I enjoy observing and photographing almost all of the things in my garden but I have to admit that I take particular joy in capturing on film some of Mother Nature’s little oddities, those particularly strange and almost surreal creatures that makes one wonder what came into her mind during the creation process. The Ebony Jewel Wing, a type of damsel fly, always makes my heart skip a beat whenever I observe it dancing through the air.
It’s jet black wings and stunning electric blue body are amazing to behold and thankfully it is somewhat easy to photograph. If it feels threatened where it rests it will flit a short distance and land on a leaf. Luckily thanks to the color of its wings it is easy to follow to its next resting place. Once it feels comfortable it will spread its wings a couple of times and flash its brilliant body for a moment. The speed of the wing spreading is however tricky to predict and I have yet to get a half way decent shot of it. I think this could be considered my best so far.
Another of my favorite oddities is the Golden Tortoise Beetle many of which are currently feeding on the Morning Glory vines that seed themselves in my garden every year. These are much more difficult to photograph as not only are they very small (about the size of a Lady Bug) but they are notoriously shy, feeding on the undersides of the Morning Glory leaves and they will think nothing of dropping to the ground should they be spotted. Luckily this one cooperated recently.
From a distance they look for all the world like a drop of liquid gold resting on the leaves, and it is not until you get close to them, (if they let you) that you notice the absolute complexity of their tiny bodies. They are a joy to watch, and I always smile when I see my Morning Glory leaves being turned into doilies knowing that it means I will more than likely be seeing them.
This last one just makes me giggle. Every time I see it. The Tussock Moth Caterpillar.
I have this scenario in my head where Mother Nature and her helpers are having a relaxing evening after a day of hard work creating and they are sampling some of their recent recreational plants. It goes something like this.
Helper: Oh damn boss, we were supposed to create that caterpillar today and we totally forgot, you want to go ahead and do it now or wait until tomorrow?
Mother Nature: No lets do it now, okay make it fuzzy, that’s a given, (inhales and coughs) now, I know give it four tufts of hair on the back, that’ll look cool.
Second Helper: How about we give it horns! It’ll look cool with horns!
Mother Nature: Yes (laughing uncontrollably) I know, I know, give it a horn on its butt too!
Helper: And a bright red head! How about a bright red head?
Second Helper: And cat whiskers, it’s a caterpillar after all gotta have cat whiskers.
Mother Nature: And make it black and yellow stripes, and more fuzz and make the tufts of hair yellow and put a couple of red spots on its butt for good measure!. (Laughs herself into unconsciousness)
I should imagine she woke up the next morning with a very thick head and said “What was I thinking?”