Photo of the Week – April 15, 2016

Back in July, I got to photograph flowers and insects at The Nature Conservancy’s Bluestem Prairie in Minnesota.  One of the subjects I enjoyed photographing was a little yellow-flowered plant in the genus Lysimachia.  I don’t know the name of the species (I’m sure someone will tell me what it is, which would be fantastic).

I played around with the background in my Lysimachia photos.  I moved the camera slightly up and down, changing what was visible behind the flowers.  The problem with doing that, of course, is that I had to later decide which version of the photo I liked better.  Or, as I sometimes do, I get lazy and just put multiple versions in a blog post to see if you have a preference.

Lysimachia sp. at The Nature Conservancy's Bluestem Prairie. Version one (a little lower perspective to show a little sky in the background).

Version 1. (a little lower perspective to show a little sky in the background).

Version 2.

Version 2.  (the camera was a little higher so the sky is not visible.)

If you have strong feelings, let me know if you like one or the other better, but don’t feel obligated to encourage my laziness.

And, just for fun, here’s a completely different composition of a different plant of the same species (from the same morning).  I actually like this composition less well, partly from an artistic standpoint, and partly because I just think the two earlier images better represent the way the flowers tend to delicately droop on either side of the plant.

Version 3.

Version 3. (Different plant, same morning)

Someone I know, not-to-be-named, likes the last composition much better than the first two.  That person is wrong, but to be fair to them, I’m including the composition in the post.  I’m sure all of you will agree it’s nice, but not as good as the first two…


Photo of the Week – March 4, 2016

Last summer in Minnesota, I saw my all-time favorite insect for only the third time ever.  The camouflaged looper is a tiny inchworm that disguises itself with bits of the flower it is feeding on.  It is a fairly widespread species, and probably pretty common, but it’s rarely seen because it’s so well camouflaged.  I’ve written in more detail about this species in a previous post if you’re interested.

While I was excited to see the inchworm, I have to admit I was also a little disappointed.  In the inchworm.  I mean, really.  This species is usually so well camouflaged that it blends almost perfectly with the flower it is feeding on.  This one stood out like a sore thumb.

The camourfl

A camouflaged looper on a purple coneflower at The Nature Conservancy’s Bluestem Prairie in western Minnesota.  The head is at the top left…  You can see bits of (I think) two different flowers stuck to its back in this picture.

I’m going to give my favorite insect the benefit of the doubt and assume it was in the middle of a costume change when I saw it.  It looked like it had just started to pick up pieces of the purple coneflower it was feeding on, and still had some pieces of some other flower stuck to its back.  I’m sure it was in the process of shedding those other flower pieces and replacing them with coneflower parts.  But still – it was pretty glaringly obvious as a light-colored critter sitting on top of a dark-colored flower head.  It was awfully lucky I was just a nerdy photographer and not a hungry bird