Tuesday, November 08, 2005


This picture was taken from the train on the way to San Jose to see my dad & step mom. I'm going to go again here soon. Although the train is moving and the windows are not always perfect, with a good eye you can take some ok pictures from a train. Even if you are a very experienced photographer, I'd recommend that you take a long train trip with
Amtrak the next time you travel. It beats the airport mess. No security lines and all
that crap, you usually get too large seats to yourself. it’s a bit cheaper then flying and MUCH better then the bus. There is no comparison to the bus. You always can move if
you don't like the person your sitting next too. The Cost Starlight to California and Seattle is a great scenic trip--you can get a small cabin room for more money. I don't fly anymore
unless I have too. The photo opportunities are sometimes really nice because the train
slows down and stops often. There is an observation car you can stay in the whole trip if you want. With a dome making photography easy. Shooting from a train is much easier then
a car. You would be surprised if you have not tried it.

I'm not sure exactly where this was, it could have been in Oregon but if I recall it's
more likely to be Northern California. I have a GPS but to mark every picture would be impossibly hard. The whole trip was a race between the train going 80miles an
hour and myself trying to catch a decent picture. Not easy- but you start to get
used to it--kind of like shooting clay pigeons, you have to line up with what's coming
and shoot as you pass. (Above)

There is one highlight of being in The Dalles, a network of old roads or allies big
enough for cars is interlaced with the true roads. These dirt roads are usually
not private and you can walk on them and take pictures. It is sometimes difficult
and you might get the cops called on you--when someone did that to me all I had to
do was show them I was photographing insects and not planning a robbery or
something. But if your going to take pictures you have to be bold sometimes.
There are tons of natural bushes and flowers that grow on the sides of these ally
ways with lots of photo opportunities. Just around my house walking down several
I found grapes growing naturally, and this huge beautiful tree(above) which I could not get
far enough away from so I had to use my wide angle lens to shoot it. I had to go as
wide as I could to even think of capturing this very tall tree. It is easy to get
pictures like this and usually I don't get any trouble--often people say high and
ask "are you getting some good pictures?" Even when I am shooting in or over there
yard. You got to be careful what you shoot however.

It has recently been raining here. After hunting insects un-successfully on a cool
afternoon I found this grass right in my own yard covered with great water.
These were difficult shots because it was getting late and these kind of pictures
cannot usually be done with a flash.

Tuesday, November 01, 2005

There are large trees near the bridges, I was on a very dangerous bridge on
a wet street and I was getting honked at for being so stupid, so I did not think
to put my wide angle lens on for this shot. I may go back in a couple of days
when I go to the store and get some more comprehensive tree shots. It is
really amazing here.

The trees in The Dalles here are Beutifull. I took this on a walk down town.
This strange flower had polen grains falling down. It's large and wont last long.
We are not far off at all from our first freeze.

And finally--I just happened to be-friend a flicker and put my macro lens on in time to
get a number of pictures of it.

I want to thank all the people who have e-mailed me recently. I like to here from people.
I'm sorry if it took a while to get back to you on stuff, I forget sometimes. If you have
written to me and did not get a responses please e-mail me again, I had a computer
crash and I cleaned out everything. I can't be sure even now what caused the
crash but it seems to be ok now. Please e-mail me again if you wanted a responses
or something and I did not send you one. More pictures soon. This is a great time
of year.


I need to get motivated, my great grandmother passed away
on the 25th. She went as gracefully as is possible in her sleep
at home. She was 95 years old. A small tumor which could
have been removed, but was overlooked--caused her death.
She was old but she might have lived well past 100 if she had
that tumor removed when it was detected. A reminder,
always get second opinions and even thirds from doctors
if you can--and ask all the questions. The tumor could have
been removed when It was small.

In The Dalles here it's not un-common to see bales of hay.
Horses often walk down the road surrounding this small
town. This was taken right in front of the local Safeway.
Just a few months ago they re-did it and we got our first
Starbucks Coffee place in here.

Below was a very difficult picture. It is a semi-microscopic
picture of a male aphid. Only the males have wings and
the females are born ready to give birth right out of the
backs-sides. Aphids have an amazing ability to reproduce
rapidly without sexual activity. Only when the colony
gets too large do males get born to advance the colony.
When a male lands in another colony with a few individuals--
it will mate with a few females and restart the process.
I'm not exactly clear on how and why they do this. I
need to brush up on my biology for the specifics. But
males are the only ones born with wings so that they
can change and enlarge other colonies with new genetic
material (I think). The process is a bit like bees, with drones
males but common aphids have no "queen" or head aphid.
I might be missing a detail here about aphid biology
so don't quote me on this one.

This male is less then 2mm long. This is one of the
smallest insects I've ever successfully photographed.
I used a combination of macro-lenses and light reflectors
to make it possible. I am very excited that I can shoot
this small. A small flea would be large and visible in this
picture about only slightly smaller then this aphid. I would
have photographed flees a long time ago, I don't
have any pets and don't really know where to get any.
I have not gotten the chance yet. It's gets cold here

(Male Aphid)

I got this bee picture in a new place I found for
flying insect photography. I don't know the name
of this plant but most all insects find much nectar
on these strange flowers--if that is what they are.

Fall in The Dalles, the trees are golden and the last flowers are in bloom now.
It's getting cold again.

This bee-fly was in the same spot as the bee I photographed. I got a number of good
shots of this one. I was thankful it let me photograph it. Bee-flies can be much more
afraid then bees--bees are ever-confident in there stingers.