Landscape

It’s the end of the third of four weeks of my Photography 101 class and today’s topic is landscape. I didn’t have a chance to get out and take a new landscape photo today, at least not the sweepingly magestic sort of image I think of when I think of landscape photography, so I’m posting one of my favorites from Arizona a few weeks ago:

 

Ah, southern Arizona. What an amazing place! The insects there are fabulous and I miss the joy I got from spotting my first palo verde beetle of the year (and bringing it in the house to terrorize my husband), hearing dozens of June bugs buzzing around the trees, and the desert cicadas that make an enormous racket in the hottest part of the middle of the day. I loved the aquatic insects and the dragonflies, all the strange desert insects I could only find there. Not that I don’t love North Carolina – I really do – but I lived in Arizona for 20 years altogether and some of my best memories are from that crazy, wild, spiky place. It’s hard not to miss it, at least now and again.

Have a great weekend, everyone! Me, I’ll be at work the next few days. But, if you have to work through the weekend, it’s nice to work at a natural history museum field station with a wealth of interesting biological phenomena to observe. I still feel lucky, everyday.

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth.

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Moment

I knew I wasn’t going to get the right photo to fit today’s Photography 101 theme, moments and motion, because I feel like all the photos I’ve taken that have significant moments associated with them have been utterly serendipitous. I had a perfectly mundane day of meetings and e mails today, not the kind of day where I thought I’d come across a “moment” as I like to think of them.  So, I decided to choose an older photo that represented a good moment for me. For those of you who have been reading my blog for a while, you may remember my sharing another photo from this series a few years ago:


I spent a decade studying giant water bugs (and am still studying them, just not full-time anymore). I absolutely love the species depicted here, Lethocerus medius, and they are giant, scary looking insects that lurk underwater.  I spent several summers collecting and working with the eggs. They hatch late at night, however, and since I kept them in the lab rather than at home, I always missed the hatching.

I got this photo when I was visiting a lab in another city to do some research I couldn’t do at my university. I was in the lab something like 16 hours each day and was just getting ready to leave one night when I caught a movement out of the corner of my eye. The tops of the eggs had popped open and the heads of the little bugs inside were visible. I was unbelievably excited – I was going to get to see them hatch! I spent over an hour watching them, taking photos as they progressed. The bugs all hatched at one time, swaying back and forth in unison as they pulled themselves out of their eggshells. I took several videos of their movement, little synchronized rhythmic insectoid waves. I still watch them a couple of times a year and remember.

A short while after I took this photo, it was obvious the bugs were about to come completely free, so I picked up the stick they were attached to. The freshly hatched bugs spilled out into my hands, a hundred or more all at once, and I dashed across the room so they could fall into the pan of water I had waiting. For me, it was a magical moment, little bugs slipping into the water between my fingers, a moment full of movement and life and pure joy, one that to this day I am thankful I was able to bear witness to.

That’s the sort of moment I thought of when I saw the theme “moments and motion,” the sort of moment you don’t expect and instead fall into randomly. My day today was not the sort of day when magical, memorable moments fall into your lap. Those don’t come so often, but I’m always happy to have my camera with me when they do.

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth.

Solitude

I wasn’t able to get this online yesterday, but this is my photo for the Photography 101 theme “solitude:”

Fly on flower

I spent a lot of time on my recent trip to Arizona looking for insects, and happily it was just late enough in the year for a few to be out.  It was also the middle of the bloom, so I spent a lot of time wandering from clump to clump of flowers looking for insects.  This lovely fly was the only insect on a cluster of these fabulous yellow flowers.  It had a huge group of flowers all to itself and I think it exemplifies the idea of solitude.

I believe this is a tachinid fly, but I would welcome any corrections from those of you who know more about flies than I do!  You know who you are. :)

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth.

Bliss

“Bliss” is today’s Photography 101 topic, so this is my bliss:

damselfly

Dancer damselfly in Pima County, AZ

 
That’s my first odonate (dragonfly or damselfly) of 2016! Saw it recently in Arizona at the Desert Museum, so was at a place I loved when I saw it too. :)

Tomorrow’s my travel day, so we’ll see if I can manage to get a post up. If not, I’ll post again on Friday!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth.

Water

Today’s Photography 101 topic is practically made for me: water!  Here’s my choice of photo:

  
This is a waterfall on the same creek I shared yesterday, in Sabino Canyon just outside Tucson, AZ. I share it because it’s water, but also bacause it illustrates something important in stream habitats, a natural barrier.  This creek is full of crayfish.  Crayfish don’t belong in Arizona and every species you can find there is invasive.  They compete with native species in the state’s streams and alter the habitats as they burrow into streambeds.  I always hated coming across crayfish when I was working in streams in Arizona as the streams where you found them were often highly impaired.

However, a lot of aquatic species have a hard time moving further upstream once they encounter a natural barrier like a waterfall.  In Arizona, waterfalls are often the furthest upstream you’ll find invasive species like crayfish.  In fact, in this particular stream, you find crayfish up to a point called Anderson Dam (a little further upstream from this waterfall), but not any further upstream.  That also means that some species are only found above the dam, such as a cool species of damselfly called the Sabino dancer.  The species is found outside of this canyon in a few other places nearby, but this is one of the best places to see them.

Waterfalls are beautiful, but also important dividers in stream systems.  That makes them both beautiful AND interesting to me, so I’m always happy to come across a waterfall.

I am going to be traveling tomorrow, so probably won’t be able to get a post up until Friday, but I’m going to keep at it for a while.  Look for another new post coming soon!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth.

Street

Today’s Photography 101 topic is “street,” which is a little tough for someone who blogs about insects!  Here’s my “street:”

  
That creek is Sabino Creek in Sabino Canyon outside Tucson.  It is full of insects!  There are creeping water bugs and hellgrammites and beetles and water bugs and midges larvae. This stream also has some great dragonflies and damselflies, including filagree skimmers, giant darners, and Sabino dancers, though it was unfortunately slightly too chilly and windy when I visited recently to see any of them.  I’m sure there were nymphs in the water, but I didn’t have any equipment to investigate the exact composition of the insects during my visit.  It’s been years since I visited this canyon without so much as a soup strainer to look for bugs, so it was just a little frustrating that I couldn’t look for bugs on my latest trip.  Next time I’ll be sure to pack at least a strainer so I can explore the stream more fully!

The stream acts as a sort of road for these animals as they move up and downstream. It also acts as a pathway for a lot of other animals, including deer, birds, and the people walking up and down the canyon. The stream brings life to the canyon, but also a lot of beauty.  With all the amazing scenery and the fabulous insects, this will always be one of my favorite place!

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth.

Home

I am taking part in a WordPress “class” over the next few weeks that focuses on photography.  Since I haven’t been able to blog often recently, I intend to use the class as a challenge to get a photo up each day of the class so I can get back in the habit of blogging.  I’ll try to keep it as insect focused as possible, but a few non-insect things will show up, including my first photo in the series.  The theme is home, so I choose this photo I recently took during a trip back to Arizona:

I’ve only been back in the state three times since I moved to North Carolina, and two of those were merely layovers on flights to other places.  The recent visit was a real trip to see friends and family and spend some time back home.  The photo above was taken of the land just behind the hotel where I was staying and represents home to me.  I absolutely love the Sonoran Desert and the wildness of the land.  What a spectacularly beautiful place!  And since I haven’t spent much time there for a few years, I was struck by just how much life is out there.  It was sadly just a little too early in the year to see very many insects, but that desert is home to thousands of species, many that are unique and strange and wonderful.  I will share a few of my finds in upcoming posts.

Hope you enjoy the frequent posting for the next few weeks! I am looking forward to the challenge.

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Unless otherwise stated, all text, images, and video are copyright © C. L. Goforth.