Saturday, September 02, 2006



This is a high-res shot I got really lucky with. The right lens at the right time. I don't know what kind of butterfly this was, but I got in a good 10 shots before it flew away.

And this, this is why I love backyard natural history so much, I see it, it could fly away--got to get settings ready and click-click. It's a rush for me. I happened upon this beetle which I have no idea what it's real name is- and I have never seen it before. As I have seen with the giant beetles I call the "X-bugs", some species are uncommon, isolated in patches or seasonal every few years. This new beetle I call the Yellow striped beetle. I have spent many hours near this sunflower plant and only seen this one. As you might figure, I doubt it's colored yellow just because it is. There might be a serious link between the beetle and the Sunflower. I plan to do some work on some other pictures of this one to make it look much better--but I wanted to show you now. This is what I love about insect photography!

New life. A leaf grows from what people call a "weed". To me, it looks like an alien life form and thanks to my digital SLR I am able to get the depth of field to show it too you. Nearly all compact cameras only go to F8--actually ok for most bugs but not for long leaves like this one.

The summer is beginning to fade away. As this sunflower droops it's head in a final goodbye. I saw my first Christmas associated commercial a couple of days ago on TV. Come on--it's only firkin' August!

New Life 2. This is my grapevine, tender leaves grow out in hook-like formations. With no vision, they can cover a small tree as if a sheet had been thrown over it.

Another view of the Yellow striped beetle. It is a relative of the long-horns. That's all I can tell you since I took this picture today.

Some of my neighbors have an awesome back yard. I have one to thank for planting those big mini-sunflower plants and then letting me shoot there. This neat little summer hide-out with mini-sunflowers on the side of it contrast from real-sunlight hitting the flowers if I recall correctly. This image is sure not a paste-in or been changed at all with Photoshop. I like finding shots that work straight off the camera in manual mode. The patio-thing in the background is actually pretty awesome, the hideout has a hammock line and a great view. In construction it reminds me of my trips to Indonesia.

An old barn in Oregon. Out on Highway 30, the old road--you can see some incredible things from up here. And lots of old barns, buildings, and interesting stuff is out here too.

I grabbed this shot with a calculated combination of flash brightness and sun brightness. Even some compact cameras have serious control over your flash output. If you have one you can set manually that goes on your digital SLR you got it. If your digital SLR has one built in--then you should have a serious control of your flash. When balanced right it can become hard to tell if it's a ray of sun or flash.

A tiny fruit fly, apparently sucking up juices from this plant. This fly is about 2mm long.
For those who might be ambitious, I will tell you that you can build your own system like I did and take pictures like these. But don't ask me how--trade secret and a bit complex. I bought books and junk optics, and during my recovery from the very painful digestive system illness Pancreaitius-- for the first 6 months I did almost nothing but lay on my couch when ever I was not in too much pain and take pictures. Experimenting with 35mm film optics. I could not lift more then 25 pounds in the first few months and often it was very painful to sleep laying down. Being used to sitting up made me able to do experiments with my large desk and good lighting.

When I got well enough to take care of myself, I started processing my own film. I hate to see film go. I like the advantages of digital but still wish my picture was preserved on some kind of medium that I knew could be accessed simply in the future and can last. A negative. I am afraid of what will happen to all the digital images of our era. I fear the future will have a huge blackout of pictures after about the year 2004 when everyone started going digital. Upgrades and changes in formats, companies and most of all technology can cause huge problems for digital pictures or information stored in computerized media. If you left a 35mm negative in your attic for 50 years, as long as it was kept in a reasonably safe place you can have it re-printed anywhere in nearly any time with simple gear and chemicals which will almost certainly always be around. If you leave a CD, DVD or other memory device up there--in 50 years it is highly unlikely that you will be able to use any current technology to access it in any way. It may either cost a fortune, or even may be impossible to access due to unforeseen changes in technology and the fact that current technology does not last very well. This is my biggest fear for digital pictures. Up to 90% of them may be lost forever because they are not backed up automatically in hard copy as film always faithfully did. My choice to turn to digital has always been with serious regret for this reason. Just 25 years is too long--remember those old 360kb floppy disks that were nearly a foot long? If your as old as I am or older you do--and you probably also know that it's nearly impossible to find a computer that can access them today. The 8 track? Outdated systems and software used in images may cause many pictures to be lost forever as people often don't think of how important those negatives really are and most prints made today are poor quality so will only last a few years due to light damage and cheap paper. For me it's the price and the fact that the chemicals go bad so quickly which has me not taking as many film shots as I'd like. I still however shoot some film and plan to setup a new B&W dark room soon.

Seriously, I usually always show you life in these pictures. But the other day while driving with my mom less then two miles from my house and no more then a stones throw to the Columbia river I had to stop and take some pictures of this. Near the rail road junctions from here. 100s of huge oil drums. Marked only by color--with no warnings. Through my scope I saw no labels and no other info. What is this crap? I want to know--but I doubt anybody would tell me and if I did know I'd probably wish I'd have not asked. On a lighter note--my best guess is that these are empty diesel drums for trains. I normally do not talk politics on here--but I don't like this. We need to kick our suicidal fossil fuel habit, and LEAVE the mid-east to itself. The sad and terrible war in Iraq is a classic war that won't end for years unless we stop it. I see another massive influx of disabled and shell-shocked troops coming home with little or no help. I SUPPORT THE TROOPS. NOT THE WAR or the Bush administration. I am patriotic only to a point. If I were called to go I would. But that does not mean I must agree with the way things are running. I have watched many documentaries that opened my eyes on the Internet, PBS and Netflix. If you get a chance, watch them before you make up your mind and DO NOT let the news media make up your mind for you!

I shot this from a car on the way to The Dalles. Clouds hang into the top of the ridges here. It's like a scene from the Lord of the Rings. I called this one "Just East of Middle Earth".

This very small moth is an example of how colors and shades change. To get a true perspective, you must fire at least one flash on a wire or manually from all four sides several times to see how the light works at angles. This shot as you can tell because it has no shadow was taken with a direct flash.

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