Monday, August 28, 2006


This was where I stared my trip, from Union Station. I got on the right train at the right time. I was able to capture new images with some special access granted by the crew. This was my best sequence of rail shots ever possible. Given access to clear windows or open windows--I was able to bring you many of the following images without the usual serious glare and other problems.

ALL these shots were done with my digital SLR in MANUAL modes and they were done, with NO time in the "Digital Darkroom" (Photoshop or other Photo edit programs). Not that I don't like to, or look down upon using it often--or how much of an enhancement to your pictures it can be. So do not take that wrong--it is great and most Photographers myself included could not get by well without these programs. Requirements for people shots, art, or many touch-up reasons are all legitimate to use Photoshop or a similar program for and makes you no less a photographer. I just like the manual way--and some people have been impressed by that. I think it all boils down to what I tell people--you should learn on a 1960s all mechanical all manual 35mm film SLR. The only thing that was electric is the light meter. I am just proud that I was quick enough on the controls and other things to get these shots as they are with only my name stamped on them. A note here--you can ask any Photographer and you will probably find out that "full-auto" is a mode only used in a very quickly needed shot with no time to set changes. There are so many variables--a computer simply cannot think well of the arts of lighting and colors needed to make it as pleasing. Even shooting modes are more complex to me then manual. A great deal of in camera on site settings can take away hours on the computer after shooting full-auto shots are overexposed or under or otherwise a mess.. I guess it's a preferred technique. RAW changed everything for the good in my opinion, I now shoot all my pictures in RAW+JPEG mode. The JPEG files are under 200K each. That way I can have a "demo" file that is still good enough to show off and put on the internet very well but not fill my HDD with HUGE RAW flies. An indexed CD system makes it possible now to find each picture I want in my CD archives. Until I figured that out, the mess is just so large that finding some of these pictures may take too long to be worth it. I have a huge problem with files before I figured out this method. It is VERY IMPORTANT to get that down or you will fill your hard disk with tons of files and finding a certain one might be too hard to be worth it. Even if you buy another external HD every other month--you will end up with a mess. Indexed DVDs or CD-Rs are the way to go. (Update 2011--) I used to think this--until I had over 1000 DVDs and a house fire! Needless to say I lost everything on the DVDs and CDs but I was able to recover a large number of my external hard drives. It was incredible after being burned and soaked they survived. With hard drive space now cheaper then DVD space--I think because technology has moved so fast buying a new external HDD 1TB or so every so often is the best way to backup your pictures. Of course you should make backups of those somewhere, but in terms of trying to find a single picture--nothing beats a few USB HDDs. And as the technology changes, you can simply copy those drives into whatever new media comes along. Hard drives have become my medium of choice for keeping and backing up my photos since 2009.

A house if I recall probably some where near Klamath Falls. Historical stuff is everywhere from junk to neat old houses. Don't worry--I'm not planning to do a boring show here.

A trucker, I bet he has no idea that his reflection out here in the desert of real water and mirages could ever make such an image.

I think I took this one on the Gray Hound bus. To depart from Union Station in Portland, I must take the bus to Portland from here in The Dalles where I spend most of my time.

This was not our locomotive, but it definitely has a personality of it's own.

A more modern caboose. I saw quite a few of them. Some of them older and not, this time I could only keep up with the train to a certain degree and so only a few of the shots turned out ok.

Here is one of my cool views--in the back with the crew I shot right out the back of the train.
Sometimes you can do it without asking and sometimes you can't even get back there or when you do the glass is so bad it's useless to try. This was an incredible opportunity.

We went through several mountain ranges. I THINK this is Mount Shasta but I cannot be certain. With my special access and abilities on this trip--I was able to shoot about 100 shots of this and other passing mountains in Southern Oregon or there about (I think). More Mountain shots are below.

A real old train car. This could be older then the 1940s or only as new as the 1960s.
I tend to think it is pretty old. It was parked just along side of the tracks in a backed up place somewhat out of view. This was not a train display or some kind of collection. Because rail cars are so difficult to get off the tracks---sometimes they just leave them in old dead end tracks like this. I have seen a few old Pullman cars like this in other secluded places.

A better picture of the Covered bridge. It is either the largest, or the only covered bridge in Oregon. Or both--I forget.

Old junk is everywhere out there in the desert, I have more shots like this but I got 1000s of pictures to go through to find them. I took these shots a long time ago--and all these pictures is an example of the huge backlog I have of pictures to post and work on. I love to take those pictures and see they did well---but taking all the time and effort to put them on my website is takes allot of time. I also fear people will miss some of my pictures, but as I say-this is not an "all bug" site at all. And recently I have wanted to show the other kinds of pictures I take but often don't post.

I would have a great time if we could have stopped. There is so much interesting old stuff out there that you don't see every day or get a chance to go to in local towns. If you can find a crew member nice enough--they may open the window downstairs for you to catch pictures like this. I got lucky on this one trip. As you have probably seen from more recent train shots--glare and heavy glass problems cause serious problems with pictures. I had very clean windows to shoot from in certain areas as well. I have been unable to have this kind of trip with awesome abilities since.

"All junk goes to Heaven"

The desert out there is littered with old cars, trucks, farm gear, broken down buildings and other interesting stuff. It is too heavy and too much to get to the land fills or recycling I guess because there is so many farms that have LOTS of it. I passed several junkyards as well.

"Home on the Range"

This Ranch was one of 100s you pass as you come up from California. The delays have caused people to get nearly into fights with the crew and a constant complaint by other people--for me--they give me a chance to take more pictures. Because I have had a wide range of picture abilities where normally it would be dark passing many of these sites if the train were on schedule. The delays due to other train traffic should be estimated at least 6hrs on EVERY trip.

Recently Amtrak has been talking about changing schedules to figure out how to fix this problem. My advice is--if you have to be anywhere in 24hours--ride with lots of space, lots of potential friends, and plenty of places to lay down take Amtrak. If you want to spend more time in security and other lines at the airport then you spend in the airplane you will be on time but you won't want to even bring your nail clippers even if your an old lady. Amtrak is an awesome adventure. Family or friends can track your delays now--so they don't ever spend hours at the train station waiting for you. or calling 1800USARAIL you can check the expected arrival time of any train as it happens. On the internet it is very easy. All kinds of wired stuff happens so it's great for photographers if you get lucky like I did on this trip.

If you need to be somewhere on time--fly or take the Bus. IF you want beautiful views or to meet people and plenty of room between you and anyone you don't want to sit next to or want to sleep--take Amtrak.

Click on this picture to find your old car.

"Just what the heck is this?"

Some kind of shack. You never know what's out there in the desert. Dad and I drive for miles and find stuff like this. Who built it and what it is for I Have no idea. Click on it to see some detail. Be sure to comeback to my site with your Internet browser arrow keys back to my site. < -- "Just what the heck is this?"

Some kind of shack. You never know what's out there in the desert. Dad and I drive for miles and find stuff like this. Who built it and what it is for I Have no idea. Click on it to see some detail. Be sure to comeback to my site with your Browser arrow keys back to my site. < -- These pictures are hot of the camera. With my digital SLR I was able to shoot far faster of course and this trip was one in more then 100. This is one of many mountain shots. They will get old if I keep posting them. I have at least 1000 pictures I want to post (publish) on this site from recent bugs to older shots like this that never made it. It is fun to take pictures but it takes a long time to post them. What a neat place this would be to go hikeing. My dad and I enjoy places like this and the high desert. Finally I have all the photographic power to do really awesome trips. When my dad has time again, I hope to bring some pictures of what is out there and what we see on these trips and long hikes which I surprizeingly and thankfully can still do dispite my physical illness. Not as well--but I still can. I am very glad that God would let me not only let me live but still be able to hike and explore as well. I am a very lucky man. I have only used words about my pain and how people think I'm fine and just making it up because I look so normal and strong most of the time publicly.

A new lens combo I built will soon bring better insect shots. It's a medium range macro system rather then the very close up that sometimes makes it difficult to photograph a medium sized moth or other larger insects.

"Clear Horizon"

Shots like this are normally not possible on Amtrak. If you go back you can find my newer shots and see the difference.

Another view, I was so lucky to get this access and chance on this one train trip. I did another similar one with those snow pictures if you go back to last winter under "all pictures". But views like this often require permission or finding a very rare very clean spot in the glass.

I'd like to hear what people want to see---opinions good or bad and of any kind are welcome. I want to know more about what people want and like because I am going to possibly start seriously selling pictures. I try to find stuff that is as new as I can get, and views that are "off the beaten path" like many of the shots on my site. I like to know more then my family and friends can really tell me. I could take a picture of a dead busted up bug and my family might well tell me it's more or less "good". That is what family is for. . So other then my friends and a bit of honesty from my family I want people to know that I have no bubble to be broken here. I want to know if people like the pictures I do--and which ones resonate the best to everyone. Tell me if you like any picture here. New stuff or all the 100s of others under “all pictures“
going back to over a year now. . Your comments and compliments have been very helpful and are always welcomed and appreciated..

I am creating a method to take pictures of insects which will make the bugs near my lights look better. I have been trying to find a way to take pictures of these insects in a more natural setting. I have a new idea on how to do this with the attracted bugs.

THERE ARE 100s MORE PICTURES TO SEE! MANY PEOPLE DON'T FIGURE THIS OUT. SEEING THE REST OF MY PICTURES HERE IS VERY SIMPLE, PLEASE READ HOW HERE! Go to "all pictures" at the top of my website and click on each month starting with last month. Go up month by month and scroll down to the bottom until the very first month and you will have seen my entire website. I can't put 100s and 100s of pictures on one page or it would take days for even a fast computer to load my website. So I had to break it up into months. There are tons of pictures NOT ABOUT BUGS as well as articles. PLEASE DONT MISS IT--you will be glad you did not!

More Flower Creations


This is a series of Photoshop edited files I created with a single picture I took of some flowers my mom gave me to attack bugs and pose them. They live in a small pot and are several varieties. When I was able to get it healthy--I took this one shot that became through my work in the "digital darkroom" to become new creations.

"Flower Egg"

My version of an artistic egg form. There are so many ways to do backgrounds that I have to think carefully of what is pleasing not only to myself but others. I test my parents and other people on what really stands out or is "my best" work.

Light changes, and a strange look happens. One thing I learn about learning Photoshop is to take notes. Sometimes I forget when I find a situation I have created but forgot the complex settings I used to make it!

"Side by Side"

I might want to re-name this one "X-Ray" as it seems to me now. The bright white and yellow flowers have been converted to a far different view and this was not a monochrome or B&W picture. When it comes to flower shots, my uncle is very good at it and lives with my Grandma who is an AVID gardener. He has an endless supply of subjects and flowers to work with. I have to try to get away with taking pictures in stores and near or sometimes even on other peoples lawn! I am registered as a Photographer here with The Dalles PD.

I still have a GREAT DEAL to learn about Photoshop. I was going to try to build the same constructions just like my uncle has been doing-really nice in Just Pictures, but I decided that copy-cat pictures are no good. Especially since our websites are linked and he is my Uncle and Mentor. So I am trying for the first time to concentrate more on the "digital Darkroom" (Photoshop) and am trying to find my own creations. I shoot far more bugs then flowers--and he has a great garden as well as local parks in Portland that are filled with birds and butterflies. I think I might ask to stay for a few days so that I can get a some wildlife shots in before the end of summer. Here in The Dalles there are parks but a taxi fee will be $15 bucks and they are way to up the hill to get to--no to mention "humanly sanitized". As I say, a "humanly sanitized park" or manicured lawns make me sick as they disrupt and pollute wildlife of all kinds. I'd rather see a yard full of weeds booming with life, green and so many other colors. I have ALLOT to learn about Photoshop. I am just a Novice but learn more after each process.

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Only a couple of months ago this storm passed over my house. It had lighting flying across the sky like nothing I have seen here before. This picture has been touched up slightly--but only so that there is not as much noise--the lighting is exactly the same as it was when incredibly I was able to capture a bolt of lighting in action with my DX--which is a compact camera so it is slower then a digital SLR and I would never think this would happen. My SLR was being recharged or something and I was out there video taping the lighting. I was going to use my video capture card to get pictures of the lighting from there--I still might--but this shot was incredible. It was all by chance and not by skill, as you can tell by the houses below--I had seen the first of a couple of flashes and began to move the camera over for the shot--giving just enough to catch the edge of this huge bolt which covered the sky. I was a bit afraid of the local electrical wires next to me--the lighting lit up the entire sky and it was one hell of a storm for out here. It is not very common to get a lighting shot this way. Usually a long exposure, sensor, or video or film motion picture cameras are used since even if a digital SLR it is very hard to know when to click. In any heavy storm you have a chance however--this was done with a compact camera--the fact that lighting comes in sheets and formations sometimes can tip you off to click your shutter button with your widest angle lens. I have been in storms where the lighting is constant. If I had not been to the Philippines and seen it for myself and then later I would not have believed it. A lighting storm so violent that you could read a news paper with it since there was literally constant lighting coming from the huge distant cloud. I mean constant. It was like 100s of mirrors hanging in the sun--or more like a constant fireworks. I watched the cloud from a taxi for only a short time, but over there these kinds of tropical storms are relatively common. Over there I hope to catch some far better shots just by the luck of my shutter finger.

This picture is from nearly the same angle--as you can see the mountains in the blurred background, this may give you an idea of how big this lighting was. This picture (BELOW)
shows the valley where all the clouds got lit up in this shot.

The "bully Bees" are still at it. Just today I got several more shots I have not processed yet. In RAW, you still have to convert the files into JPEG and stamp them with your signature and that's what "processing" .



With a bit of Photoshop experimentation I was able to do these creations. This took allot longer then you might think--no, I did not just click the "chrome" filter! This image took me about three hours to build because I wanted it to look a certain way.
--BE SURE TO CLICK ON THESE and use your BROWSER < -- control to go back to my site

This is an inverted copy that has had it's colors changed to the extreme from a B&W image.

"Black & Night"

A black and white picture of the flower that started it all.

"Night colors"

And finally, the flower that started it all. Photographed the just a couple of days ago. Here I have worked on it to get good color--but beware--working too hard on something like color can cause hours of painful needless work. Don' t ever forget the first shot that has not been touched, it is the closest thing to the real image. Over-filtering and changing images in Photoshop or any other Photo edit program can cause serious trouble if you try too hard to bring the color out or get it right. Don't get obsessed. Save one large Photoshop file and use it as a template for high-JEPG images. That way all four of these pictures are in the same file. This saves space. You can adjust what words and what layers will be present simply by clicking on the view button. When you turn a layer off it does not get put into a JPEG copy of the file. Also--just to be safe--make a backup every time you make something cool--it's never too early to start saving files. Hours of lost work or one moment of brilliance forgotten or lost is a real pain. Save and put on CD! Just experiment with filters even if you have no idea how to use the systems. If you save a copy of the file you are working with (say a RAW file or a JPEG) that is untouched with another name, you can work with the copy of the file with no fear of damaging or loosing your first image. Or back it up on CD. Then you are free to see what all the filters and commands can do. Don't be afraid to try anything and remember that THERE IS ALLWAYS AN UNDO. I think you can typically undo up to 30 times backwards. You can set the number higher if you want.

GIVE PHOTOSHOP MORE MEMORY if you are using Elements or the full version--it might help your computer and things to be faster if you give Photoshop more memory in the Control panel (if your version has that). It's default setting is very low. Less then 300k if I recall--give it more of your RAM. Every bit counts but remember you will have memory problems if you go above your RAM even with virtual memory if you are using it with other big programs. If you have 512MB or 1MB or more you can up it at least by to 200k. But if your system is more limited then leave it where it is set.

Wednesday, August 23, 2006

Orchid Nightlight

People may often think this site is just another "bug" website. No. It's not. I just have not published enough of my other stuff sometimes. If you look deeper you will find more under "all pictures"--all those shots that have nothing to do with bugs and the ones that do. This is a very recent construction I did in Photoshop in less then two hours. I carry a good camera every where I go. That can really pay off when you want to find things like this and countless other stuff to photograph. I never know what I will find when I go anywhere, subjects, lighting situations, and even things of journalistic interest come up all the time, even out here in The Dalles. The lighting changes here alone is a good reason to carry a camera to be ready to take pictures of the hills at the right time. You would probably never guess where I shot these orchids. And I did photograph them myself. (I don't use other people's art or work in mine like that unless I say so giving credit and getting permission) And I do not ever leave my house without at least one good camera for anything that might come up. This image in full-res is extremely high resolution and would be very crisp as a-full sized huge poster.

Saturday, August 19, 2006

A NEW LOOK the Praying Mantis 2

"Hi, I pray before AND after each meal"--this guy looks too much like an alien.

I have did extensive close-up views of the praying mantis last year. You can find them under "all pictures" if you look around a bit. I still have a number of pictures I never published here from then. After finding two of them on my deck I decided to get back to take some new shots of them with some bit of new ideas. I had thought of allot of new angles and possible shots. So I got started when I put this female in a large special jar. A warning here--taking a praying mantis into your house could get it killed very quickly. If it gets trapped somewhere you can't get too it--or flies into a fan--there are many things. NEVER put them or any other insect in USED COFFIE CANS THEY STILL CONTAIN TOXINS FOR BUGS AND WILL KILL many insects or spiders you put in them. I learned that lesson 20 years ago, so it may not be true anymore--but I just be safe and buy clear glass or plastic food jugs.

"Mantis baby picture"

The background here was NOT done in Photoshop (or any other photo-program). I like that. In my humble opinion, I think some people sometimes use a bit too much Photoshop or other photo-editors. You can shoot excellent pictures in-field if you try. Shooting RAW gives you a chance to somewhat do both. 95% of my pictures are un-touched and are straight from the camera. I am proud of getting a shot right from the camera. But don’t take that wrong, I have several photo-related graphic art projects I have done in Photoshop. I am also proud of them. Have some interest in the idea of changing, blending and morphing photos so doing making artistic creations (like that girl at the train station) in Photoshop with layers and filters and color lighting controls. I enjoy getting something right when I do this. As far as I recall I have noted every graphic I have done on this site. (That means like the above picture, I may use opical illusions, but this picture has not been edited with a computer and could have been taken completely with a 35mm slide film) The same is true for nearly all my natural history photos.

THE MAIN IDEA is if it is a complete true-life natural picture I want I try to get it in the moment so I don’t have to worry about doing much work on it later. I learn my cameras and usually do everything completely manually (even the flash and white balance) (and this does no require expensive in-camera editing). Most pictures are just stamped with my name and
downsized for the net so they can't be stolen very well and most of all they don't take a week to hour to load on your computer! Even if you have the quickest computer--it would take hours to load huge JPEGs and in TIFF weeks. If I try to post a large file by accident I know it right away because I come back to my computer a half hour later and blogger is still working on posting the file!

When I found this newly molted girl I figured she stood a serious chance of being killed by the backyard cat. So I took her carefully inside for some pictures. Some friends of mine actually showed me her first. Here you can see it's killer power and claws. These are of course NOT poisons, but will crush the life out of any insect they can catch. They will even take food if offered--BUT do not feed them human foods! As I will note later--be very careful when or if you ever do this or you might learn the hard way what can happen when a praying mantis or other insect gets loose in the house.

This was a real a medium high iso shot of it on a small box on my lap. You can probably tell from the phone in the background kind of how large she is.

There are going to be some underexposed shots coming up here. As I said I usually shoot straight from the camera. I suppose I could go back and pull the CD with the right serial number for these pictures buried in my archives or hope it’s on one of my five hard disks. But instead I figured after trying one, they actually give content to the image. I think that these underexposed pictures are not so bad after all. I don’t know what this looks like, but to me it almost gives an impression of the secret world this creature. Having to hide in the shadows or in the brush waiting to pounce on it’s pray with a quick prayer. Of course they don’t really pray? But they look for it? If you want to buy a brighter one--e-mail me and we can make a deal for a CD. Some may look better brighter and some may not. Shot in RAW, I have allot of flexibility with these pictures.

She has been touched by a human, and she feels contaminated. I have seen more "emotions" in praying mantises then any other insect. From rage to fear to getting used to people--they do things that are usually only possible in vertebrate animals. They have a super high powered condensed brain. She needs to clean herself after being captured by me.

Most people have not got a good look or even know at all how much insects clean themselves. Yes they do, to what would be an obsessive degree in humans. They clean themselves just like your cat or dog does. Now you can see this as I continue to try to get people to understand insects and spiders are important parts of nature, works of art, and many things to teach us--we must change our view of them as we are the only ones smart enough to do so. (BELOW)

She continuues to clean herself--
Showing those spikes and knives that are so deceptive when looked at in another angle.

The tips of her formidable weapons cleaned for the kill

SPIDERS DO NOT SPREAD DISEASE -In fact I have never heard of a case of a spider carrying a disease. The main reason is for this is that spiders do not actively hunt or eat people. They only bite in self defense. Therefore they are not exposed to human and vertebrate infections. I might be wrong here---but to the best of my knowledge there is no spider bite that will actually cause a disease because of a "dirty spider". Spider incessantly clean themselves with a very powerful saliva which keeps them clean and from developing infections. And the acids and enzymes in there mouthparts do not pass diseases along because one spider hardly ever has the terror of biting one person and then the next with enough danger of a disease staying on its' fangs. When bugs clean themselves it is not different then watching your dog clean himself. None at all. The real “eeew thats gross!” is all in your head. Such crap belongs in B movies.

Each of her delicate antenna--

THERE IS NO DISEASE CARRYING SPIDER and the mantis keeps itself quite clean as well as you can see. ‘BUGS’ ARE NOT DISEASE RIDDEN! -In fact I have never heard of a case of a spider carrying a disease that effects humans. And most insects have far less harmful infections and the other kind of “bugs” then we do on our skin. Exterminators would hate me to say this--but bugs are usually surprisingly clean. Extreme exceptions exist of course, like flies and some cockroaches. Your average bug is not a septic mess at all. The main reason is for this is that spiders and other insects do not actively hunt or feed on people. They only bite in self defense. Therefore they are not exposed from human to human as happens in vectors like mosquitoes or animal to human and thus vertebrate diseases. I might be wrong here in very rare cases---but to the best of my knowledge there is no spider bite that will actually cause a direct disease.

But the worst kinds will cause a kind of horrible flesh-eating reaction (Brown Recluse)- that is caused by enzymes built to break down their pray for some odd reason have a very serious reaction to human tissue. Being bitten by a "dirty spider", NO. If it’s not on the top list of dangerous spiders your probably fine. There is allot of Hobo spider hubbub on the web, but I take it with a huge grain of salt. Don’t handle any spiders with your bare hands--but don’t panic and kill them because you think it looks like a brown recluse or hobo-spider. I have had such a hard time finding a brown recluse I have yet to photograph one. I have only seen one alive on my own in my whole life. However ANY BITE OR STING from anything can become infected. Whenever I get a bite I let it bleed if it does for a couple of minute, then I clean it with rubbing alcohol several times (or wipes). Spider incessantly clean themselves with a very powerful saliva which keeps them clean and from developing infections. And the acids and enzymes in there mouthparts do not pass diseases along because one spider hardly ever has the terror of biting one person and then the next with enough danger of a disease staying on its' fangs. When bugs clean themselves it is not different then watching your dog clean himself. None at all. The real “eeew that gross” is all in your head. Such crap belongs in B movies.

Down to the very tip!

Most people don’t' know this but even cockroaches have been known to clean themselves after touching humans. Unlike what exterminators want you to believe, bugs are normally incredibly clean. Using high powered natural disinfections to fight off everything from molds to injuries, they have to clean themselves several times a day. Often more. Many insects are compulsive at cleaning and when captured are found to be incredibly clean biologically. The idea that insects carry germs is often an urban MYTH. However, flies and flees, ticks and mosquitoes--to name a few deadly ones--have been responsible for horrible human tragedy. Flies do clean themselves, but they are still the dirty insects. Views of them at very high macro often shows molds and other things growing on there skin. If they were somehow capable of being larger--they would stink way worse then any pig or even an obsessive person!

Again all important deadly arms--she will do this every time I handle her.

--Flies still have powerful chemical aids to keep from getting sick while inside rotten meat or some other terrible place. This is so they don’t' get sick. Mosquito’s and flees carry disease through there blood hopping--very much like a hypodermic needle being used by multiple people, an infected mosquito then spreads it to other people. Mosquitoes have been estimated to have killed more people then all the wars in all of history. Are war with them continues with the West Nile outbreak. Malaria continues to ravage poor nations. My take on it is to use repellents, nets, and be careful to learn how to ware more long sleeved cloths when you can if you can stand it.

The other antania cleaned--

Take a look at this move! I managed to catch it, this is how she cleans her back legs. She won't stop, until everything is cleaned!

Down to the next back leg and those death clamp arms are used to lean the head as well as the her neck cleaned with a form of saliva similar to what dogs and cats do.

And finally she cleans and checks on everything with her feelers--

Now we got a clean Praying Mantis.

"Outside of the box"

Here she is on that box again. I must say again here that I have many years of experience handling insects. I brought her inside because I know the dangers and I know how to "read" insect. I can anticipate before they fly away and stop them---I know what signs to look for. There are many tricks you have to know in order to handle a praying mantis safely--both for you and the mantis. If you just grab one you run the risk of hurting it and you will get pinched and bit. I strongly recommend you let them on your way. This is no BS here, it has taken me many years to "read bugs" and know how they will respond. Watching them and photographing them since I was a kid and now far more actively. I usually know what she will probably do and even think several steps ahead. Very much like reading a dog or another animal. Training is not all that complex, and it would not take long for me to teach someone how to properly handle insects and spiders--it then becomes however a learning point. And the more experience with it, the better. The more bugs you catch the better you get at catching them. Knowing if the spider will drop out of it's web to escape or go up to it's hideout. I just picked most of this up over the years of being interested since I was a very young kid. My parents don't even know when I started getting into bugs, it's about as far back as I remember. Knowing how close to get to a praying mantis with your camera before it will fly away. Knowing how to use a net effectively to capture large amounts of specimens. Knowing how to put your subject in a pose that DOES NOT REQURE any kind of KILLING or even chilling. In these days of high-resolution digital cameras, I think the days of rickety discolored or broken up insect parts is over. We now have an inexpensive way to collect the insects we love without hurting them. That is really cool.

I am an amatur here when it comes to all this--but digital power holds new promase for -------------------------------------------conservation of species

It's time we put away those ugly colored jars and broken up bug collections and begin to do PASSIVE SURVAYS. Only capturing an insect to photograph it. How to setup a number of shots that will confirm it's species. Most can be fully described on surface in less then 8 good shots. In this instant and digital age--and with more and more of wildlife habitat being destroyed--we need to start to think of bug collections that are DIGITAL. My bug collection is now DIGITAL entirely. I made at least 3 GOOD insect collections in my life. All of them eaten by ants, broken in moving, or lost. The bottom line is no matter how much you try they fall apart and don't survey allot of value. I think that the idea of a digital bug collection
that requires no killing of the specimen and can be carried on a small chip that fits in your hand is the way to go into the future. I am proud to here more and more insect and spider photographers are NOT KILLING the subjects they photograph. It's time to put away the poison and jars and all the chemical junk and just take high-res shots that can be done with camera's costing less then $200 these days. Have you ever dropped a bug collection worth 100s of dollars? I have. So many things can go wrong with them I am surprised they have held on as long as they did at all. I think digital revolution and computers should put an end to useless killing of insects. Details are so fine now that you just can't get anything better that you will ever need, think about, or use in a regular collection. -Anyhow, that's how I feel.

When people ask me if I have a bug collection I tell them "it's on my computer" and part of it is on the Internet".

Here 5 eyes are visible. As wasps, bees and most other insects have--the two main eyes see very well--but an extra 3 "simple eyes" are probably there for orientation. By knowing where the sun is and other light positions, these eyes can warn of an impending shadow of doom or survey as a guide from the sun. These eyes are not much more then motion and light detectors--but they are highly developed here so they are probably needed. There are still many mysteries about insects which have not been solved. This topic is one I need to look up.

I know her from her slight actions and posture and thus can usually forecast both how she feels and if she is planning something (like flying away). The same is true with bees, wasps, and spiders. I can move an orb weaver to any part of the web I want--send her to her hideout for some good shots--bring her back out--and back again. I did a demonstration of this and everybody thought it was awesome. No magic, and no I am not talking supernatural stuff. I just know how they react to certain things by touching the web in the right way. Temperament experience is necessary here. I still have allot of learning to do with many more species. This is a case of it looks very easy but without the right knowledge it could end in disaster for the praying mantis. If you keep one as a pet--read stuff about them and treat them with very delicate hands. There are books on line that I have seen and some petstores sell them as pets. How to "read insects" and spiders is something I picked up after years of experience. It is like reading any other animal, like reptiles, dogs or dangerous fish. It takes a great deal of time to get to know how to handle dangerous insects and most of all know how to handle insects without hurting THEM. They praying mantis is NOT DANGEROUS. Humans unknowingly harm many kinds of insects simply because they are fragile and we are so large. Keep that in mind.

"I can see you, what do you want, what do you want?! what do you WANT!"


With most insects however, we are far more dangerous to them then they are to us. We simply don't know our own strength and just a small squeeze can break there limbs or cause bleeding and harm them in internal other ways. Insects and spiders are very fragile creatures to us-bite and sting is a very last resort.--you have to be extremely gentle with them. NEVER use tweezers on a living insect--they almost always break and cut off legs or even cause internal injuries that will kill the insect you are trying to catch. Just a slight squeeze is all that is needed to break off a leg or a wing or crush the body of an insect. When picking up an insect you should just be sure that it can handle it. Be very very gentle, and watch it's responce. The praying mantis will at first try to do nothing but fly away (after it's adult molt stage). Getting experence about this stuff can be helpful but if there is only one way to get it then start gentle and read as much as you can. There are books on keeping a praying mantis as a pet, or a cricket, or other species. The basics are not to harshly react if they bite or attack you--that quick reaction could kill the insect if your not ready. Then when picking them up only hold them by there body--never by one leg or a number of legs. Hold only tight enough to hardly keep it between two fingers--very gently. Get a feel for that. After a while a praying mantis will begin to trust you. They are smart and are capable of realizeing that people are not a threat (more or less).

There are just allot of things you have to be taught by mentors and or hard-experience over the years because you had to learn a lesson the hard and painful way if you did what I mostly did. If I had not got some mentor help--I would not be able to do allot of the stuff I can do with spiders and insects now. Yah, that dreaded feeling of guilt is difficult when I hurt or kill an insect by accident. It still happens. I just never gave up and persisted my interest until I found out series knowledge about how to hanldle both dangerous and fragile species. I am not good enough a writer to put together a book on handling insects--but there are lots of good books out there---if you want to know how not to hurt insect and spider pets--there may be some books available. Knowing an animal well is to put yourself in the mind and idea of being that small of a subject.
E-mail me from this site if you want any tips--I don't mind and enjoy hearing from other people interested in Photography, insects and spiders. Don't forget a got alot of pictures to post--but recently I have been into the bugs for summer.

Different positions of a flash can bring out different colors and different angles of view.

Let them do the walking and learn there expressions. Don't fear but RESPECT there space. People often think it's just an phony ego trip to say "I have years of experience, don't try this at home"-- Like in those popular reptile hunter TV shows. They very rarely get bit if ever because they know what they are doing. People see those shows, often drink a few beers (or not) and go "there's nothing to that--I can catch two snakes--take my picture.." Not listening to that notice and fact that experience and training is very required when it comes to dangerous animals of any kind. And it's no ego trip to say "don't try this at home". As I often see on the Discovery Health channel, with rattle snakes--that advice is not respected and it often ends with a dead snake and a very sick and humbled victim with endless medical bills and a new opinion about respecting wildlife and the people in the know. Those kinds of notices have a serious point. Handleing taratuals in the wild for example is something not even I would do without a bit of reserch to brush up on it and some special gear. You must allways remember it's not just yourself it's the animal you are catching. You have to make sure neither of them get hurt. I prefur photography because so often I can take pictures without having to interfere in any way with the subjects I photograph.

Another lighting angle. This is another praying mantis, I found two on my pourch. A friend found one of them and I found the other. I was able to take this picture with a digital wildlife lens from about 6 to 8 feet away. (300mm equiv. 35mm).

"Night stalk"

This picture was not shot in Sepia. It is just a very low light shot. A praying mantis can get lost behind a dryer or oven. You probably don't want that nightmare. Be careful about any choices you make with insects or any other wild animal. I had to get bit my a chipmunk before I learned not to grab them. And by a rattle snake before learning it's just not a very good idea to have one as a pet, especially if captured from wild. So taking all the blows and bites I have -I have been very LUCKY. Most insects and spiders are not dangerous but can quickly be hurt by handling. Holding a butterfly or moth will literally remove it's scales like feathers off a bird. They do not grow back, and the butterfly or moth will soon be unable to fly and die. There are many things to get to know about insects and spiders as well as just handling them for pictures or fun--if you have any questions--e-mail me and I will get back to you when I can. I don't mind because I want to show people the facts about insects and spiders so that we need not fear them, we can and should just learn to understand and respect them.