I’m writing this from Archbold Field Station in Florida, home of BugShot 2012. Apart from the fact that I was exhausted before I arrived and people here tend to get little sleep, year two of BugShot has been a blast! Like last year, I came with a specific goal in mind, to improve my skills with my flashes, and I feel like I’ve made great progress. Plus, it’s great to see so many people from last year again, including several bug bloggers. There are a lot of new faces to learn too and it’s fun making new friends.
I’ll give a more detailed account after I get home, but today’s Friday and that means it’s list time. I’ve learned a lot while I’ve been here, whether it’s photographic, entomological, cultural, or social. I thought I’d share a few photos (though they won’t necessarily all be good!) and five things I’ve learned since I arrived.
There is FAR more dust on my camera’s
sensor than I thought!
I knew my camera’s sensor was dirty before I got here, but I was a little shocked when I uploaded my photos to my iPad today and saw just how dirty it really is. Ugh! Tomorrow’s goal: learn how to safely clean my sensor. (Note: That photo up there DOES has an animal in it.)
Hyacinth gliders participate in dragonfly swarms
I got to see another dragonfly swarm today! (Thanks to Troy at Nature Closeups for pointing it out and John Abbott for the ID!). It was a fairly small swarm of about 50 individuals spread across three little sub-swarms, but it took place right near sunset and the backlighting added to its magical quality. The swarm definitely included wandering gliders, a few spot winged gliders, and a red colored saddlebags that I never got a good look at, but most of the swarm was hyacinth gliders. They were so beautiful!
Florida has some BIG bugs and spiders!
One of the things I miss most about Arizona is the palo verde beetles. There’s just something about an enormous, bitey beetle that I really enjoy, so I’ve been thrilled to see a similar species several times at Archbold. It’s in a different genus and it’s a little smaller than my favorite desert beetles, but it still makes me happy. It’s only one example of the enormous arthropods here too. If you like big spiders, this definitely seems like a good place to be.
Speaking of giant insects…
There are two species of the giant water bugs
in the genus Lethocerus at Archbold
Lethocerus griseus is pretty darned small, at least as far as Lethocerus species go. Lethocerus uhleri is quite large though! It is so fun being in a place that has more than one species. They’re species I’ve never seen alive – and they’ve been just crawling around on the ground by the lights at night. Fabulous!
I can very easily adjust my flash brightness by pushing a button and turning one little dial on my camera
There are a lot of other Nikon users here this year and we, with the exception of our camera bodies, all have pretty much the exact same equipment. That means I can learn how to do things, like adjust my flash brightness, the easy way: asking other people rather than looking it up in the manual. :) Seriously though, it’s really nice to talk to other photographers that use the equipment that you use because you can share ideas and tips specific to your gear. That’s one of the best parts about being at an event like this!
And with that, I must go, and now. I don’t get WiFi in my room, so I am sitting on the parking lot sidewalk in the dark to get a signal, and couple of unknown insects just crawled down the back of my pants… :)