April 12th, 2009

The day started out with the ominous clouds blocking the warm rays of the sun. The drab sky showed no mercy, no sign of weakness, almost as if it were trying to push down and suffocate us. Plants didn't bother to stand up, no light to guide their growth. The streets were abandoned, bikes and swingsets sit idle while only our mechanical vehicles dare transverse the barren land.

Our relief came in the form of rejuvenating liquid as few drops turned into millions, drizzle gave way to shower, which broken into a torential rainfall. Within the hour, the ominous clouds emptied all their contents as if a cup filled to the brim tipped over. The cleansing rain washed over the land, seeped deep into the ground, and invorgated the thirsty roots.

Overhead, the bright and valiant rays of the sun, no longer hindered by clouds, pierced every surface, every crevice to rid all shadows and darkness. Flowers tilted their heads and faced the celestial sun while beads of water glistened in reflection. Every detail culminates into the beauty that is nature.

click on the following picture for the Flowers after Rainstorm gallery:

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All shot with Canon 40D + Tamron 180mm Macro 1:1 at ISO 100, aperture priority. ISO 100 allowed for great clarity and detail and works best with direct sunlight. Sharper images can be obtained with tripod. All flowers are either from my home in Bellaire City or from Tea's Nursery on Newcastle and Bellaire. Thanks are in order for giving me permission to shoot.

 

March 30th, 2009

This week at the museum of natural science, we have an Atlas Moth(Attacus atlas)caterpillar nearing the last few stages of growth before turning into a moth. The Atlas moth is a large saturniid moth found in tropical and subtropical forests of SE Asia. This moth is among the largest in the world with up to a foot in wingspan. The adult moths actually lack functional mouth parts as the only objective to their short lifespan (1 to 2 weeks) is to mate. The females are mostly stationary near their silk cocoons(chrysalis) and release pheromones into the air.

This unique caterpillar is remarkable for the alien like appearance and the size. Caterpillars are believed to have over 4000 muscles and they move through contractions in the rear pushing blood forwards and elongating the torso.

In this picture, you can see the different segments of this caterpillar and the four sets of prolegs. All insects are defined as having only 3 pairs of legs. These four prolegs near the middle of the caterpillar are actually false legs. The real set of legs are at the head end of the caterpillar and look entirely different.

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In the image below, you can see the details of a proleg. They are like suction cups.

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In the next picture, you can see the head of the creature. You can also see the set of 6 legs near the mouth. Caterpillars are eating machines and has caused butterflies and moths in general to be classifed as pests by the FDA. They can devour crops and cause serious detriment to agriculture.

One really unique fact about caterpillars is how each species typically restricts their diet to one type of plant. For example, monarch butterflies only lay eggs on milkweed plant. The caterpillars can only survive on their leaves. This advantageous adaptation shared by many species of butterfly seem to cut down on competition for food among them all and reduces the level of competition within an environement.

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March 30th, 2009

Here are some experiment shots of Orchid species plants using canon 40d and Tamron 180mm Macro lens. This lens is highly rated as compared to the Canon 180mm with almost half the price. The Tamron is very comprable in quality and the 180mm gives you quite a bit of reach for macro photography of insects that can be easily frightened. For example, shooting dragonflies would require a lens like this allowing the photographer to be further away and still take a macro shot.

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February 23rd, 2009

I tried some macro shots of my orchids today, using a technique called photomerging. You take different depths of field on a macro shot and then align and blend them together using Adobe Bridge and Photoshop. This gives you a detailed shot otherwise not possible with macro photography. I used a Tamron 180mm Macro lens with my 40D and added a Kenko 25mm Extension tube to get even closer. Results are still a little blurry on this first try but you do see increased detail by combining shots.