Friday, November 29, 2013

A Purpose

Macro photography has given me a profound appreciation for the beauty and wonder of nature. Insects are a huge fascination as I learn about their purpose, marveling over colors, markings, and body appendages. I'm like a mad scientist observing the world through my "microscope." Many times I'm left shaking my head, thinking God MUST have a sense of humor. Right?

Each insect in our world plays a role in the balance of our environment. Whether they're located somewhere on the food chain or ridding the garden of pests, we should respect them and learn of their impact on our ecology before employing chemicals to rid them. Some bugs may already be performing that duty for you, like the assassin bugs below. These little orange dynamos stalk gardens and fields looking for insects to devour—often insects that cause harm to plant life.
A new generation of assassins ready for battle.

Candy-striped leafhopper - cute and colorful, but not good for plants!
Their distinctness and colors are not visible unless magnified. Only 3/8" long, this insect is considered harmful to plants.
With piercing, sucking mouth parts they feed on plant juices, violently shooting the excess out of their rear ends. Pierce's
Disease is a bacteria that is often transferred from the leafhopper into the plant. Grapevines and other woody plants are mostly
affected. This bug is ready to jump at a moment's notice and does it so quickly that if you blink, you'll miss it, not seeing
where he went! I thought this was a pretty bug until I learned how harmful they are.

Sweat bees and cuckoo wasps are so similar in appearance that it's difficult to tell them apart. For the sake of argument, I'll say
this is a sweat bee, in the family Halictidae, since they are a little more common for our area. It's the first time I've ever seen one
and I think it's beautiful.  These insects are attracted to human sweat in order to lick the salt. They will give a mild sting if
disturbed. These efficient pollinators visit four to eight flowers per minute, carrying significant pollen loads on their hind legs.
Many plants benefit from sweat bees, including watermelon, blueberries, and alfalfa.

Eastern tiger swallowtail butterfly.
A beautiful specimen - I'll just leave it at that.
Fascinating are the workings of nature and the important role of even seemingly insignificant creatures. Transferring this same logic to humans, if you meet someone that is crude or rude, that person is teaching you something. One of my favorite quotes is, "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning" by Catherine Aird. How true! By the same token, I have met people that have a rough or gruff exterior, but inside there is a heart of gold. With these types it takes time to peel off the layers to get to the good parts, and when you do, you may discover a loyal friend or learn valuable lessons.

In conclusion, I'm thankful for those around me that model what I strive to be and also what I do not want to become. And I'm thankful for all the little bugs that keep my garden healthy. Amen!

42 comments:

Barb Brookbank said...

I love your glorious insect images - that first one is amazing and so funny! the second bug is pretty, but... maybe not so nice?

Linda R said...

WOW!! These are such amazing shots. I LOVE the one of the Ants. What a great capture. Great post my friend.

Hugs~

Amy Burzese said...

Love, love that first shot . . . marvelous. Looks as if it were staged. Thanks for including all the information to go along with your shots.

Brian King said...

Fantastic detail as usual! Whether beneficial or harmful, the colors are beautiful! Macro reveals things we normally would never see.

Willow said...

Wow , I am have a love for macro with nature too . It bring me even closer to seeing what I sometimes miss. Your macro ad always is fantastic !
Some day, one day I am going to have a camera that can capture macro in such beautiful detail.
Thanks for giving me the thrill !

Buttons said...

Oh Gail I am loving the world through your macro lens it is truly spectacular. I have spent hours watching the little things in life and you capture every little speck. Incredible. "If you can't be a good example, then you'll just have to be a horrible warning" never heard that quote before but it makes sense to me. I am sure your Thanksgiving was wonderful. HUGS B

Cynthia Schelzig said...

What gorgeous shots....especially the one with the ants..it looks like they are doing choreography. I must say since I try to get up close and personal with the bug world I am not so afraid of bugs anymore,,,that is until a giant spider JUMPED on me
but I lived and so did he...I guess in the old days I might have stomped on it probably but since I get up so close I realize the beauty that I never took the time to see before and that is what you show here with these wonderful fotos.

TexWisGirl said...

just gorgeous, gail. we're happy you're into macro photography! :) we get to be on the receiving end of your fascinating finds! just love that army of assassins!

stiefbeen said...

prachtig je laat mooi de schoonheid van de natuur zien.

Karen said...

Fabulous macros Gail! The candy-striped leaf hopper is incredible.

Pallavi said...

The pictures are beautiful Gail . The first picture is my favorite! The army of assassins :) I do enjoy your blog a lot and have awarded you the Leibster Award. Details on my blog :) Thanks for being an awesome blogger!

Tina Fariss Barbour said...

These are beautiful! The army of assassins are amazing. Thank you for sharing the photos and the information. I love learning about ecology and how nature--including us--are so interconnected. A lovely post that gave me much to ponder, Gail! :-)

Linda said...

The army of assassins is amazing. The little leafhopper IS beautiful, in spite of his harmfulness to plants. If that's a sweat bee in the one photo, it doesn't look anything like the ones I've seen. Of course, I've never stared one in the face before...at least not this up close and personal. That's an amazing shot. Love the swallowtail, too.

I've never considered being grateful for someone who models what I DON'T want to be...but you're right. It's a good reminder to guard against that behavior.

Starla said...

I've been gone this past week and OH MY!! What glorious photos to greet my eyes this morning!!LOVE the insect lesson, The blue monarch is STUNNING. BUT! My favorites have to be the macro shots of the water. OOOOO!! I now NEED a macro lens!!

Hilary said...

What a fine post all around, Gail. I love the thoughts that these amazing insects evoked in you. That first image is just incredible. What a comical group. And I have to agree that the leafhopper is indeed beautiful but what an interesting way that it does harm. I like the way that you snap and the way that you think.

schmidleysscribblins.com said...

Fascinating. I would faint if I met an assassin bug my size. I almost feel sorry for their prey. Almost. Great shot Gail. Dianne

Ruth's Photo Blog said...

Seeing the insect world through you macro lens is eye-opening. I get a new appreciation for them. Thanks for sharing.

Donna said...

Love all my critters and peeps...great post!

Terri Buster said...

Super macro shots Gail..especially the assassin bugs...very cool!

rainfield61 said...

Is there "somebody" taking macro shots on us?

OMG!

bailey-road.com said...

That first image is amazing, Gail!

Renae of Simple Sequins said...

Man Gail! You do your homework. I just wonder what brand I am buy at the thrift shop, but you, you know all of these critters by their official names. I would just say its a pretty bug or an ugly bug. hahahaha.

Yes, I too appreciate our blog relationship. I was so in hopes you would be thrilled with Baby Z's photo. Your sweet prayer helped him very much!! That was taken the day he got to go home. But it is my favorite and I have had it on instagram for weeks. It dawned on me that not everyone of my blog buddies do Instagram so I posted him for a THANKSGIVING MOMENT/EVENT of a kind of post. Because I am so THANKFUL that he pulled through. whew. God is great and ...yes, he does have a sense of humor! (those bugs in that first photo prove it.) LOL

Barbara said...

You have the tools, but the beauty of these photos comes from your use of them... your eye and sense of art. Beautiful!

Kleine Waldameise said...

Wow, what beautiful photos. These colors and brilliance. The little animals I do not even know. The second is reminiscent of a leaf bug, but the pattern I do not know. Fantastic.

Wants a nice weekend
Waldameise

Cath.H.C Photography said...

Very nice post!
Thanks & Welcome for your comment and your next visit to my blogs.
Have a nice day! Cath.

Bill said...

Such an interesting world that most never take the time to explore. Wonderful macro shots!

Richard Pegler said...

Fabulous images of insects that are absolutely new to me. Superb photography, Gail! Thank you for showing them to us.

Melissa said...

Some interesting bugs you've got down there! The only one I've seen before is the swallow tail. I especially like the line up of assassins. And the candystripe guy doesn't seem to have very good camouflage..even for a bug he looks sort of yummy!

eileeninmd said...

Gail, amazing macros! The first insect shot is just awesome! Have a happy weekend!

Barb said...

Gail, I love your blog! What incredible macro photos - the insects are so fanciful in appearance. I like what you say about human encounters - we have much to learn!

Laura Delegal - Leroy Photography said...

I agree. I love being able to see the unseen. I appreciate it more. Great captures, Gail.

Pam :) said...

I've never seen such amazing shots of the bug world before. Simply specular Gail.

EG CameraGirl said...

NICE! I love the details in these images!

Wally Jones said...

A wonderful post!

When you do it, photography and philosophy just seem t go together.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

These are so wonderful...every insect is beautiful... (I didn't know that before you started sharing your remarkable macros.) Your photography should go far toward persuading people not to use pesticides...

Tree Hugger - Suzan said...

It is fascinating how insects have hairs or spikes coming out of their bodies!! I don't know the assassin bug - wonder if we have them in the Atlanta area!!

Linda at To Behold The Beauty said...

Hi, Gail. Just had to stop back and say congratulations on your POTW mention over at Hilary's!

Anvilcloud said...

Nice work, and congrats on your PTOW recognition. I should get myself a macro lens someday.

Jackie said...

Great shots. I love the photo of the assassin bugs.....such li'l soldiers they appear to be. Congratulations on the POTW.

TexWisGirl said...

congrats on another POTW!

Kerry said...

My gosh those assassin bugs are cool looking all lined up like that. I love macro shots! But with my little camera the slightest movement causes a blur. Tough get a good pic that way, but your shots are amazing.

Big, well-deserved congrats on your POTW!

Merisi said...

Congratulations on Hilary's POTW Award, well deserved!

That first picture truly is unique, awe inspiring!