Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Wild, Wild Woodpile Series

Continuing onward with the woodpile series. Brush piles and woodpiles make for a great addition to any habitat as they provide a refuge for many creatures to live. Among these critters I found several North American Millipedes. Millipedes are pretty amazing. With all those legs they are fascinating to watch. If you look closely you can see little waves travel down the lengths of their body on the sets of legs as they travel along. Millipedes are detritivores meaning that the eat the detris or rotting vegetation on the forest floor. Being nocturnal they prefer to stay out of the light and in dark places under logs or leaves. For protection from predators they will roll up into a spiral shape. If that doesn't work they will release a foul and burning chemical that will convince many small creatures not to eat it.Luckily they didn't release it as I handled them rather gently when I was photographing them. I wasn't so lucky with one of the other creatures. God's tender love and mercies to all, chris All images were created with a handheld Canon 7D and a 100mm Macro lens. Manual mode, ISO 200, Exposures varied. Lighting was provided by two Alien Bee 1600 Studio lights. #TeamCanon

Tuesday, May 24, 2016

More From the Woodpile

Yesterday afternoon found me moving the last of the firewood from the driveway. There were plenty of surprises along the way as creatures were uncovered. The most interesting of them all was this young Western Skink. Young Western Skinks have amazingly bright blue tails. The general belief is that this attracts the attention of predators towards the disposable tail which will break off if it is grabbed. It will grow back later. I can still vividly recall the first time I spotted a juvenile Skink near Spring Lake in Santa Rosa. We had just moved to California and I couldn't believe anything could be such a bright neon blue. I wasn't quite sure what I had seen. They have got a pretty cool looking tongue too! God's love and blessings to all, chris All images created with a handheld Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens in manual mode. Exposures varied. Lighting was provided by two Alien Bee 1600 Studio lights. #teamcanon

Monday, May 23, 2016

Giant in the Woodpile

Yesterday afternoon I was moving one of our wood piles to make some parking room in our driveway. When I got down towards the bottom of the pile I could sense something looking at me. It's kind of weird that as humans we can have that sense isn't it? Sure enough when I looked down to my right and I could see these dark brown eyes looking up at me from under a piece of wood. At first I thought it was a giant toad covered in dirt. Then it dawned on me that it was a giant salamander. In the area where I live they used to be called the Pacific Giant Salamanders but now after some reclassification they are now known as Coastal Giant Salamanders endemic to California. The family of Pacific Giant Salamanders are the biggest terrestrial salamanders in the world! They can grow to be 15 inches or more in length. Their skin is covered in a really amazing camouflage pattern. They also have teeth in both their upper and lower jaws. The coolest thing about them is that they can vocalize kind of a bark similar to a dog though I have only heard one do it one time. It's really cool to find one as they are primarily nocturnal so they are rarely found in the daytime. One other strange fact is that adults of this species may be terrestrial or aquatic. The aquatic ones have gills.I captured the salamander and photographed it with a macro lens. After the woodpile was rebuilt I let it loose back into the pile so that it could have a safe place to live. God's love and blessings upon your week, chrisImages created with a Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. both handheld and on a small Slik tripod.

Sunday, May 22, 2016

The Queen is in Residence

This morning when I was restocking the bird feeders I noticed Queen Papaya the Cat surveying her domain. She was sitting on the corner of the deck as she is wont to do on many mornings. I grabbed my camera with a telephoto lens and took her portrait while she was on her throne. May you have a blessed week, chris Images created with a Canon 7D and a Canon 100-400IS v1. #TeamCanon

Saturday, May 21, 2016

Red and Yellow

Someone should have told me not to go photographing birds yesterday morning.It was cold and the wind was blowing. The blind would shake in the wind and the birds would fly away. I sat in the blind for about three hours and I took eleven images and I photographed three species of birds. There were House Finches, Oak Titmice and White Breasted Nuthatches. One American Goldfinch came in but I wasn't able to capture any images of it. After coming home and editing the images there were only two that had merit. Here they are. Though the conditions weren't great it was better than any morning working in an office! God's love and blessings upon your weekend. Both images were created with a Canon 7D and a Canon EF 100-400mm f/4.5-5.6L IS USM. AV mode, ISO 800 f 8.0 1/500th of a sec. Fill flash was provided by a Canon 550 EX flash at -2 stops.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Oh It's Just a Dumb Old Moth

This morning I was out in the backyard clearing some branches away from one of our apple trees. While heading back indoors I noticed this poor beaten up moth lying on our patio. For some reason it got me to thinking about how important moths really are. They are the often overlooked ugly cousin to the butterfly and they occupy an important part of our environment. Their primary role is that they are food for most everything else. They are eaten by other insects, spiders,bears,frogs, toads, lizards, shrews, hedgehogs, bats and birds. Caterpillars are one of the most important things that moths offer in the ecosystem. In springtime returning migrating bats rely on moths as one of their sole food supplies. Roughly ninety five percent of baby birds are provided a diet of insects by their parents and a significant part of that is in the form of caterpillars from moths. So moths play a critical role in the lives of many species. By the way I don't think they are ugly. Moths come in an amazing amount of sizes patterns and colors. God's love and blessings upon your day, chris both images were created with a Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens on a tripod.

Thursday, May 19, 2016

You've Got Mail

Yesterday afternoon when I went to check the mail. I found a little surprise. There was a small Walkingstick Bug crawling around our mailbox. I looked for a container in my pick up to put it in and I couldn't find anything. A light bulb went on in my head and I proceeded to very carefully put it into a bag of birdseed I had. I gently rolled the top shut being careful not to squish the poor little thing. When I got inside the house I transferred it to a jar. This morning I photographed it and then set it free out in the forest. Curious to see what kind of Walkingstick it was I looked it up on the internet. I found that it is a Conifer Bug and that it was indeed part of the Walkingstick family. May you have a blessed day, chris Image created with a handheld Canon 7D and a 100mm macro lens. AV mode, ISO 800,F 8.0 at 1/60th of a sec.