Tag: amaturephotographer

Photography Challenge Day 134: The jumping spider

So today’s winner of the photography challenge is the jumping spider that was hanging around the patio table and chairs.

We usually have several small spiders hanging around the patio table and chairs during the summer. I know that there are other spiders (such as the black widow) out in the yard under rocks and behind logs—I leave those guys alone.

A jumping spider (I think) on the arm of the chair

So the jumping spider family (Salticidae) is the largest spider family with 610 recognized living and fossilized genera and over 5800 described species.

Other cool facts about jumping spiders include:

Depending on the species, their diet can range from small insect to plant matter, nectar, or even small frogs (for the larger jumping spiders).

They can sing and dance.  Seriously check out some of the youtube videos on the peacock spiders.

They have sensory hairs that detect vibrations and send signals to their brain, and act as “ears”.

While I’m not a big fan of spiders, I go out of my way to leave them alone and hopefully not walk through a web in the morning. The only time I will kill a spider is if I recognize that it is a harmful spider that could hurt me (brown recluse or black widow), it breaks the rule and I see it (but again mainly if it is a brown recluse or black widow), or I don’t realize that I walk right through it’s web (usually first thing in the morning leaving).

I am going to try to see if I can get some more pictures of jumping spiders (as they are the most common “friendly” spiders that I see outdoors) this summer. This way I’m stepping outside of my comfort zone, and controlling how I react to seeing certain things.

Reference: mnn.com/earth-matters/animals/stories/jumping-spider

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Photography Challenge day 116: Throwback Thursday edition

Today’s photographs are all throwback photographs to different trips that I’ve taken over the years. One thing I’ve realized is that I do love to travel, both by myself and with others–it all depends on where I’m going.

The main cavern at Carlsbad Caverns

In terms of going to different national parks and doing things like camping and hiking–I think I’d like to be with at least one other person. That way if something goes wrong–there is someone else there to help.

There are several national parks that I would love to visit and hike in–but am realistic enough to know that I need to be in better physical (and mental) shape to handle the hikes and changes in elevation.

Sunset over Boston, looking out from the Skywalk Observatory

Visiting a new city, this is something that I can go either way–on my own or with friends. Sometimes it’s better with people I know, and other times if there isn’t anyone I know–I’m trying to get slightly outside my comfort zone.

The trip to Boston was actually to visit with friends from grad school. So it was fun to catch up, and see a city I enjoy being in. Boston is one city that I think I could probably spend a better part of several years exploring with a camera and still get a different shot every day.

There are several cities that I would like to visit (either for art galleries, zoos, or something else that I’ve found interesting within them), but haven’t decided on when I would go–but I’m realizing that time slips away faster than we think as we get older. I’ve also come to realization about a few other things (but they don’t fit with the current topic).

Next week I’ll share some more throwback photographs from other trips.

No Comments National ParksnaturePhotographytravel

Photography Challenge day 112: Fungi Sunday

I know it should be Fungi Friday, but I did Fishy Friday last week, and feel like showcasing a couple of fungi pictures today.

Small fungi growing at the lake.

So we are still wet enough, that there are some mushrooms still popping up here and there. I almost walked pass this small group of mushrooms.

I particularly like how I also managed to get the spiderweb with the morning dew in the photograph as well.

Some of the mushrooms looked like they’ve had better days

Since these guys are so small, it looks like they’ve been walked upon a few times. These could be fairy inkcap mushrooms (though that’s only a guess and trying to compare them to other images on the internet). In theory if they are fairy inkcap, they’d be edible–but the only wild mushrooms so far that I’ve eated are oyster mushrooms (those I know how to id).

Then there is the more traditional death-cap mushroom (or toadstool)

Then I saw a single toadstool mushroom in the middle of one area–which makes me think that within a couple of days (possibly by the weekend) there should be at least another three or four popping up as well. I’ve hardly seen just one toadstool mushroom before.

I think that another mini-goal for this year is going to be trying to see how many other fungi pictures I can throughout the rest of the year.

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Photography Challenge Day 105: Swimming and sunning turtles (short post)

Today’s winner(s) are again the red-eared sliders living around Boomer Lake. With doing a morning walk–I may not see as many sunning themselves on logs, but I do catch sight of several more swimming around the lake.

Red-eared slider swimming in the lake.
Nice size red-eared slider swimming in one of the coves at Boomer Lake.

I saw one swimming in one of the “coves” as I was walking across the bridge. I managed to get a picture where it almost looks like it’s looking back at me.

Two red-eared sliders sunning themselves.
Two red-eared sliders sunning themselves.

Then there were the ones that had already made it some of the more sunny spots along the bank. These two were in the area that normally the great blue herons fish at first thing in the morning.

Since the water levels are slowly returning to normal, there has been a change in where some of the logs are located. Some of them were washed up on shore, and others were pushed further out. No matter where the logs have ended up, there seems to be turtles (and snakes) that can find them. While I didn’t see the soft-shelled turtle today, I’m sure that it was on the other side of the lake sunning itself in peace and quiet away from the noise of society.

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Photography Challenge Days 103 & 104: The soft-shelled turtle makes an appearance.

So today’s post is a double, since I decided to go computer free last night. Instead of being on the computer–I watched Captain Marvel instead. Loved the movie (and a mini review is pending).

So on my walk this morning I noticed that there was an odd grouping of turtles on a log–two were red-eared sliders and the third is either a soft-shell turtle or a snapping turtle.

Three turtles on a log

When I zoomed into the picture–the tail of the turtle in question looks like it could be a soft-shell turtle. The snapping turtle tail usually has several ridges on it, so unless this is a young snapping turtle–I’d put it down to a soft shell turtle in the lake.

Which makes since I think that I got pictures of it on a smaller log last week on my walk:

I think someone is a little to large for the log.

At first I was wondering if somehow a larger red-eared slider had gotten stuck on the log, until I walked a little further and got a look at the face. I’m thinking that it was just irritated that the log wasn’t as big as it looked from afar (or from underwater).

And here is another view that gives a better look at it’s face:

It’s got a pointy nose–I’m thinking it’s a soft-shelled turtle.

So besides keeping my eye out for the turtles in different areas–I’m going to be keeping my eye out for the soft-shelled turtles as well. These guys are quite large when compared to their harder shelled relatives.

There are actually two species of soft-shell turtles that live in Oklahoma–the smooth & spiny soft-shelled turtle. The only way to tell the difference is that the spiny soft-shell turtle has distinct spines on the front & back end of the shell. Currently I’m going to go with the identification that they’re the smooth soft-shell turtles living in Boomer Lake.

No Comments naturePhotographyreptilesScience

Photography Challenge Day 96: Fishy Friday Edition. The French angelfish from the New England Aquarium.

Today’s Fishy Friday post winner is the French angelfish that was sitting on the artificial coral at the New England Aquarium. These are fish that live in the waters of the western Atlantic from Florida down through the Caribbean and south to Brazil.

French angelfish at the New England Aquarium

They feed on a variety of different foods including sponges, algae, soft corals, and tunicates—to name a few food sources. It’s a good thing that the corals in the aquarium are man made. Younger French angelfish will also clean the parasites and loose scales of larger fishes—including some that would probably like to have them for lunch as well. When in the wild, French angelfish actually are spotted in pairs.

Once they pair, they will defend a feeding territory from other fishes, and they reproduce via broadcast spawning. This is where the female and male both release their eggs and sperm into the water column above the reef at the same time. Broadcast spawning helps increase the likelihood of fertilization of the eggs, and protection of the eggs from predators that would feast upon them. During a single spewing event, the female fish can release anywhere between 25,000 and 75,000 eggs. The eggs will hatch within fifteen to twenty hours after fertilization. The young will live among plankton until they are approximately 15mm in diameter, where they then will settle onto the coral reef.

I’m not sure if there was a second French angelfish in the exhibit or not–and if there was I wouldn’t be able to tell the difference between a male and a female. I’m happy to say though, that I’m slowly starting to identify the different fish that I took pictures of (at least of those that I have non-blurry pictures of). Next goal–another aquarium and more FishyFriday photos.

References:
https://oceana.org/marine-life/ocean-fishes/french-angelfish
https://www.floridamuseum.ufl.edu/discover-fish/species-profiles/pomacanthus-paru/

No Comments naturePhotographyZoos/Aquariums

Photography Challenge Day 95: Celebration of World Turtle Day

So today’s pictures all have a common theme: turtles!!! Today is World Turtle Day–a day to celebrate turtles and tortoises, and to maybe help keep them from tumbling over the edge into extinction.

Red-eared sliders sunning themselves at Boomer Lake

So far this year, it has been a good year for seeing turtles up at Boomer Lake. I don’t think I really got any pictures of turtles last year on my early morning walks (which isn’t surprising since it was basically as the sun was coming up–they were still snoozing in the water or wherever they sleep).

Red-eared slider swimming in Boomer Lake

Managed to get a picture of one swimming on Sunday as well. According to one person fishing, there is even a bigger one swimming around the lake. He claimed it should be about four times the size of this one.

Large box turtle moving through the park

I did see this box turtle last fall moving through the park. It had been the first time in quite a few years that I’d seen a box turtle in the area. They are one turtle that I do keep an eye out for in the mornings when I’m headed to catch the bus. I will usually try to help them across the busy road (in which ever direction they’re heading). Ten to fifteen years ago, they use to be extremely common in the neighborhood–not so much these days.

Sea Turtle at the New England Aquarium

And of course, there is my favorite–the sea turtle. I’ve seen them in the wild (when I went to Hawaii), in aquariums (such as the New England Aquarium), and rehabilitation centers as well. These majestic sea creatures are some of the most vulnerable species currently–due to climate change, hunting, and the daily dangers of living in the oceans. All sea turtle species are listed at some level on the endangered species list.

I would love to be able to see a leatherback sea turtle in the wild. I would also like to make it to the Galapagos Islands and see the tortoises in their natural environment as well.

Turtles and tortoises all play an important role in their respected environments–environments that we should be protecting and not destroying. So when you’re out and about–slow down if you see wildlife crossing the road. If it’s possible (and safe to do so), stop and help the turtle(s) cross the road–just be careful if it’s a snapping turtle. The world is dark enough as it is–lets keep the light shining by helping to bring some species back from the brink of extinction.

No Comments naturePhotographyRandom Celebration DaysZoos/Aquariums

Photography Challenge Day 91: Random butterflies and moths

So today’s photographs are of some of the butterflies and moths that I was able to get today on my walk at Boomer Lake.

Well, you can tell it’s a butterfly……

So the first one I think is the state butterfly of Oklahoma: the black swallowtail butterfly. I think it is almost ironic, that both the state bird and state butterfly are only found in the state during a certain number of months. They’re both migratory species, that spend the spring through fall months in state.

I would have loved to get a closer picture–but it was flying through the trees and bushes a little too fast–and since it had just rained I didn’t want to be trudging through mud either. So hopefully sometime this summer I can get a good picture of one.

Yellow and black moth on the honeysuckle

Then as I was looking around to see if any of the rabbits were out and about, I noticed this little guy on the honeysuckle. I know its coloring–it was yellow and black, but I wasn’t able to get a closer picture (and by the time I pulled out my phone it flew off). It’s funny that when you google “yellow and black moths in Oklahoma”–over eighty percent of the pictures you get back are of butterflies. So it may take me all summer to try and figure out what species of moth this is.

Little blue butterfly

Then I saw this little light blue butterfly on the other side of the lake. This was about as close as I could get in terms of taking a picture and it having its wings open. I do know that it was a light blue in color, and there might have been a little black as well. I may actually spend a little longer time at the lake one day just trying to get some good butterfly and moth pictures.

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Photography Challenge Day 90: Two Sparrows at the lake

So today’s winner for the photography challenge were the two sparrows that I managed to get a picture of two weeks ago on an afternoon walk.

One sparrow decided it didn’t want to sit for the photo shoot.

Unfortunately, I can’t really tell which type of sparrow these two are. I know that there are several different types that call Stillwater home during spring to fall months, but I’ve never really been good at telling them apart.

It is even more difficult to tell them apart when you’re looking at their back ends (as the most distinguished marking are usually on the front & head). I do know that the sparrows like to sit and fly through the tall grasses and bushes along the edge of the lake, so hopefully this summer I will be able to get some other pictures and maybe even determine which sparrow species I’ve been photographing lately.

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Photography Challenge Day 89: Fishy Friday Edition. There are baby fish in the lake.

So today’s Fishy Friday post is going to be a short one. Mainly because I’m not one hundred percent certain on the type of fish that I saw in the lake on Sunday.

Some of the minnows swimming in the lake.

While I was on my walk Sunday, I go a certain way to see if I can spot any of the turtles sunbathing in the little cove next to the parking lot. In order to see them, you have to peek through the tall grass that is growing along the edge of the lake.

There is one little area that people have cleared, to where someone can stand and cast a fishing line out into the lake to fish. When I was standing there I looked down, and I saw probably about two dozen little fish swimming around. I’m calling the minnows, though they could be the young of some other fish in the lake.

It isn’t that often I see the little fish swimming around the lake–mainly because this is a muddy lake, and there are also numerous water snakes living in the lake (and I don’t want to cross the path of them–I don’t mind seeing them from a distance).

So it will be interesting to see how often I will be seeing small fish swimming in this area, or if they will move on and maybe I’ll start seeing some tadpoles swimming around soon.

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