleep I got up and went to the kitchen for a drink of water.  Standing there I notice this strange sound in the center of the kitchen.  I have been hearing it for the past three days, and once again wonder what it is and where exactly it is coming from.  Suddenly it hits me… its running water!  Dropping to the floor I put my ear to the wood and sure enough it is definitely running water.

Quickly I grab a flashlight and run out to the meter to turn off the water to the house.  I go to the crawl space, pull open the door, and look inside to  find that the soil under the house is wet and sweaty looking.  The smell emanating from under there is nothing short of awful, and I now realize that I had smelled it coming through the vents last week.  I had passed it off as mouse bait at the time.  Not so!

Now I really can’t sleep.

I wait for dawn and  for Bob to get up so I can tell him the bad news.  After Bob goes to work I wait some more for the plumber to open up so I can call for them to come fix it, and I tell myself,  “We can’t afford this right now.”  But then who can these days?

When I finally reach the plumber they promise to send someone right out to take care of it. (yeah right!)

So while I wait some more I go out into the garden to try to cheer myself up, and as always, I take my camera.

I was surprised to find these caterpillars on my parsley that I’d let go to seed!  Aren’t they beautiful?

And although the coneflowers were ravaged by Japanese beetles this year it did not affect the all important source of nectar, and the bees of all kinds and butterflies too were glad for a sip in this heat.  Oh, and do you see the little crab spider?

This little lady could not sit still, so you will not get to see her true lavender beauty, but I promise you it is there.  Don’t you love her bar striped antennae?  Can you spy the little black ant?

This fellow, as I imagine him to be, had the most intense coloration.   Simple yet intense.  Slate gray with hints of turquoise and rose, an orange mantle, and every other bit of him jet black.  Moths that spend their time out in the daylight are few and this one never left the oregano blossoms.

This little bee is a living jewel of emerald green.  There were several in the herb bed this morning!

It needs to be said that I have owned several Buddleia  bushes in my time and never liked them.  They just never lived up to their name of “Butterfly Bush.”  I loved the smell, but saw nary a  butterfly… till I planted one here in the country that is!

This beauty spends half the day here.  Sipping nectar in great draughts it seems unbothered by its close proximity to me on the front porch.  Apparently, being beautiful as we flutter along on a summer day is hot work!

And finally, I have no idea if this a wasp or bee, but it certainly proves that God has a sense of humor!

She comes with a Smiley Face indelibly imprinted upon  her back!

Well, I certainly hope you’re having a ‘Nice Day!’  Mine is now looking pretty good!

Working in Macro: Trying to master a new skill.

After seeing the work of Rick Lieder on Andrew Tyzack’s site:  Bees in Art, I have been fascinated with perfecting my technical skill with my camera and also in capturing the subject to best effect.  The following photos are some taken around the Farmlet yesterday. The first three are a Carpenter Bee on Lavender, the fourth is pumpkin blossoms.

1)  Shot looks a bit fuzzy to me.

2) Seems a bit more focused, but…

3) Is same shot as 2 with some brightness reduction, increased contrast, which seemed to allow a closer sharper view.  To much?

4) These are pumpkin blossoms after the rain.  It is about 7:00 AM with overcast conditions and flash.

I hope you will leave some comments and suggestions (technical if you can) to help me with my quest towards the perfect shot of my subjects.


Shot 1

Shot 2

Shot 3:  Its number 2with sharpness and contrast work.

Shot 4:  Pumpkin Blossoms