For those who want to improve their photography skills…and that includes those of you who use compact cameras….learn to use your Exposure Compensation Dial. Get out your camera manual to find out which dial it is and then watch this excellent video tutorial explaining how to use it to get better photos.
In my quest to find out which native plants are host plants for butterflies, I found out one of them is Desert Mistletoe. When I saw a photo of the butterfly that uses it for a host, I realized I photographed one of them last year without realizing what it was!
Great Purple Hairstreak
I brought up the image; looked closer at the branch he was sitting on and darned if there weren’t sprigs of Desert Mistletoe. Pretty cool 🙂 Here’s a closer shot of the Desert Mistletoe sprigs. It’s on a Foothill Palo Verde.
This was my first sighting of an American Snout. Check out that schnoz! No luck on getting a shot with open wings but now that I know what to look for, I’ll be ready.
American Snout Boyce Thompson Arboretum
This will give you an idea of how small they are. That’s decomposed granite and tiny olives.
Cylindropuntia leptocaulis, also known as Christmas Cholla, is blooming right now. The pale yellow flower is less than one inch wide so put your compact camera in macro (flower) mode or take a macro lens with you.
I shot the following yesterday afternoon.
You can see Dodder along roadsides and in areas of disturbed soil. After a hike yesterday, I noticed quite a bit of it along the road and saw that it was in bloom. Don’t let the beautiful blooms fool you, though. It’s a parasitic vine that typically kills what it takes over 🙁
Here’s what the vine looks like:
With wonderful cool temperatures (just upper 70s yesterday), I talked a friend into climbing up to Tom’s Thumb so I could check on an Arizona Queen of the Night and also see what else might be blooming this time of year. There turned out to be a great show! The most showy were the 4 O’clocks. Scarlett Four O’clock, Desert Four O’clock, Desert Wishbone and Trailing Windmills.
Click here for a slideshow of photos from yesterday.
(some browsers might now show the thumbnails page properly)
I joined the CAZBA last year in an effort to learn about the butterflies I see in my area. I especially wanted to learn what their host plants were so I could plant them in my yard. I was very happy to find out I already had many! As it turns out, though, the the main thing I’ve learned is how many butterflies are so small that most people (including me) have never given them a second glance! Not that I haven’t seen them flitting around but I just assumed they were tiny moths.
One such butterfly is the Dainty Sulpher Even with its wings spread, it only measures 3/4 to 1 inch wide! Here’s what my 300mm lens picked up. (Next time I’ll try it with 1.4X teleconverter).
Here’s a 100% crop
Besides the wind and bright sun, the Butterflies seem confused as to what time to come out this year. The consensus is that an unusually wet and very cool Spring has delayed things. Whatever the reason, we didn’t see very many butterflies at Boyce Thompson Arboretum this morning. Their wildflowers, on the other hand, were spectacular. (mostly non native)
Red Poppy (again with Topaz filters).
I’m going to Boyce Thompson Arboretum for a butterfly walk tomorrow morning and I’m hoping to capture a shot or two of Pipevine Swallowtails like this one I got in the same place back in May of 2004. I remember this image vividly because it was one of the first shots taken with my new Canon 1D MKII. It was overcast and raining off and on that day which resulted in the soft lighting.
Pipevine Swallowtail with Topaz Simplify applied
Did this guy stay in the sun too long and turn into rock?
I did not see him first but will definitely add him to my Frankenstone and Friends 🙂
I shot this image about 3 weeks ago with high hopes of documenting the owlets before they fledged. But…time got away from me so it was not to be. Besides being busy with my flora guide sequel (almost finished!), my camera has been in for service. I finally got it back late yesterday and hurried to the location this morning but the nest was empty. Oh well. I’m thrilled to have this photo since it shows mom and all 3 babies.
Great Horned Owl with 3 Owlets