Tag: flowerphotography

Photography Challenge Day 13: Ruby-throated hummingbird

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the ruby-throated hummingbird.

I’ve always been intrigued by hummingbirds—they’re small, quick, and they beat their wings constantly.

Lately, I’ve also been trying to remember that when I was younger I felt a little like a hummingbird.

In that I could dive into a subject, immerse myself, learns as much as I could and then move on.

Ruby-throated hummingbird at the rose-of-Sharon

I did this for class projects: there was the paper over the Culture of India (and I covered everything from architecture to music to philosophy), to diving into the history of Peru (though I don’t think I ever wrote a paper over this—so that may be something to go back to) and medieval England.

I’ve always been fascinated with birds—I have quite a few bird encyclopedias in my storage unit, plus numerous articles that I had clipped out of the papers as I was growing up to make a scrap book on them.

So what does fascination with birds, culture and history of other countries, and everything else have to do with hummingbirds?

Ruby-throated hummingbird at another rose-of-Sharon

When I had taken the Clifton Strength Assessment test back in both 2017 and 2019, my top strength was learner.

This trait fits people who have a love of learning (though they have to be drawn to the topic), love digging into new things, love researching topics and ideas and gathering information.

These individual have been likened to hummingbirds in that they will deeply investigate on subject before moving on to another—similarly how hummingbirds will investigate flowers for their nectar before going to the next flower.

Until I took the test and saw the top strength as learner—I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed learning, reading, investigating, and putting the information together in some format.

Getting my undergraduate degrees took awhile—because I was ‘bouncing’ between ‘flowers’ (aka different subjects)—but I did manage to get my two degrees and minor (though now looking back, I should have taken that last six hours of sociology to get that minor as well).

Graduate school, allowed me to dive deeply into a subject that was still fairly new and I was learning different techniques and systems. The first postdoc was where the love of learning started to dwindle—while the topic was slightly different from grad school—what I was being taught really wasn’t, and therefore I got bored (only realizing now, exactly why I was getting bored so early—if I had realized it then, things might have gone differently had I asked for either another project or figured out a way to strike up a collaboration with another lab).

The second postdoc allowed me to dive into another system and I learned quite a bit—though I didn’t like being told to read up on other things in my spare time. I learned in both staff positions—more so in the first (only because I was working with undergrads in several different labs on several different projects) than the second. It has taken about ten months of self-reflection to realize that one of the problems that I had with the last position—I was bored; while I had been told I could ‘collaborate’ with other labs on projects, the only labs I could think of would have required me doing experiments and those aren’t something that you can schedule to only take 1 to 2 hours a day.

As I now move forward—I have to remember that I’m like a hummingbird, where there needs to be ample ‘flowers’ around for me to sample; I may hang around one or two longer than others, but at least I won’t get bored.

This is something that I will keep in the forefront as I start looking towards either my industry transition or freelancing/working for myself–I need variety to keep busy–so for me (at least mentally) it is better to be both a jack-of-all-trades and a ‘specialist’.

Have you taken the Clifton Strength Assessment Test? What was your top strength?

No Comments bird watchingcareerflowersnaturePersonal DevelopmentPhotographyprofessional developmentReflections

The bee on the chive flower: Photography challenge day 8

So I’m basically going to be a day behind in the photography challenge, unless I manage to do a double photography post at some point.

The winner for today’s entry is the honeybee on the chive flowers.

Honeybee on the chive flowers

The honeybee (and actually all of the bee clade) is actually only native to Eurasia, but humans took them to four other continents (Africa, Australia, South & North America).

In terms of recognition—there are eight species recognized, but with a total of 43 subspecies. These subspecies are populations of bees that living in different areas and have different morphological characteristics. Out of those species—two have been domesticated for honey production and/or crop pollination—the eastern & western honeybees. Other bees may also produce & store honey—but not to the extent that the eastern & western honeybees manage.

Honeybee on the chive flowers

One way to help these insects is to plant bushes, flowers, veggies, herbs, and other plants that are native to the area (or at least not totally invasive) that can attract the bees and help them survive.

We have numerous bushes in the yard that flower (crepe myrtles, rose-of-Sharon, wisteria, clematis, flowering quints, and others), in addition we also have various herbs planted, though the only one that really flowers is the chive.

Chives are a flowering plant that produces edible leaves and flowers (though we leave the flowers alone so that the bees, wasps, and butterflies have something to also feed on). They are also related to common onions, garlic, shallot, leek, scallion, and the Chinese onion. These are one herb that once you plant; they will come back up for a couple of years (unless there is a really cold snap, and I’d guess less than 0 degrees).

This year I’ve managed to get the picture of bees, flies, butterflies, and wasps all resting/feeding on the chive flowers. A new goal for next year—record and see how many of which species land on the flowers.

Do you like chives? If so–what is your favorite recipe for them? Another thought–maybe once I have my own place, I can become a part time beekeeper. Are you (or someone you know) a beekeeper? Have you ever thought of becoming one??

No Comments flowersinsectsnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 208: Spider webs

The winner of today’s photography challenge are spider webs. They were chosen mainly because I liked how all the water droplets looked on them in the fog.

Spiderweb

So one of the places I head every week to try to get pictures of the egrets, herons, and other birds is the dock. Every morning, there are numerous spiderwebs strung between the supports on the dock. Sometimes I see the spider on the web, but most often I just see the webs.

These two webs were pretty close together, and I liked how the water droplets clung to the silk strands of the web.

Spiderweb and flowers

Then I saw these pink/purple flowers that had a spiderweb woven between them, but again–I didn’t see the spider, just it’s web.

Spiderweb in a tree

Then as I was heading towards the other side of the lake, I noticed that there were several spiderwebs in the trees. They didn’t necessarily have water droplets sticking to them–they were insulated from that, but I liked how they looked.

Flowers, a web and it’s spider

So I didn’t realize that I actually managed to get a picture of a spider on it’s web while on my walk. I think at this time I was focused on the flowers, but also managed to get the picture of the orb spider on it’s web.

The seasons will soon be changing–Monday is the fall equinox (first day of fall), and that means that the temperatures will start to fall. Probably slowly for a month or so (we are talking climate change after all–and we still have quite a few flowers that haven’t opened yet on numerous Rose of Sharon bushes), and then quickly until we hit winter temperatures.

That means that the spiders are already starting to prepare for the next year–those that only live a year, are looking for mates, and then the females are looking for areas that will withstand the cold, winter temperatures so they can lay their eggs. The young spiders may or may not hatch, if they do–they’ll spend winter together and disperse in the spring; others will wait to hatch until the spring and then disperse to find new homes.

I think that I’ll continue taking pictures of the webs until they’re gone, and then I’ll keep an eye out for them in the spring. I’ll also keep an eye out in the spring for the wolf spiders that will be coming out of “hibernation” as well.

No Comments naturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 198: The chives have flowered

So the winner of today’s photography challenge are the flowers of the chive plant, and the numerous different insects that have visited them so far.

One of the several stalks of chive flowers

There have been numerous different insects on the chive flowers so far, though I haven’t been keeping count (or actually watch for a specific amount of time).

One species of wasp on the flowers.

This summer I’ve seen a couple of different wasps, and some flies. I’m pretty sure that the butterflies are coming through–just not that often when I’m around with my camera.

Mating wasps on the flowers??

So it looks like some of the wasps were also potentially mating on the flowers as well–I thought that this was a really weird looking wasp. Once I got the pictures on the computer–it looks likes two wasps (or other flying insects) potentially were mating (or one was cannibalizing the other).

Butterfly on the flowers

Though this one butterfly did come through the yard on Saturday, and stopped on the flowers long enough for me to get a couple of pictures of it. I also think that this is the silvery checkerspot butterfly (more on this in another post).

No Comments butterfliesflowersinsectsnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 197: The plant optical illusion (short post)

So the winner of today’s photography challenge is the Rose-of-Sharon in the backyard. I was spending time doing photography this afternoon and I liked the way that the flowers of the one Rose-of-Sharon looked.

It looks like Johnny/Number-5 to me…..

It wasn’t until I was reviewing the picture, that I realized it reminded me of Johnny/Number-5 from Short Circuit. If you’ve never seen the movie–you’re forgiven (I’ve aged myself with the reference).

The plot of the movie is a robot discovers self-awareness and consciousness after being struck by lightning. With a little help, it tries to evade being recaptured and reprogrammed while at the same time trying to prove “it’s alive” to its creator.

While the movie is over thirty years old, it is a wonderful movie–and if you haven’t seen it, I strongly recommend it.

No Comments flowersnatureOptical IllusionsPhotography

Photography Challenge Day 188: Grasshopper hiding in the grass

The winner of today’s photography challenge is a grasshopper. I noticed this guy hanging out in the flowers of some grass (if I had to wager a bet—it is either switchgrass, or a close family member).

Grasshopper in the grass

So grasshoppers go through five different molts between hatching from the egg and the adult—but they look like an adult in each stage (just smaller and slightly weirder—as I shared some pictures of the younger nymphs earlier this summer).

This one was just chilling in the flowers, though I’m sure that if I got any closer it would have jumped towards other tall grasses in the area.

A little on the grass (as I’m going to say that I’m pretty sure that it is either switchgrass—or a close family member), it was probably thinking of chomping on. Switchgrass (Panicum virgatum) is a perennial warm season grass that is native to North America. This is one of the many plants that is being groomed as potential biofuel plants. One of the main reason why it is being looked at: it isn’t part of the food chain for either humans or cattle (or other farm animals).

It can also grow in areas that other plants can’t—such as high salt, and brackish waters. It has a very good root system—so it can also work in erosion control as well. It comes back year after year—and before we started building cities and towns in the middle of the prairie—it was one of the major native grasses.

I actually worked with this grass during graduate school (it was the focus of my dissertation)—and I am always amazed to see how tall it grows in the wild (in the lab—it’s height is limited by either the growth chamber or being trimmed back in the greenhouses)—it can get up to six feet tall pretty quickly in some areas.

No Comments flowersinsectsnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 171: Wisteria seed pods

The winner of today’s photography challenge are wisteria seed pods.

Wisteria seed pods

The wisteria is a climbing vine that is native to the eastern part of the United States. This flowering vine is actually a member of the pea family—which is one reason why it’s seed pods look like pea pods.

Though unlike peas—wisteria plants are poisonous, so it shouldn’t be planted in areas where child play, and shouldn’t be planted in areas where someone might accidentally pick the seed pods and eat the seeds.

We have the wisteria growing along the back fence, and I’ve been thinking of trying to start a new wisteria vine elsewhere in the yard—that way once it does flower (in ten to fifteen years), it can be seen closer to the house, and it may add value to the house whenever it comes time to sell. The only thing is—I’ve never tried to grow the plant before (the one we have, we got as a smaller plant from a friend who was thinning her’s out).

But I’m thinking that I’ll check on the wisteria over the next couple of months and maybe pick a seed pod or two, and see how many seeds are inside. Then I’ll dry them out, put them in an container for the winter and then try planting them somewhere in the spring. If nothing else, we’ll get some green growth going as the vines are suppose to start growing rapidly.

No Comments flowersnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 143: the rose and I do miss gardening

Today’s winner is the red rose. We have a climbing rose vine on the side of the house, that seems to grow taller each year.

With the way the weather is going, the rose vine actually flowers in early to mid spring, and is done by the time the summer temperatures hit. Some years are better than others in terms of how many roses bloom on the vine, and whether or not I remember to get out and get a picture of them.

Red rose

This particular rose vine has flowers that are both red and then ones that are on the pinker side of things (or that may be how the light was reflecting off of them as I was taking the picture).

The roses do attract the bees during the early months of spring before other plants are even thinking of flowering.

The rose vines

Did you know that there are over 300 different species of roses, with thousands of different cultivars (which is a plant variety that has be produced in cultivation by selective breeding—usually for color, texture, or some other physical property).

We use to have smaller rose bushes in the backyard–but the Saint Bernard didn’t like where I had planted them, and she pulled them up. The bush only survived getting replanted twice before it died. One thing I might do when I move is start a small garden in pots and maybe look into have a mini rose bush in my kitchen or living room (depending on which room gets more sun).

Having plants (gardening) is one way of naturally dealing with, and lowering stress and anxiety levels. While everyone can’t have a full size garden in the middle of the city–there are community garden areas (I saw one or two out in Boston), and I’d guess even having small potted plants in the apartment can help deal and lower stress and anxiety levels. If nothing else–they’re pretty to look at.

What I’m thinking of doing is an small herb garden, have a few flowering plants, and then some cacti as well. I just want to make sure that I will be in a place long enough to enjoy the benefits of getting the plants (it would be a pain to start having plants only to give them away if I have to move long distance again–I don’t think they’d survive the move).

But that is still at least eight to ten months out–what I can do now is try to clear out the front garden, so that flowers and bulbs can be planted in the fall. The flowers would give immediate color, and the bulbs if they survive the winter–flowers and color in the spring, summer, and maybe fall. This will be something to do in the earlier hours of the morning on the weekends (at least until the heat index is below 95 by 3:00PM).

No Comments flowersnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 142: The coral (or trumpet) honeysuckle

Today’s winner of the color/flower photography challenge is the orange-red honeysuckle flower. The name honeysuckle refers to members of the genus Lonicera, which include arching shrubs or twining vines (though most species are vines).

This particular type of honeysuckle I see on my walks around Boomer Lake, and also up at the bus stop in the mornings. They are definitely more of the twining vines than arching shrubs. I’m pretty sure that this is the coral or trumpet honeysuckle, with how the flowers look like mini-trumpets.

Trumpet honeysuckle growing at Boomer Lake.

These plants are native to the northern hemisphere (so this includes any country/land mass that is north of the equator). To date there have been ~180 different species identified throughout the northern hemisphere, with over half the species being found in China.

I love the flowers as they are nice and fragrant, and bring back childhood memories of picking flowers and sucking the nectar out of them. The flowers also attract hummingbirds and butterflies that also like to drink the nectar as well. Though I do see some bees around the backyard honeysuckle in early spring when they’re just started to flower.

The trumpet honeysuckle is a native species to the eastern parts of the United States. There are several different cultivars of the plant that have been grown and selected for their variation in flower colors. Depending on where they’re growing in the US, they can be considered either evergreen (in the warmer climates) or deciduous (in the colder climates), this also can result in their flowers being pollinated from mid-spring through the fall by hummingbirds and various insects.

One thing I didn’t realize (or more accurately haven’t thought of) is that they also produce fruit. The honeysuckle fruit can be either a spherical or elongated berry that can be either red, blue, or black in color. While the most of the fruits are non-edible for humans, they are edible for wildlife—which allows for the spread of the plants (which is one of the numerous ways that plants ensure their survival).

I’m going to have to try and be on the lookout for the berries this fall—not to eat, but to photograph.

No Comments flowersnaturePhotography

Photography Challenge Day 141: The yellow-red iris

So continuing with a combination (flower and color) scheme today–the winner is the yellow-red bearded iris that we have in the front yard. We have them planted in a couple of different areas in the front yard, but only one actually flowered this year (the rest just showed the leaves).

Yellow-red iris

So the name iris–actually refers to both the flower and the genus Iris (which has somewhere between 260 and 300 different species within). The origin of the genus name comes from the Greek goddess of the rainbow–Iris.

I’ve realized over the past few years that I have probably planted them in the wrong areas of the yard (they’re all currently under trees), to where they aren’t getting that much direct sunlight.

The one that flowered this year, it did get direct sun during the day off and on (depending on how the leaves were coming out on the trees). The ones that were planted in the other front garden, they’re in total shade. I may have to go out in the spring and dig them up and replant them in a more sunny area of the yard.

Hopefully if they’re replanted in sunnier spots, they’ll flower and attract the bees, butterflies, and hummingbirds. Gardening is something that I enjoy doing (when it doesn’t feel like a million degrees outside), and maybe just maybe I need to start trying to make it a priority again (even if it’s small container gardening to begin with).

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