Friday, 11 April 2014

Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum)

I've recently noticed several bees in my garden that I didn't at first recognise. It turns out they are the Tree Bumblebee (Bombus hypnorum), a relative newcomer to the UK. The first UK sighting of this bee was in Wiltshire in 2001 and since then it has spread rapidly throughout the country.

While many bumblebees are in decline, this one has bucked the trend in part due to its liking of suburban gardens. Originally it favoured woodland clearings but has adapted nicely to garden habitats and looks set to stay.


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Here a Tree Bumblebee is feeding on Flowering Redcurrant



Thursday, 27 March 2014

Frogs and Frogspawn

The last few weeks have been a busy time for my local frog populations. A large number of frogs congregated in the corner of a local pond and, judging from the amount of frogspawn, it looked like they had been busy. However on my third visit, which was only a couple of days after my second visit, there wasn't a frog to be seen. It seems they had declared the mating season over and dispersed. This was a shame as I was planning to take a number of further images including some with a wider lens. They will have to wait until next year...

Here are a few that I've processed already. There may be one or two more in due course.


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A Common Frog surrounded by frogspawn (400mm lens with extension tubes):



A close up of the frogspawn itself:



I liked the patterns in the water in this next image:



and finally another image similar to the first:


Tuesday, 18 March 2014

Spring Ladybirds

There have been quite a few ladybirds in my garden over the last couple of weeks, far more than last year in fact. Most are Seven-Spots but I have also seen a Ten-Spotted ladybird, something I've only ever seen on occasions. I've yet to see a Harlequin ladybird which is quite reassuring given how rapidly this alien invader seems to be overtaking the Seven Spot in many parts of the country.


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Here are a couple of images of the Ten-Spotted Ladybird:




 and finally a mating pair of Seven-Spotted Ladybirds:


Friday, 28 February 2014

Experimenting with Springtails

There are very few macro subjects around over the winter months but I can always rely on finding a good number of tiny Globular Springtails on the leaves on my lawn. Normally I would photograph subjects this small using flash alone in order to freeze any possible movement. However, I had a couple of sessions in December and January when I experimented with a mix of flash and natural light (actually direct sunlight). I decided to shoot directly into the sun as the reflections that the sun provided on the wet leaves created some unusual light patterns. The results were inevitably mixed but I quite like the images below as they're a little different if nothing else.

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Saturday, 15 February 2014

Last Autumn's Fungi

I'm still processing images from last year but I've at least now finished the handful of fungi images that I took in the Autumn. I only ventured out to photograph fungi on two occasions and neither trip was particularly productive.

Probably my favourite image was this tiny duo of Amethyst Deceiver photographed with a reasonably wide angle macro lens (35mm) to show the fungi in its natural environment.


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I had very little luck with Fly Agarics as I think I missed most of them, but I did manage to find this little one.



I thought this trio of unknown fungi (probably Mycena species) were reasonably attractive.




And finally, here's the Amethyst Deceiver duo again, this time showing the difference between the 35mm macro lens and the 150mm macro lens.


Monday, 27 January 2014

Article in Wild Planet Photo Magazine

I am pleased to have contributed a Meet Your Neighbours article to the latest issue of Wild Planet Photo Magazine. The article is on the emergence of damselflies and explains how to photograph this remarkable process.

You can subscribe to Wild Planet Photo Magazine by visiting this link.

The images (sorry, not the text :)) from the articles are below:

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Monday, 13 January 2014

Ladybird Take-Off #2

In spring 2012 I wrote a blogpost explaining how I go about photographing Ladybirds in that split second before they take-off (see here). Last year there were very few Ladybirds about until quite late in the summer but I did manage a couple of sessions photographing them taking off (or attempting to at least). It's not easy, but here are a couple of images that I was quite pleased with.

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