Saturday, August 30, 2008

Camera Critter Meme #21

Last October, a friend of mine said to me, "I got this nice new camera, so why don't we go get some pictures and you can teach me how to use it?"

I said, "Ok...what do you want to shoot?"

"Well," came his reply, "I'd love to shoot eagles."

Knowing the perfect place, we hopped into the Cherokee and off we went to Crane Prairie Reservoir, about 40 miles south of Redmond, where I live.

Our first stop there was for my benefit and not that of my friend, but it turned out to be a bust, so off to eagle land we went. It wasn't far from where we were...actually, even with my poor eyesight, I could see a couple flying around. However, when we arrived, the birds had disappeared. But I knew they would be back. And back they came! So enjoy my multiple offerings for Camera Critter Meme #21.

Needless to say, my friend was ecstatic and so was I for that matter. It was a great day to shoot Bald Eagles.

Saturday, August 23, 2008

Camera Critter Meme #20

The Dry Canyon Trail in Redmond, Oregon, is one of my favorite places to wander around, looking for the cool critters this world has to offer.

Generally, I'll walk through to the weeds, looking on the plants as I pass by. Anything which looks out of place, I'll check out and if it's a critter, I start shooting.

In the years I have been doing this, I have learned a lot about the behavior patterns of many of the critters in the least I thought I had learned a lot about their behavior.

Last Sunday (Aug. 17) I learned something new about two different species. But first, let me set the scene. It was midday and the sky was partly cloudy. The high sun was shining bright and the temperature at the airport at the time was 103. In the canyon, it was probably 105 or 106.

I had been wandering the canyon for about two hours and having a great time. Every now and then, I'd stop, get my water bottle (I always fill a plastic bottle with water and freeze it the night before I go out) and take nice cold, drink from it, then shove it back in the cargo pocket on my pants.

At one point, I had wandered near a lava outcrop hoping to see something, when I stopped for a drink. Now, remember, the canyon area is called the "dry" canyon for a reason...there's no water in it. After I had refreshed my thirst and as I was putting the bottle back in my pocket, something landed on the right side of my beard, just below my lower lip. For a moment, I didn't know what was happening. Then their was a slight pain in the area and I swiped my hand across the spot. When I did, a bug flew to a sage plant nearby and the back of my hand felt the wetness of a drop of water which was in my beard. I immediately lifted my camera and got this shot of a Blister Beetle, a first for me.

I have seen similar critters in the area, but nothing this big (it was about an inch and half long). Thrilled I had gotten a new species of something, I continued my walk-about. After not finding anything on the rocky outcrop, I continued on towards an area with a number of Juniper trees.

After about ten minutes, I stopped, retrieved my bottle of ice water and lifted it to my lips. As I pulled the bottle away from my mouth, a drop of water fell and landed on my shirt just to the left of center on my chest and below my breast. The drop no more than landed on the shirt when something slammed into my chest, right on the spot of water. I looked down and there was a Robber Fly sitting there (see my previous CCM post for an image of a Robber Fly). I brushed him away and as I did, felt some pain in the area.

I lifted my shirt to check out the area and noticed a spot of blood. I wiped it away and there was a small hole in my chest, with a reddened area surrounding it. I knew immediately, the hole was caused by the proboscis of the fly. The proboscis is the feeding tube for most insects. On the Robber Fly it is a stiff tube they insert in their meal and suck out the liquid. I guess the fly, like the beetle, needed water in the heat and probably could smell or detect the water on my lip and my shirt and went for it. I doubt it was coincidence that both critters hit me where water was.

Nothing like that has happened to me before and I doubt it will again. But it was still cool and still an interesting way to learn something new about the critter I cross paths with. 8v)

But before I close this milestone Camera Critter Meme, I've got one more image to show. A NTM (new-to-me) bee. I believe it is a Resin Bee of the Megachile species. I almost didn't capture this beauty, as I saw it from a distance on a sage brush with a number of other insects and assumed it was a common Honey Bee. But just as I was about to turn away, a voice in my head said, "Shoot it Bear." So I did...and I am glad I did. Just look at those eyes!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

Camera Critter Meme #19

One of the best parts of wandering the high desert and photographing the wonderful world around me, is seeing nature in action.

During a recent trip through the Dry Canyon Trail in Redmond, Oregon, I was looking for the small critters which live on the plants of canyon. As I looked over one area, I spied a small, possible stingless bee which I was keeping an eye on for it to land somewhere.

Suddenly, a large blur flashed by and the bee was gone. But my eyes immediately picked up the blur and followed it a short distance away to an old Juniper twig, where the blur landed to enjoy its meal.

I walked over, crouched down a bit and began clicking off images.

So, for the nineteenth round of Misty's Camera Critter Meme, I'm proud to present, the wonderful, the beautiful, the exotic....Giant White-tailed Robber Fly.

Saturday, August 9, 2008

Camera Critter Meme #18

Critters...critters everywhere and this week's Camera Critter Meme is no exception.

One day in July of 07, I was wandering around near Fireman's Pond. Most of what a person sees in this part of the high desert is dull green sage, light brown weeds Juniper trees, blackish rocks and gray, weather-worn stumps. So when I caught a glimpse of red on a sage brush, I zoomed out the lens, squatted down and fired off a number of shots.

When I finished, I continued on my way, looking for critters both big and small to shoot.

That evening when I returned home, I opened up the series of shots of the Seven-spotted Ladybird Beetle and a smile crept over my face.

Not only did I get the beetle, but I got a virtual feast for it as dozens of Aphids were everywhere on the plant. Had I seen those little green, garden menaces when I shot the photo, I probably would have stayed around for some action shots.

Saturday, August 2, 2008

Camera Critter Meme #17

When I began nature photography years ago, I had a 35mm Canon Rebel 2000. It was a nice camera and was able to use it for many photos. However, the first time I saw an Ash-throated Flycatcher, I ran and got my camera, put the 70-300 Sigma zoom on it and went on safari.

I found the flycatcher where I left him, lifted the camera and looked through the viewfinder. "Where's the bird?" I thought. Carefully looking scanning the viewfinder, I located the bird. But it looked so small, I thought I hadn't zoomed out far enough. Well, I started to get closer and the bird flew. Again, I attempted to get closer, and again the bird flew. Realizing I wasn't going to get any closer, I lifted the camera and fired off a couple of shots. When the prints came back, the bird was there, but hard to see well.

Fast forward 10 years. Today I have a 6 megapixel Canon Digital Rebel. I also have a similar 70-300mm Canon zoom on it. Since the camera is digital and works on a lens factor multiplier, the lens shoots images which are comparable to 112-480mm zoom.

So when I was out on safari the other day and saw an Ash-throated Flycatcher, I decided to get a photo of it. I lifted the camera, found the bird in the frame and took a couple of steps forward. Well, the bird flew, but not before I got a shot of it.

So, for the week's Camera Critter Meme, may I present, Caruso - The Singing Ash-throated Flycatcher.