Sunday Stills: What’s #Bugging You?

Blue and black dragonfly

How is it the first of August already? For folks living in the northern hemisphere, most of us are experiencing the hottest outdoor temperatures of the year.

With hot temps, guess who comes to visit? Bugs! Whether or not you are a fan of insects, this is an opportunity to look closely in your gardens (or the floors of your homes?) and search for what is bugging you.

If all insects disappeared, all life on earth would perish. If all humans disappeared, all life on earth would flourish.

Jonas Salk

Truth be told, I rather like most insects. I find many of them beneficial to gardens and even places indoors. Spiders are not insects but rather arachnids with eight legs. Insects have six legs. If I find a hapless spider fumbling to climb out of the bathtub, I’m known to get a tissue and help it out…then throw it outside. I do the same for moths. Perhaps I sound like a misguided Mother Nature, but I’ve seen too many 80s horror films in which the bugs strike back against the mean humans by swarming and devouring or growing to giant sizes and biting off heads. Insect karma…sounds exciting, right? No?

The bugs I dislike are ants, cockroaches, ticks, and flies. Not a fan of black widow spiders either.

Speaking of exciting, I’m responding to Marsha’s Writers Quotes Wednesday Writer’s Challenge (WQWWC) prompt—exciting!

Dragonflies and Praying Mantis

I do get excited when I see dragonflies. My all-time favorite is this one of a dragonfly molting out of its exoskeleton.

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood
Molting Dragonfly

I’ve come to understand that the most exciting thing about life is change.

Mark Inglis

I found this one a few days ago. When it didn’t fly away from the tomato plant upon my intrusion, I nudged it and it was dead. Forever immortalized in photos.

Blue and black dragonfly

Praying mantis are pretty cool critters, too.

This is a California Root Borer, a type of “longhorn beetle,” I found on my doorstep. I don’t know what it’s doing in Washington, but it’s about 2 inches long. They fly at night and only live for two short weeks.

Root Borer Beetle
Big, scary-looking, but harmless root borer beetle

What’s Bugging Me About Our Property

Delay after delay, that’s what.

Last week the cement floor was finished and the gravel driveway was completed. There is a delay with the shop doors. Building slow-downs have been a major problem in the construction industry, because:

  • 1. Many workers are staying unemployed because they get better pay than working a real job, and
  • 2. Because there are fewer workers, deliveries are delayed and materials are not available.

We are so close to the finish line and plan to close the loan this month!

Life needs to be like a roller-coaster ride with ups and downs. Otherwise, it’s not exciting.

N. T. Rama Rao, Jr.

This is one roller coaster ride I could do without–I have enough excitement in my life.

OK, back to the bugs…

Bee-utiful!

Enjoy my gallery of bees on various flowers. Without bees as pollinators, we would starve.

Flowers are shared for Cee’s Flower of the Day challenge. All photos in this post are shared for John’s CellPick Sunday.

Be sure to checkout my Sunday Stills page for August themes. Please note, I am planning a three-week end-of-summer break between August 22-Sept 5.

Geometric Bloggers Links

Sunday Stills is a wonderful community of bloggers and photographers who desire to connect with one another. Below are last week’s links from bloggers who shared their favorite geometric photos.

Next week’s theme will be images related to your favorite song lyrics. If this is unclear, it might be best to think of your favorite song(s) and highlight some lyrics with your photos. Here is an example from Marsha and my example from 2017: My Favorite Things. Also, to avoid copyright infringements of published lyrics, only post a few lines rather than the entire song. If you write poetry or your own songs, you can certainly use your work for this theme!

Thank you for your continuing support of Sunday Stills! I appreciate your beautiful creative photography, poetry, stories, and fun conversations! Have a great week!

© 2021 Copyright — secondwindleisure.com — All Rights Reserved

Sunday Stills: #Wild and #Weird Perspectives

Wing Surfers

This week’s theme of “wild and weird” offers photobloggers a chance to share your random photos for Sunday Stills. You know, the ones you take that you can’t classify or end up in the miscellaneous file?

I have quite the collection, but will share just a few with you today.

Take Your Medicine…

…If you can catch it. I take a daily medication each morning and sometimes if I have a headache I add some behind-the-counter Sudafed (red pills) and aspirin. One morning, as I placed the handful on the counter, they fell into this pattern.

Pills

Amazing the tiny little Sudafed even stayed on its side! Of course, I ran to get my phone and capture the weird moment. Yes, I felt better after I swallowed them.

WING Surfing? Say what now?

Wing, not wind! Most of you know we spend summer weekends in the Sacramento River Delta. Because of COVID, we got a delayed start but drove down to the County park for a day trip in early May. Hubby windsurfed while I sat in the truck bundled up against the too cool wind. Out in the water, I kept seeing what I thought was a kiteboarder struggling with his sail in the water. A moment later, I looked again and saw this:

Wing Surfers

I had my good camera with me and zoomed in and stood in awe as I watched the birth of a new water sport: wing surfing, also called wing foiling. Foiling is a newer sport that adds a special hydrofoil to a modified windsurf board or kiteboard. The foil has a propeller that pushes the board above the waves and surf for a smoother ride.

The wing is connected to a leash attached to both the wrist and ankle, so it doesn’t get lost with the inevitable crash, or fly away out of control.

“Although it was conceived to be used with a foil board, it can also be adopted for riding stand-up paddleboards (SUP), windsurf and kiteboards, and even skateboards and snowboards. It is also a lot of fun on a big touring SUP board. It’s difficult to paddle when it’s windy, especially with five or ten knots. With an inflatable wing, it’s easy and entertaining,” notes Robby Naish, the developer of the Wing-Surfer.”



https://www.surfertoday.com/surfing/what-is-wing-surfing

I would try it with my paddleboard, sans foil…

How Does a Bumble Bee Fly?

bumblebee on sweetpea

Did you know that bumblebees should not be able to fly, based on their large bodies and disproportionate small wings? According to a 2005 study, high-speed photography showed that they flap their wings back and forth rather than up and down, reminiscent of hummingbirds.

“The wing sweeping is a bit like a partial spin of a helicopter propeller, researcher Michael Dickinson, a professor of biology and insect flight expert at the University of Washington. The angle to the wing also creates vortices in the air — like small hurricanes. The eyes of those mini-hurricanes have lower pressure than the surrounding air, so, keeping those eddies of air above its wings helps the bee stay aloft.”

https://www.livescience.com/57509-bumblebee-facts.html

Speaking of Insects

Have you ever seen a dragon fly? Maybe not a “real” dragon–wouldn’t that be weird!

orange dragonfly

Of course, we have, but this rust-colored one that has been hanging around my backyard lately is spectacular.

Backyard Alien Bird

My backyard attracts quite a few birds when the feeders are full, including hummingbirds, crows, kites, turkeys, robins, blue jays, mockingbirds, and finches.

But this guy is one I’ve never seen before and he put on quite the show with his acrobatics on the feeder. I took a LOT of photos. Anyone know what kind of bird this is? I’m thinking some kind of finch as I look at his beak. Hopefully, they will stay away from the dragonflies!

A Neighbor’s Alien Flower

Out during my usual dog-walking, and mesmerized by a neighbor’s sunflower in April, I spotted this unusual flower.

passionflower

I’ve never seen anything like it and it looks like several different parts of other flowers cobbled together. It took my brother-in-law who lived in Chile until age 9 to recognize it as a passionflower! Who knew? And how is it growing in hot, dry Sacramento? Pretty, but weird. Sharing for Cee’s Flower of the Day.

Over the Moon

And speaking of alien and spacey subjects, June 20th is the 51st anniversary of the US moon landing. Because you have seen all my moon shots, how about a weird shot of a SpaceX launch caught flying over the top of our family home in San Diego in December 2017?

SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California

Or this image of apple pie flavored moonshine to celebrate? I may feel a little weird and spacey after a couple of shots of this stuff!

Got moonshine?
Got moonshine?

Wild and weird images create fun and unique perspectives and are also submitted for Becky B’s Square Perspectives Challenge.

I look forward to your wild and weird photos this week for Sunday Stills. C’mon, you know you have them! Dust them off and share away!

Until next week!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: What Do the #Shadows Have to Say?

dragonfly's shadow

Shadows. This was a theme I had been considering from my long list for Sunday Stills, then realized I instinctively chose it for Groundhog Day. This seems to be an East Coast tradition, as Punxsutawney Phil, the long-lived groundhog, makes his annual weather prediction of when we can expect spring to unofficially begin.

Although we basked in the light in January with Becky B’s square photo challenge, this week Sunday Stills will explore the absence of light, the shadows.

The eye is always caught by light, but shadows have more to say.

Gregory Maguire

Let the shadows in your images be the subject. Different than a silhouette or a reflection, a shadow is a dark area or shape produced by an object coming between rays of light and a surface.

Shadows produce depth and interest to an image. Although most photographers prefer well-lit images, even a shadow created by a setting sun can steal the show.

fire in the window

Shadows play in front of and behind these fall leaves.

Red Fall Leaf in Shadow

For landscape shots, the winter’s lengthening afternoon shadows create a vivid contrast in the image.

Cave Creek, Arizona
Cave Creek area, near Phoenix, AZ

This semi-transparent windsurf window hanger casts an orange shadow on a wall … or is it a reflection? Hmmm.

My hubby mugs for a photo at Valley of Fire State Park. Note the three shadowed figures with their phones.

shadow selfie

This dying dragonfly rests in our trailer, but casts a shadow full of life!

dragonfly's shadow

Got shadows? Share your shadowy images this week! I’m looking forward to not only your fab images, but your poems, music, stories and quotes!

© 2020 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

Sunday Stills: It’s A #Bug’s Life

Bee on Lavender

This week’s Sunday Stills photo challenge theme is all about a bug’s life.

Do bugs bug you?

I am tolerant of most bugs except black widows, ants, and cockroaches. In other words, I will go out of my way to save a hapless spider or insect that is trapped in the tub, or the random crane fly (they look like giant mosquitos) that gets stuck in the house.

I’m not alone in my thinking…

“I never kill insects. If I see ants or spiders in the room, I pick them up and take them outside. Karma is everything.”

Holly Valance

My husband and I both love dragonflies. This one was at the end of its life and had flown onto the outdoor sofa at our delta campground. I took it inside and put it up onto the blind valance where it rested peacefully and beautifully until the end.

Dying Dragonfly

By now, you know I love shooting macros and close-ups, either with my camera or my Galaxy Note 10+.

Recently I took my dogs for an early morning walk and saw the bees buzzing around the neighbor’s lavender bush. Placing my phone carefully among the flowers, some bees still chased me a little as I hurriedly backed away, but I think I got a great shot!

Bee on Lavender

In another nearby garden, the butterflies flitted happily among the colorful flowers.

yellow butterfly on pink flowers

I get inspiration from a lot of things around me – nature, hills, people, and even insects.

Ruskin Bond

Here are some oldie-but-goody images of other insects I have captured with my lens.

Remember the molting dragonfly? I was truly transfixed by this moment and lucky to capture it all.

Molting Dragonfly: The Wonders of Nature

Recently, with my camera, I caught the lovely pink lady in the Sierra Foothills last June.

Pink Lady Butterfly

My last blog post about bugs was The Bugs of Summer, where I showed my image collection of some interesting bugs!

This whip spider, found in Mexico, was quite frightening!

October’s Sunday Stills themes are available here!

What wonders of the insect world can you share? I can’t wait to see what sorts of bugs you like or would like to see eradicated from the planet. But keep this in mind…

We hope that, when the insects take over the world, they will remember with gratitude how we took them along on all our picnics.

Bill Vaughan

Until next time,

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© 2019 Copyright-All rights reserved-secondwindleisure.com

WPC: Thanks for the Photographic Memories

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

The WordPress Weekly Photo Challenge has been a staple on my blog since January 2015, when I began submitting to its new theme each week. 

This is the last week that the weekly photo challenge will prompt bloggers like myself to stretch our imaginations and take a photograph that depicts the theme. The last theme, appropriately is All-Time Favorites, where we are to share our favorite images from past WPC posts.

This was one of my first entries into an amazing world of photo blogging! Expressive Dock Eagerly Awaits Visitors

Lake-Natoma-Dock
Lake Dock

Not only did this photo pop, but it was one of my better attempts at a decent blog post title.

Here are a couple of fan favorites and one of mine:

Legs cast shadows and reflections
Reflections and Shadows

SpaceX Launch
SpaceX Launched 10 satellites into space from Southern California

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood
Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

These photos are different in nature but all seem to have unusual features: a downward focus to catch both shadows and reflections; a fleeting moment in space, or a macro shot of Mother Nature in action. This is the creativity the WPC inspired in me,  to think and see like a photographer every minute of the day.

The weekly photo challenge was responsible for providing me with hundreds of followers over the years and was instrumental in improving my photography over the last three years, and I credit it for linking me with so many other amazing bloggers who share their photos in posts each week. I will seriously miss this blogging event!

I must give a special shout-out to a fellow blogger and Northern California neighbor, Frank at Petaluma Spectator Blog.

Lumix cameraWhen I began shopping for a REAL camera, I reached out to Frank by e-mail asking what camera he used for the WPCs. Not only did he share the information on his favorite camera (Panasonic Lumix FZ300, which I purchased), he sent several messages with the links to good photography practices. And he even sent me a hard copy photography book!

Without Frank’s help and inspiration, this amazing world of photography I find myself in would not be the same. My photography has certainly leveled up all because I developed a relationship with a fellow blogger on the subject.

 

To me, photography is an art of observation. It’s about finding something interesting in an ordinary place… I’ve found it has little to do with the things you see and everything to do with the way you see them. Elliott Erwitt

Although I hate to see the WPC go, I thank the WordPress team at the Daily Post  for the support and prompts to help new and veteran bloggers stretch our wings and soar!

Stuck for ideas? Why not join these photo challenges hosted by your fellow bloggers?

Cees Photo Challenges 
Thursday Doors 
Tourmaline Jennifer Nichole Wells 
Sunday Stills (hosted by me)
Visit this WordPress Daily Post Community Event page for more blogging events!

Terri_sig_hib1

The Structured Life of a #Dragonfly

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

Dragonfly nymph sheds into adulthood

As bloggers, I believe most of us are quite structured in our daily approach to writing; at least we try to be.

The weekly photo challenge asks us to share images that show Structure of something typically overlooked.

This past summer, as I enjoyed a day on the beach where we windsurf, I had the chance to photograph something amazing! In the wooded area less than a foot behind our beach chairs, a dragonfly nymph found a safe place to shed its exoskeleton and enter into adulthood.

“When the nymph is finally ready for adulthood, it crawls out of the water onto a rock or plant stem and molts one last time. It takes up to an hour for the adult to expand its body.” Source: 10 Fascinating Facts About Dragonflies

Even in the strong breeze, this smart little fellow stuck like glue onto the log as he emerged from the structure of his previous skin.

Molting Dragonfly: The Wonders of Nature

 

The breeze blew his now dried exoskeleton further from him.

Dragonfly leaves skin behind

It was amazing to sit and just watch this phenomenon of nature, while he seemed content to dry his wings in the sun.

A new adult emerges

The structures and cycles of nature are truly remarkable!

I wonder if we have the power to shed our old skin with the gracefulness and bravery of a dragonfly?

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