Kite flying

This is possibly my last post for a week so I wanted to find a good one to go out on. I am also celebrating a modest milestone in ‘hits’ to the blog.

This image is from October 2005 and was taken with my 1D mk 2 and a 400mm F4 lens.  I hope you like it.

Have a good weekend one and all.


Epic failure

Another glorious day other than for the fact that the AQ index is back into the core of Very Dangerous and of course the PQ index remains at an all time high. I decided this morning that I would have a go at photographing Lamproptera curius, or the White Dragontail. I have seen this species quite often but never really tried to photograph it as it seems to jink like Phil Bennett or Barry John. Not unlike photographing a swallow in flight. There are some good images of this species taken whilst puddling and some flash shots too but I prefer natural light and that means fast shutter speeds can only be obtained with a higher ISO. But I wanted to try as I had seen the butterfly yesterday and it looked just a little more sluggish.


There were two spots at my local park where the butterfly seemed positively common. Not once however did I see it settle for more than a nano-second and in the first ninety minutes not even for that long. It is described as swift and agile. Well it was certainly making a fool out of me. When it came close it jinked and darted with no obvious flight pattern. When nectaring it went down under the top of the plants and was completely obscured. Autofocus relies heavily on contrast and there was insufficient most of the time. I tried manual focus but with the lens wide open anything fractionally off meant there was not enough DoF to cover it. I spent three hours in the same spot trying to get one decent shot. In the end I can submit two “artistic” shots – that means blurred. All the rest were trashed. So here is the output from my epic failure morning.



There were other butterflies around of course. I think people wandering past were somewhat bemused at my indifference to them but I was hell bent on getting my image.

I also saw more lantern bugs today than on any other visit to the reserve.

I don’t really like the twig in the background but the light was best from this angle. I spent about 30 minutes with just two of the dozens of the bugs.

Then I had a go at the Crimson Darter otherwise splendidly known as Crocothemis servilia servilia. Here are two shots. The first is with my 5D mk3 and the second and arguably better is with the SX50 HS.

And of course monochrome must. Today a simple shadow play on the tree trunk.

My imagination ran riot and I called it “Shadows” (no Cliff).

So another morning passed and sadly tomorrow is a chores day so no playing in the park, neither taking photos nor poisoning pigeons, Tom Lehrer style. Until next time.

PS. I don’t really poison pigeons. Honest.

Fall Guy

I’d like to start on a serious note. I started blogging ‘seriously’ almost one year ago. It was a retirement decision. Something to keep my brain active. I don’t know much about anything but I do know how to appreciate the world about me. I was recently a little surprised to discover that the blog has over one hundred followers but there is a hard core that keeps coming back for more, leaves a ‘Like’ and an occasional comment. Thank you for doing so as if you didn’t, I would stop and probably my brain would atrophy pretty quickly. Sometimes it can be quite hard work to blog regularly and I am afraid a short hiatus is imminent when Mrs. Ha and I decamp to Korea for a short break. I doubt if I shall be allowed the luxury of taking my laptop with me. I am, shockingly, about to discover what is behind the curtain if you turn right when you get onto an aircraft. This experience is apparently part of a ‘package’ that we have bought but is one I would have happily foregone. If I survive the ordeal I shall report back.

It is quite hard to be upbeat today when we look at the mess the world is in. Cast your eyes about you and name me one statesman amongst the deadwood that claims to lead the world. Yes they are generally very bright, well educated and sound of mind. But they never show any evidence of that. Look how they preach armageddon everywhere. Cheer up chaps, the world is about to end. Toddle off to your bunker, lock yourself in, pull up an armchair, pour yourself a stiff drink and wait for the trumpet to sound. Incorruptible. What a joke. Do they ever think that there might be a link between the reluctance of the people to go out and spend (Mrs. Ha excepted), the resistance of firms to invest for the long term and the messages of impending economic destruction they constantly preach? What is a retired man to do with his modest savings? Buy gold, don’t buy gold, hoard cash, buy bonds, sell bonds, go long equities, go short equities, sell your granny, buy real estate, sell real estate…… Well my suggestion is to ignore the whole lot of them, carry on as if everything is normal and enjoy what is left of the planet. It doesn’t work but it makes you feel better.

Today was perhaps the best day of the Autumn so far, or Fall as some of you recognize it. I am indifferent to how you refer to the season as long as it stays like today. 25C, 70% RH and lovely soft sunshine. The Air Quality index is down to Dangerous even if the Politician Quality index remains in the Very Dangerous zone. This was a view from my local patch today.

If you want a little entertainment (and don’t we all) today you can play that well known and popular quiz game, guess the camera. There are two to choose from, or if you wish to be pedantic, from which to choose.

I was surprised to see my old friends the lantern bugs out and about this morning. The must be mutivoltine. Here is one I found right by the path:

I also found a deserted wasp nest.

Although wasps tend to get a bad press they are master craftsmen. This is a very impressive construction.

I also found a cicada – clinging to a tree trunk well above head height.

I was quite impressed with this, even if I say it myself. I also took some plant photos. I am not much of a botanist so I can tell you only one of the three species names.


We have these growing in our garden and I didn’t know until today that they were called Zephyranthes candida. The next ones I still have to find a name for.

Almost there folks….. hang in there! Another bug on  a flower, in fact a hover fly on a yellow head. Its probably an Eristalinus sp.


And something I have never seen before…….. a bagworm emergence! My timing was fortuitous and this was a pretty large one. Look left, look right, look left again. If all clear, quick……EMERGE!

I wasn’t a member of the Tufty Club for nothing, you know.

And because no blog is complete without a monochrome, here are some of the trees from the LNEC, without their greenery.

And that is it for another day or so. Don’t forget….. which photos were taken with the 5D3 and which ones with the SX50 HS? Its your vote at home that counts.