52+ Photos: Week 1 & 2

Photos: Week 1 & 2

Okay, internet, let's do this thing!

For 2014, I'm gonna make an effort to post a photo a week, and I will get better. Or I won't. This may not be one of my skills, but I WILL give it a try.

The Rules (such as they are:)

1. One a week. If the week comes and goes without photos, and I don't have a damn good reason…um…we'll figure something out. (Posting late is fine, though. Let's not go crazy.)

1a. If I get more than one photo a week I like, I'll post it.

2. They do not have to be good photos. Which is good, because many of them won't be. For every staged thing I spend two hours setting up, there will probably be a cat photo. And that's okay.

3. I retain the right to use horrible filters akin to Photoshop lens flare because this is how we learn. I will also crop, maul, fiddle and abuse, because I can.

4. There will be cat photos.

5. My camera of choice is currently an iPhone 5s, because that's the only way I'm actually going to do this. The best camera is the one you have with you, etc. I have a DSLR somewhere, but I'd need to order new thingies and I don't love it the way I love my iPhone.

Since the year is marching on already, here are the photos from weeks 1 & 2:

Week 1:

Thrush-Bob!  Taken with an Ollioclip telephoto lens clipped to my phone and the basic Camera app, and subjected to a white grunge frame because I wanted to see how they looked. (Answer: Meh. Suspect this is the photographic equivalent of licking your knife at the table.)

I photoshopped out some, but not all, of the thrush turds.

Week 2:


Taken with the Camera+ app and subjected to some filter or other. Also photoshopped out a couple sauce stains on the stove.

If I was trying to do this again, I think I'd move the black spoon rest so that the outline of the pot was clean, and change the angle so that the handle is actually overlapping the circle of the lefthand burner, rather than touching it. (Just barely touching, or almost-but-not-quite touching, activates a space visually and makes you stare at it for no damn reason.) Might also crop out the oven hood, since I don't think it adds anything up there.


Angus the cat. Think this was the Camera Awesome app, not sure. Not quite enough light on this one, so tweaking made him rather more two-tone and orange than he really is. The filter adds some purple, which compositionally is a good thing, although there are undoubtedly more elegant ways to do it if I wanted to take the time.

And that's weeks 1 & 2! Tune in…eventually…for more!

52+ Photos: Week 3

Photos: Week 3

Hard on the heels of yesterday…I have a couple this week, and a couple of thoughts, such as they are! (Critique is welcome, but be kind–I'm still new at this!)


Angus the cat, taken in Camera+ and filtered therein. Turns out if you blur around the edges, for whatever reason, it tells the brain that whatever you are looking at is very very small. (Well, my brain. Your brain may be different.)  So Angus looks like he ought to be in a dollhouse or something. Interesting to know.


Sammy the cat is acting Very Dignified here.* Taken in Camera+ and given a bit of filtering. I would have liked to be able to ditch the dresser in the background, but alas, Sammy's wiggling did not allow for much posing (and if I'd tried to change the angle, she would have sat up and assumed it was petting time!) I think it'd probably work better if the bedspread continued on the other side, say.

Still, y'know, wiggly cat photo!


Why I Should Not Be Left Alone At World Market. (After some cropping, this is actually one of the better composed photos I've taken this week. Probably that says something profound about me.) Would have been nice to find a way to work the one sign on the right in–it said "Water Closet"–but I could only fiddle with stuff on the shelf so much without enraging the staff.

*Sammy is probably the least mentioned of our felines, because frankly she doesn't have a lot of personality beyond "Pet me. Pet me now. Pet me more. Pet me. Pet me. Pet me."

52 Photos: Week 4

Photos: Week 4

Kevin was out of town this week, so I started about eleven hundred projects in order to keep from going bonkers. (I am hella productive when I'm solo. I think it's because I get restless and wander around and start drawing when I'd normally just poke Kevin a few times and laugh maniacally. This is useful for my self-worth but bad for my mood.)

Despite these projects, I only took a couple photos and I didn't do any of the "sit down and stage this and fiddle with lighting" stuff that I wanted to do. (But I did write over 8000 words, so that's not a bad thing!)


This is my absolutely straightforward not-bothering-to-compose workspace photo. Were I doing this more staged, I'd move those pens touching the painting, and maybe see if I couldn't darken the background bits more. (I am enjoying the pink bunny painting, though!)


Obligatory Cat Photo. This is Sergei, who is actually extremely lean but was caught in an angle of fluffiness. Taken and filtered with Camera+

I think part of my problem is that I need…I don't know, narrative. There has to be a figure. I'm bad at still-lifes, I want some little tiny moment of the hero's journey, even if the hero is a vaguely anthropomorphic vegetable. I have a sort of idea I'm working on that may put that to rest, but at the moment…cat photos.

52+ Photos: Week 5 & 6

>52+ Photos: Week 5 & 6

Well, those weeks got away from me.

I have been busy, and I think the weather is getting to me. Lots of stuff is getting done–or at least words are getting written–but part of my brain is going oh god the world is broken and it is so large and I am too small and I cannot fix it and nothing is working and everything is going to hell and someday I will stand before the saints and angels to justify my existence and they will say "Everything going wrong with the world, and the best you could think to do was plant heirloom beets?!"

The fix for this is either more sunlight or less stupid people and I suspect buying a sunlamp is easier.

But I did get a photo done! Only one, but it's something!


Species #2 Eastern Comma & #3 Saw Greenbriar

Species #2 Eastern Comma & #3 Saw Greenbriar

Yay! Two new species for my Fifty Species Goal!

Things have been a bit slow since it's been freezing here, but fortunately I added two species this week, so I'm feeling a little more on track. (More imporantly, moths are beginning to congregate around the porch light, and that's usually a bonanza!)

Species #2: Eastern Comma


This butterfly showed up very early this year, before any of the others. I was afraid we'd lose them to the ice storms, but fortunately, they seem to have stuck around. The Eastern Comma is nearly identical to the Question Mark and I can tell the difference only by relative size (Commas are smaller) and our local Question Marks tend to have much darker hindwings. Question Marks are common visitors to the garden, being fond of damp earth/gravel/mulch and (sigh) dog poop. The Comma, however, is new.

Species #2: Saw Greenbriar

This pointy, stabby climbing vine is one of the vast Smilax clan–Smilax bona-nox, to be precise. It is currently infiltrating my tea camellia. I don't know how I feel about that. (Apparently they are super-duper edible with the new shoots and the tubers and all, but foraging is a little outside of my comfort zone.)

Smilax glauca was a known quantity in my garden, but S. bona-nox only showed up last fall, and I only got around to digging in and figuring out what it was today. So that's kinda neat!

See also: Species #1: Blue-Headed Vireo

Fifty Species Goal: #15-23

Fifty Species Goal: #15-23

And to think I was worried about getting fifty species in a year! Now I'm starting to think I underestimated the case! I may have a shot at 300 total this year! (I currently am in the mid-200s somewhere–thought I was over 300 already, but going back and tallying the spreadsheet shows I am lower than I thought.)

A sentiment I've heard occasionally–generally cheerfully uttered!–is that the extraordinary diversity in my garden is a result of either extreme good fortune, obsessive targeted gardening, or great location in the unspoiled woods. Or because it's huge.

Well…not exactly.

There was a study done in England a decade or so ago that looked at biodiversity of insect species in gardens, and what they found is that a bigger garden does have more species than a smaller garden, but not by as much as you'd think. If my garden is twice as big as yours, I will probably not have twice as many species, unless other factors are in play. Even quite a small patch of garden, and a water feature literally the size of a plastic window box, will bring in a vast array of species. (An older garden does have more species, interestingly, probably because trees and shrubs are a huge draw.)

As for location–well, species found on the edges of woodlands are different from those found in cities and suburbs, but not that much more numerous–and not, it should be said, noticeably more rare.  Being totally crazy on the native plant front, and having a lot of trees around helps, but the tree thing happens in a lot of cities too. (Hell, I got more bird species in the city than I ever do here, simply because I was an oasis there–the Central Park Effect writ very small.)

The only species that are probably going to be more numerous for me than someone in a suburb are the various amphibians and reptiles, which are plentiful locally and have a harder times in cities. But that's a very small percentage of my species list.

The primary reason I'm sitting here cruising towards 300 resident species is because I'm the sort of obsessive individual who looks. That's all. I am willing to go out at 10 at night and photograph the moths buzzing around the porch light (and then I go back in and turn the porch light off, so that they don't get too fried.) All I've got that's specialized is a pretty good cell-phone camera and a willingness to join ID sites like BugGuide.net and BAMONA.

(And a willingness to look like an idiot chasing bugs around. That last is pretty important. And yes, I still scream and duck when the moths fly for my face. I'm not actually that fond of bugs, I just think it's important to know what they are.)

So if you're wondering if your postage stamp sized yard is enough to make any kind of difference and feeling discouraged–believe me, it can and you will. You may have to be cleverer about it than I am–I have the luxury of space–but that's honestly not hard. I am enthusiastic, but often not bright.

Okay! Enough pep talk! To the critters!

#15 — Pseudacris crucifer Spring Peeper

A frog! Woo! This is actually a pretty common species, and we've probably had them for ages, but this is the first year they've been calling separate from the chorus frogs and I've felt confident in the call ID, so I'm counting it here.

#16 — Nemoria saturiba Red-Splotched Emerald


Originally thought this was a Red-Bordered Emerald, but the red spots on the body are apparently the tell. This makes him a lot more obscure. (And by obscure I mean "There are two sightings on the BAMONA website, and I'm one of them.) He feeds on sweetgum leaves.

#17 — Acleris nigrolinea Black Lined Leafroller

Another obscure one, and also a pretty uninteresting little insect, I must say.

#18 — Melanolophia canadaria   Canadian melanolophia

These are swarming my porchlight in vast numbers at the moment. They're a weirdly tall moth–they stand up away from the wall instead of lying flat.

#19 — Iridopsis humaria   Small Purplish Gray

One gets the impression that they ran out of clever names at this point.

#20 — Egira alternans   Alternate Woodling

I was saying on Twitter that this one sounds like a folk-electronica band.

#21 — Copivaleria grotei   Grote's Sallow

This one looks a lot like a bird dropping. It feeds on ash leaves.

# 22 — Eupithecia matheri

There is no common name for this species and not many sighting reports. The Eupithecia clan all look alike, and trying to tell them apart is tricky. A good many of my sightings get rejected as "Eupithecia, but can't tell which one from photo."

#23 — Achatia distincta    Distinct Quaker


So it turns out that there are a kajillion different Quaker moths. Highlights include "Ruby" "Rustic" "Subdued" "Cynical" and "Intractable." I love those last couple so very, very much.

Next week I am off to Texas and the 50 species goal will be on hold–but hey, at least this is getting me taking photos, even if I fell off the wagon on the Photo A Week thing!


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© Автор: monah