Alex Wild has called on all nature loving bloggers to once again share their favorite photos from 2013. Because I can’t resist that sort of fun, I’m going to make a contribution. Here goes!
This has been a crazy year for me and I haven’t been able to blog as much as I normally like to. My dad’s passing in March was an especially difficult blow – don’t think I realized how much energy and life that sucked out of me until several months later – but a series of other less than ideal things have happened since. I’m hoping 2014 will prove to be a better year than 2013, but it wasn’t ALL bad! And even when things weren’t going quite like I might wish, I found myself turning to my camera over and over as a way to focus my mind on something else for a while – and I got some shots that I’m proud of. I haven’t shared more than a tiny fraction of my photos for the year with you all, and certainly not as many as I would have liked, but here are my best of 2013, arranged in approximate chronological order of the events in which they were taken.
I became fascinated with the dead insects in windowsills in January this year, after finding this beauty in the windowsill in my boss’ office one day:
I’ve since collected and photographed many windowsill insects. It’s an especially great activity to do in the winter when there aren’t all that many live insects outside to photograph.
Science Online 2013
I have wanted to go to Science Online ever since I learned of its existence, and I was able to go this year! My favorite moment was not at the actual conference however, but a trip to a local bar with several entomologists that were attending the conference. This photo isn’t great, but I love it because it reminds me of a fun night, and depicts two lovely, wonderful entomologists, Alex Wild and Matt Bertone:
A lot of you already know that Alex is an amazing photographer, but so is Matt! If you haven’t ever seen any of his images, please look him up on Flickr. It’s well worth it!
A Trip to Washington D. C.
My husband and I went to D.C. for a few days in May, just to get out of town. I took this monarch photo in the butterfly exhibit in the National Museum of Natural History:
That was my first decent monarch picture, though I have since gotten others in the wild that I like just as well.
Dragonflies Emerge in the Pond
I’d never had a camera with me when I’d seen a dragonfly emerge before I got this shot:
… and this one:
I watched and photographed six emerging dragonflies for over an hour. It was so serene and peaceful, and it was a beautiful day. It was just what I needed, a magical experience I’m going to remember forever.
The New Camera
I bought myself a present in June, a Canon 7D with an MP-E 65 lens. I absolutely LOVE the camera! The MP-E 65 lens has a bit of a learning curve, but it was everything I hoped it would be. Here are some of my first shots:
I think this is my favorite shot of the whole year actually:
I just love the way that beetle is peeking his head around the siding on my house!
National Moth Week 2013
The second annual National Moth Week took place in July. I attended a moth workshop, a blacklighting event, hosted a moth night at work, and visited my porch light every night. Part of my zeal for moths this year was driven by the purchase of my new camera, but I got several shots I really liked. These were both shot during the day with just my point and shoot at the moth workshop:
My first ever luna in North Carolina! And then there was this imperial moth:
First ever sighting of that species period. I think this, however, was my favorite moth from the week:
It’s a small tolype, which I’d never heard of before I looked it up in my field guide the night of my moth night at work. I just love this moth (as a friend of mine would say, it’s fuzzylicious!), and I think I may have been the only person to see it that night. Somehow that makes it even more special.
My First NC Lethocerus
I found my first large giant water bug, Lethocerus uhleri, in the pond at work one day in late summer. I was teaching some 4 and 5 year olds how to collect some citizen science data in the pond when I found it. I was SO excited that I started jumping up and down. Those kids thought I was nuts, but look how spectacular this insect is!
Wow. I hadn’t ever really looked at their eyes that closely until the day I got this photo, but they are stunning.
Butterfly Count 2013
We do an annual butterfly count at Prairie Ridge, part of a larger county-wide count. We only had a team of two this year, but we saw some fun things. This was my favorite photo from the count:
Skippers aren’t always the most stunning butterflies, but this was my first Horace’s duskywing and I thought it was rather beautiful.
Visit to Duke Gardens
Did my first visit to the Duke Gardens in late summer this year and it was amazing! Caught this pair of amorous soldier beetles there:
Dragonfly Migration 2013
We never did get very many green darners at the pond at work this year, but there was a nice little surge of them during the migration, which just happened to coincide with an educational dragonfly walk I led. We caught several dragonflies in nets to get a closer look, and this was one:
I took this one with the cruddy little, VERY cheap digital camera we have at work, which served to remind me that the camera you have with you is the best camera, regardless of the quality.
Winter Aquatic Insects
It’s been chilly in North Carolina recently, so there aren’t many insects out. So, I’ve started bringing aquatic insects home to photograph in my aquatic “studio” (an aquarium with a piece of glass inside to limit the movement of the bugs). There are my recent favorites:
Photographing aquatics like this takes a lot of patience, but I think it’s well worth it in the end.
So those are my favorites for the year! If you have your own list of your favorite science and nature photos from 2013, Alex Wild is collecting links to posts and/or collections over on his Scientific American blog, the Compound Eye. I hope you’ll consider making your own contribution!