Tuesday, September 29, 2009

You can't keep a good photographer down

The first thing I had to do after the fire was get my medical stuff in order which still remains to be done.   The first thing I wanted to do came next.. after moving to Portland right after a doctors apointment my wife and I went for a walk to a park I spent many of my teen years in.   It was a trip back in time to good memories as well as proof to me how much better life will be now that we have a public transit system and so many places I can go to take pictures.   Saddly, the first documentery I made on video when I was 15 did not survive the fire..however (I tell people now to DIGITIZE EVERYTHING).. I was able to walk back through memory lane and find many of the old places I have captured some of my best spiders and spider shots.   Right next to a max staition there is still a forested area and hopefully wont' get developed any time soon since it's the only place I've ever found the triangle spider.   That will have to come later..since I did not get a chance to go there yet..but it is only a light rail trip away and that means I can nearly go anytime I want.
Araneus diadematus (The Garden spider, Cross Spider)
Probubly the most commonly noticed spider in this area.  Development has pushed most compeditive species such as Argeope away.   However I hope to find some in isolated pockets.. I know a few places.  For now however..I was astonished at the number of large and harmless garden spiders that were out here.   About 2 or 3 per 10 square feet is my guess in the park.   They are all large this time of year as they only live one season.   This female may well be ready to lay eggs and was photographed right on the same sidewalk I used to walk to high school every day on.   

 Another one.. and this is not white ballence.  There are actually varriations in color just like you get with human beings.   Spiders have races and genetically pass there traits on.   In large populations like this it is easy to spot some that are slightly different colored then others and have some other different charicteristics.  This is no different then races of people.  A note on racisum here. Race is nothing but a tiny genetic difference.  I have no tollerence for racist people and don't understand racisum at all.   I strive to be colorblind when it comes to humans.   When it comes to spiders however I am interested in how these variations spread and what causes them.

As you can see I have near full control of my shutter and apterature with the Fuji S1500.   I am restricted in that I can't use high aperature numbers.. however getting arround that is not very hard.   If I had my pro-cams I'd be able to take this shot showing both the background and forgound in near perfect focus.  Most compact cameras are limited to F8.  Why I don't know.

Merlo Station High school.  I went there for the 9th grade when the school first opened.  I was among the very first students.  It's a converted Techtronics bulding.  I had a good time there.. allthough I can't say I enjoyed school.  I did not have a very easy time being a teen.   After being moved from one school to the next and one naighborhood to the next every year of my life it became hard for me to learn how to blend in and make friends.  I went to the Science and Technology program wich was the frist of it's kind allowing us access to computers (before the internet was what we know it to be now) to do most of our work on.   It's a good school and for the most part I liked most of my teachers even if I sometimes did not let them know that.  Being a teen is not easy.

 From there my wife and I walked down into the park access way through Beaverton school headcorters.   The park is really awesome and offers allot of really cool shots.   This was a nice day and I was able to walk through it dispite the pain I am in just because I am so glad I can finally be in the park again.  It is such an incredible feeling not to be stuck in The Dalles like we were.  That really was difficult.   Honestly.. even though I lost everything in the fire..we would have had to move somehow and I don't see how with our income.  Don't get me wrong, I would do nearly anything to go back and stop that fire.. but moving to Portland has been a Godsent for us.
My wife enjoyed seeing some of the park and stuff allthough she was more into her book most of the time.  She was determened to finish a book in two days.  I'm not sure if she shares my love for nature and the outdoors.. but she puts up with me taking hours to setup shots and stuff so that's just fine for me.

Besides spiders.. I could not help but notice the fungus and mushrooms growing in the park.  It was amazing.  This is a shot striaght up a large tree that had come down probubly in a storm.  You can see silk on the left hand side of the picture where a large wood louse spider has made it's home.

 Fungus does not last long.. but when you catch it you can get quite the picture. The right lighting and the right control of your camera and you can get a good shot with nearly any camera that has manual functions.

 More of the mushrooms and fungus..  I dont' know what type this is but most kinds are dangerous and should not be touched.  Also.. you should never destroy these things because for us photographers they make for great subjects!  Not to mention many spores are very harmful and stomping on mushrooms for whatever reason can be dangerous.  Some forms if inhaled are even deadly.
 Another shot from a different angle.. click on any of these pictures for a larger view and use your browesers back arrow to get back to my site.

 More of this kind of fungs/mushroom.  It was nearly as large as a dinner plate in some places.

 Mushrooms come and go very quickly.  They make for interesting shots.

Cyclosa conica or Cyclosa sp.
 I was watching this show on TV called "Hoarders" about people who keep there garbdige and junk until there houses are filled.   Well.. this is your spider equivilent.   This species of spider however does it to survive.  Keeping junk it finds in it's web, garbidge insect parts from kills, and even it's own skin sheddings which are often mystaken for dead spiders in a row with a zigzag pattern.   This spider is also harmless and very small so often not noticed.

A low light shot I tried to enhance.   If I recall male and female Cyclosa have totally differnt abdominal colorations.  This is called sexual dimorphiszum.

This was a shot of opertunity.. this spider no bigger then a letter in a news paper article was hanging and I just happened to get it into focus in the right light as it hung down from it's web after I startled it.   Spiders have different escape proceedures depending on where they live.

 A classic Cyclosa and spider situation.  That is actually the former skin of the garbidge collecting Cyclosa.  The reason why they keep such things in there webs is to confuse preditors.  The zigzag patterns lined with remains of old kills and other items make it difficult to tell where the actual spider is.
 This was a difficult shot to get but I happened to get it.. this one is pale..possibly because it's a jovenile.  I'm not sure.

Another shot of a femaile A. diadematus, this one most certainly full and ready to lay eggs soon.  This is spider season and the population is very large.   They were everywhere!
Yet another sunlit shot of the same species.. this female has yet to eat enough or has yet to mate so that she can lay eggs.
And here we have a money spider.. or dome spider.  Family, Linyphiinae.  I have a picture which was on my wall of this species mateing.  A rare shot.  Now that I live so close to so many habitats and they are in range of the public transit system..who knows what I will find in comming months and next summer.  Some spiders do live through the winter here.   We are doing better and dispite limited equpment my photography will continuue.

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