Not necessarily an image you want with your leisurely morning coffee whilst browsing your WordPress reader (sorry for that). This spider is just one of the species under the genus Argiope which are known for the striking colors on their abdomen. A. keyserlingi and A. aetherea are found in Australia and we call them St Andrews Cross spiders because they sit in the very center of the web with pairs of legs together in an X shape. They also often incorporate a much larger X across the web with silk (part of this can be seen in the bottom left of this photo). Rest assured, this is one of Australia’s friendly spiders which wont kill you 😉
Month: March 2016
I was lucky enough to encounter many Capuchin monkeys in Costa Rica. After watching them for some time, I was able to observe some of their relationships and behaviors. In the first image, I had clearly met one of the more senior and respected members of the group. This individual was happiest observing the humans that were observing him, and was quite content in sitting back and allowing the other younger capuchins to cause a raucous.
They often moved together as large family groups, and when they did it was like a tornado moving through the trees. At one point they needed to cross a road, and before letting the mums and bubs exit the safety of the trees, they sent out scouts (pictured in the second image) to make sure the coast was clear. Once the scouts gave the all clear, monkey after monkey came flying out of the trees to scurry across the road and back into the jungle. Some of their leaps from tree to tree were incredibly far and seemed very dangerous, but they were completely confident and surefooted.
The monkey pictured in this last photo was caught making quite a mess with the little fruits hanging from this palm tree. Surely a source of food for these cuties, but at times it looked like it was having more fun throwing the fruits to the ground than actually caring to eat them. I think their cute little faces easily fool humans into thinking they are very friendly, but in contrary they can be quite aggressive and territorial and wont hesitate to flash some pretty sharp canines if you get too close.
Flower Friday – Serenity
This week has been a hectic one at work, which will unfortunately continue all weekend. So for todays flower I felt the need to counteract the craziness with a peaceful and serene photograph. I have no idea what this plant is named, but it had only a few glorious white flowers on a giant vine. It caught my eye because of the way the light was shining on it. I hope it brings calm and peace to you all for the ending of this week. Have a lovely weekend!
Dance of the Dragonfly
This one’s for you Walter… (for everyone else, if you want to see AMAZING dragonfly photos you should most definitely click here to visit Walter Sanfords blog). So here are my amateur attempts at photographing some dragonflies, and I’ve discovered that you need a lot of patience to do this. These first two are from Singapore, which were sitting in a giant lily pond in the national botanic gardens, a stunning place, especially if you like orchids.
The last one was from Costa Rica, and was continually circling a small pool of water outside my door. I stood for at least 45 minutes (felt like hours) in sweltering hot sun and ridiculous humidity, sweating like never before, all waiting for this dragonfly to land so I could take a damn photo. It actually did land every now and then, always in the same spot, but only for a second before taking off again and flying in circles. So I knew exactly where to point my camera and wait for the landing. Disappointingly, this was as close as I could get, otherwise it refused to land at all. So not a great photo, but I really tried!
Hopeful of Spring
This past weekend was a bit of a cold and ugly one in New York, so I didn’t get outside much. I was wishing for better spring weather, but it seems like winter is trying its best not to let go too soon. So instead I painted my own spring, just a fun, light and colorful piece to brighten up my weekend. I hope it brightens up your week too!
Flower Friday – Dahlia
When I took this photo, I never imagined this was actually a dahlia, although now that I look at the buds and leaves more closely it makes sense. The dahlias my granddad used to grow always looked like giant pompoms (which is correctly spelt pompon in French, but was misheard as pompom by the English). Anyways, back on topic… dahlias have such a large array of variations because unlike most other plants which have two sets of chromosomes, they actually have eight! This allows for a multitude of genetic combinations and contributes to the wide diversity seen amongst these lovely flowers. Have a bright and cheery weekend everyone!
A Dark and Moody Sunset
As I was scrolling through my photo collection for todays post, this particular photo resonated with my current mood. I have a cold at the moment which is draining my energy, much like the waning sun at the end of the day. This image is dark and angry much like my thoughts at having to work even when I am sick, and not having the motivation to do any of the things I love. However this image also brings hope, hope that my cold ends with this closing day, and that maybe tomorrow I will wake up bright and happy again with the new sun.
I love this image of two butterflies because to me it looks as though the pattern and coloration on their wings is as if created with colored pencils. It has a delicate softness to it. Acrobatically mating upside down, together they join to create an interesting merging of patterns, both sides slightly different but equally beautiful.
Flower Friday – Aerangis Punctata
This teeny little beauty is an orchid originally found in Madagascar, and suitably named Aerangis Punctata. The plant size is usually about an inch big, and the flower it makes is bigger than the plant itself. I would watch the bud forming for months before it opens. It forms with a curled nectar filled spur which it unfurls just before the flower opens. Definitely builds an orchid lovers anticipation! Most Aerangis orchids make perfume at night to attract particular moths which have a long proboscis to pollinate the flower. Interestingly, the nectar in the spurs of some of these orchids have a concentration gradient which gets sweeter the deeper into the spur. This encourages the moth to penetrate the spur all the way and thus successfully pollinate the flower, and not waste sugar on moths with a short proboscis. Have a great weekend!
Sometimes I think my husband believes I’m crazy by how excited I get when I see a decaying tree trunk full of perfectly formed sprouting mushrooms. I think they’re absolutely adorable, and I mustn’t be the only one. I can see why people have often drawn fairies sitting atop mushrooms and toadstools. They seem like the perfect playground for teeny fairies to bounce across, and shelter under when it rains.
Mushrooms are also a perfect example of how death gives rise to new life. In the rainforest, every time a tree dies it gives life to millions of other organisms and its legacy lives on. I hope some of you share my delight in photographing mushrooms, and if so, please share a link to your photos, as I would love to see them!