Wednesday, October 21, 2009

My "Macro" hike

As much as I enjoy hiking with Kenny and my friends, sometimes I like to go out on my own so I can take my time photographing. If I want to spend 30 minutes taking photographs of slime mold, I can without feeling guilty! :) Today I went on a "macro" hike. No, I didn't put in 20 miles, in fact, I probably got in only 2 or 3 (with ~25 pounds of equipment on my back, I didn't want to walk too far!). Today I wanted to try out my new "toys." When I had to replace my camera last week, I ordered extension tubes too. I was anxious to try them out, so I headed to Haw Ridge. Most of the day I shot just using my 105mm macro lens and a 36mm extension tube. I was amazed at the difference adding the extension tube made! Here is an orange slime mold that I photographed using it. I enjoyed seeing the detail in these pretty little fungi. It was fun to look for tiny plants, fungi and insects to photograph. There are so many amazing things around us that we miss because we are in too big of a hurry or not observant enough to notice them. I was glad this little leafhopper (right) was cooperative with me!

I noticed something red moving on the bark of a tree trunk. They were tiny red Velvet Mites that were about 1 mm. There were some ants running up and down the tree too, but it was difficult to keep them in focus.

Most of the wildflowers are gone now, but there were a few asters, goldenrods and some Stiff Gentian in bloom. I was excited to photograp this green, metallic bee on an aster flower in this photo. Notice the interesting eyes this bee has (click on the photo to enlarge it).

I hadn't seen Stiff Gentian (Gentianella quinquefolia) in several years, but today I saw many plants blooming up on the ridge.

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