Category Archives: macro photography

Zebra Swallowtail

Here is a gallery of one of my favorite butterflies that call our area home the zebra swallowtail. From Wikipedia…
Protographium marcellus, the zebra swallowtail, (formerly listed under genera Eurytides, Iphiclides, Graphium and Papilio by some authorities) is a swallowtail butterfly native to the eastern United States and southeast Canada. Its distinctive wing shape and long tails make it easy to identify, and its black-and-white-striped pattern is reminiscent of a zebra. The butterflies are closely associated with pawpaws, and are rarely found far from these trees. The green or black caterpillars feed on the leaves of various pawpaw species, while the adults feed on flower nectar and minerals from damp soil.

The zebra swallowtail has a wingspan of 6.4 to 10.4 cm (2.5 to 4.1 in).[3] The triangular wings are white to greenish white with black longitudinal stripes. A pair of swordlike tails extend from the hindwings. The inner margin of the hindwing has two blue spots on the corner and a red spot near the body. A red stripe runs along the middle of the ventral hindwing. P. marcellus has two seasonal forms, one occurring in the spring and the other in the summer. Spring forms are smaller, more white, and have short, black tails with white tips. Summer forms are larger, have broader black stripes, and longer, black tails with white edges.

The zebra swallowtail can be seen from late March to August in the northern portion of its range and from February to December in the southern portion. It has two broods in the north and three to four in the south,with the first brood being the most numerous
Males will patrol near host plants in search of females, flying swiftly and directly.They usually fly 0.5 to 1.8 meters (2 to 6 ft) above the ground. Females will fly slowly when searching for suitable host plants.Both males and females avidly visit flowers, including species from the families Apocynaceae, Brassicaceae, Fabaceae, Lythraceae, Polemoniaceae, and Rosaceae. Males participate in a behavior known as puddling, in which individuals congregate on sand, gravel, or moist soil to obtain salts and amino acids.[7] These nutrients aid the male in reproduction. Other food sources include rotting fruit and urine.

Since the caterpillars are cannibalistic, females lay their eggs singly on pawpaw leaves or on the tree trunks. The round egg is pale green, later turning orange brown. Young caterpillars are black with lighter colored transverse stripes. Older larvae have two color forms. The more common form is green with yellow and white transverse stripes; the rarer form is black and banded with white and orange. In both forms, between the swollen thorax and the abdomen, there is a yellow, black, and bluish-white band. The larva has a yellow, foul-smelling, forked gland called an osmeterium which it will use to deter predators, especially spiders and ants. The chrysalis is either green or brown, and is more compact compared to chrysalids in the genus Papilio. Three small horns project from the head and thorax. The chrysalis hibernates in areas of its range with cold winters.

Sorry for the long post but I do find the info from Wikipedia very useful there is just no way I could collect and write that much info I just will stick with the photographic part of it.

Advertisements

Butterfly Survey

It’s been my best year yet for butterfly photography and attending the butterfly survey at Big Oaks NWR was a definite highlight..
Joseph R. Robb made the experience not only a educational adventure but also guided us thru one of the most beautiful and diverse ecosystems in the midwest. My son and I cant thank him and all the others enough who volunteered their time to make it such a wonderful experience.
We counted 46 different species and a rough total of 1590 butterflies what a great day !!
Can’t wait till next year !!!

Wildflowers

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

This slideshow is an example of just a few of the many wildflowers that I captured this year here in Jefferson County Indiana. They were all photographed in Clifty Falls State Park earlier this spring.

Some of the best wildflower displays I have ever witnessed came from our own backyard and if giving a chance you should get out and experience the wonderful natural diversity that this area has to offer.

Clifty Falls State Park, Splinter Ridge FWA and Big Oaks NWR are just a few places to go and view the beautiful display of wildflowers that inhabit our home.

Virginia Bluebells / Clifty Falls State Park Wildflowers

Changing up a bit here and I think I will start posting images from what is my favorite subject to photograph and that is wildflowers. And I will share them from one of my favorite spots to photograph at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana.

Clifty has an incredibly diverse amount of wildflowers and some of the finest displays in the midwest. If you get a chance to visit in mid to late April I would definitely make the trip I don’t think you would be disappointed not only are the wildflowers worth the trip but hiking in the park is second to none.

The subject I am sharing today is also one of my favorites and that is the Virginia Bluebell.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Mertensia virginica (common names Virginia bluebell, Virginia cowslip, lungwort oysterleaf, Roanoke bells) is a spring ephemeral plant with bell-shaped sky-blue flowers, native to eastern North America.

Virginia bluebell has rounded and gray-green leaves, borne on stems up to 24 in (60 cm) tall. They are petiolate at the bottom of the flower stem and sessile at the top.

Flowerbuds are pink. Flowers have five petals fused into a tube, five stamens, and a central pistil (carpel). They are borne in mid-spring in nodding spiral-shaped cymes at the end of arched stems. Flowers are usually blue, but white or pink flowers occur rarely.

The stamens and stigma are spaced too far apart for self-fertilization. The flower can be pollinated by bumblebees but, due to its funnel shape bumblebees must hover, making the bumblebee a rare pollinator. Butterflies are the most common pollinators because they can easily perch on the edges and still enjoy the nectar.

In early summer, each fertilized flower produces four seeds within wrinkled nuts, and the plant goes dormant till the next spring.

Plants are hardy to hardiness zone 3: −40 °C (−40 °F).

That is the detailed description which I am too lazy to come up with myself and I will share one of my original images I captured earlier this spring.

Hope you enjoy the info and image and thanks for taking the time to stop by and take a look.

 

virginia bluebells 1 2015

Luna Moth | Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Wildflowers aren’t they only thing I get to photograph, here is an example of a wonderful Luna Moth that I came across on a recent trip to the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. I found this wonderful subject laying on a boulder getting ready to take flight, and for what seemed like an eternity this beautiful flying flower stayed in this one position and let me capture some really incredible images of it !!

I was really blessed to find such a beautiful and majestic creature, most specimens of moths that I come across seemed to be severely battered, but this beauty was in all it’s glory and I was so thankful for such an experience. Thanks for stopping by and taking a look, hope you enjoy the image !!

 

 

luna moth great smoky mountain national park 2014

 

Porter’s Creek Trail| Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Here are a few more images from another great trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Porter’s Creek might be my favorite trail for wildflowers and that’s because of one small little flower and that’s the White Fringed Phacelia, or should I say millions of them !!

Walking this trail starts out with a nice gentle trail that has many of the different flowers that grace the park, but after traveling up the trail for a mile you cross over a very entertaining log bridge and then walk into a different world. All across the floor of the gorge and up the side of the mountain are millions upon millions of these little flowers, it actually looks like you had just experienced a snow fall.

It seems like it is right out of the Lord of the Rings or some other fantasy movie, it is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.  The actual bloom is about the size of a nickel which isn’t the largest broom out there, but when you have several million growing together it makes for an incredible sight to witness.

If you ever get a chance to travel to the park in the spring this another one of those great hikes you will be glad you took. So here are a few shots from the hike, I included a macro version of one the plants and then some of the actual trail itself, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

 

gsmnp 2013 fringed phracillia  5

 

 

 

portrers creek trail fringed phacilia 4 2014 great smoky mountain national park

 

 

portrers creek trail fringed phacilia 1 2014 great smoky mountain national park

Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I thought it might be time to move on from the wildflowers we have here in Madison Indiana and venture on to my favorite spot to photograph and that’s the The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee.  If I could only have one place to photograph at for the rest of my life it would be here, the diversity of flora and fauna and not to mention the incredible landscape opportunities make the GSMNP  a photographers dream.

This past April we made a trip down to hike and work all the great spots for wildflower images. Even though wildflowers cover nearly the entire park there are spots where if you make the trip you have to visit and these include Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, White-oak Sinks, Chimney’s Top, Porters Creek and Cucumber Gap. These are all fantastic trails to view and photograph wildflowers and they are also relatively easy hikes as well !!

I won’t share many images from each trail but I thought I might just share a few today and post more later. First we have some shots from Cove Hardwood Nature trail. I hope you enjoy the images and if you ever travel to the Park in the spring these trails are a must see on your visit !!

 

 

 

Yellow Trillium

cove hardwood nature trail yellow trillium 1 2014

 

Large Flowering Trillium

 

cove hardwood nature trail trillium 3 2014

 

 

Sweet White Trillium

 

 

cove hardwood nature trail trillium 1 2014