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Monte Bello Flowers and Insects

Yesterday I posted the wide angle vistas from my hike at Monte Bello Open Space preserve, and today I’m sharing the macro flowers, insects, and a bonus underwater friend. A lot of late spring/early summer wildflowers are blooming to the point where I started to get overwhelmed feeling the need to photograph every single new flower! Thus my hike took a lot longer than I imagined it would and I wished I had brought two sandwiches instead of one.

Here are the best flower photos of the day. Quite pleased with these (and still in love with my fancy macro lens and its magical properties)

There were many butterflies and moths. Most of them were flitting about quickly, and I had no hope of capturing them in a photograph. But one kind butterfly (or moth? I’m not sure I know the difference) sat still and even let me approach without flying away.

Monte Bello Mothra

Later, I saw this caterpillar and I wondered if it could possibly be the same species pre-transformation, due to the similar colors. Let’s pretend it is just for fun.

Monte Bello Black Caterpillar

Leaning over a bridge watching the water, I noticed something slowly crawling on the bottom of the stream. It’s funny to me how slow salamanders are compared to lizards, which are quick as lightning.

Monte Bello Salamander

Finally, a couple more flowers, with a bit of editing for fun.

Monte Bello Spiny White FlowersMonte Bello Tiny Orange

 

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Ladybugs

I went for a walk between Seal Point Park and Coyote Point today and found a surprising number of ladybugs.

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They have an impressive ability to hang on to plants that are waving in the wind.

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I learned something about my macro lens with these ladybugs, and that is that my photos using manual focus are much, much better than the autofocus photos. I’ve been a little wary to trust my extremely near-sighted eyes to be able to see when everything is in focus though the glass of my eyeglasses + the lens of my camera, but apparently that wariness is misplaced and my ability to see when I have the focus I want is just fine. I’m sure this will improve my macro photos in the future.

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Point Reyes – Bear Creek Trail

There were several challenging things about this hike that made photography difficult.

  1. I am out of shape and it’s hard to focus on photos when you’re focusing on not dying.
  2. Mid-day sun is really harsh and difficult. The shadows are so dark and the highlights are so bright. Toward the end of the day it started getting better, but I much prefer the early morning or late afternoon for photos. However you can’t hike for 5-6 hours in nice light, because Earth doesn’t work that way.
  3. It was hot and my glasses fogged up when I put the camera to my face. I am *almost* tempted enough to try contacts again, but I just know how uncomfortable they are for me. Hopefully my new glasses won’t do this as much since they are smaller.

Anyway, I took a lot of photos and some of them are decent. Here are some images of the lovely scenery:

Beach, with waterfall:

And, of course, flowers (and a butterfly)!

It’s a learning experience. Luckily, I live here! So I can do it all again and improve my photographs each time.

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Snails

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One morning it was raining and I was almost certain I would not be taking any photos that day, but I brought my camera with me anyway. I have already learned this lesson: Bring your camera anyway.

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While I was driving the 15 miles from my home to work, the rain stopped and the sun started peaking over the horizon. So instead of going straight to the office, I stopped at nearby Bedwell Bayfront park to see what sorts of birds might be congregating there in the early hours.

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There was quite a selection of birds, and I managed a few photos, but the best pictures of the morning featured an unexpected subject: snails. I noticed that there were many snails crawling up some dead stick-like weeds. This was the smallest thing I had attempted to photograph with my DSLR so far. Since I don’t have a macro lens, I had read about how to photograph small things with a zoom lens. I crouched down so that I was at the level of the snails, keeping some distance between myself and them.┬áIf I had been using my iPhone, I would have gotten as close as possible.

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From a distance of about 4 feet, I zoomed in on the snails and was able to capture several pleasing images with nice soft backgrounds. Here is another area where using a DSLR shines- the ability to create nice soft backgrounds. Occasionally I would do this with my phone, but it was not something I could reliably replicate.

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Why do snails climb after rain? I guess only snails can know.