Thursday, June 21, 2012

A mother rabbit and kit

I saw this rabbit with its baby in front of my apartment when I came home from class, I was able to get lots of photos of the two of them. I've seen this rabbit at the same place before but I didn't know it had a baby and I haven't had a chance to photograph it until today.

Saturday, June 9, 2012

Hummingbird moth

Here are some photos I took last week. I found this hummingbird moth near the canoe launch ramp near the Edward Ball Nature Trail. I think it's interesting how such similar behavior and anatomy can arise in animals as distantly related as birds and moths.


Saturday, May 19, 2012

Damselflies in Pensacola

 I recently moved to Pensacola to go back to school and I've only started to explore the nature trails around here. This morning I went to the Edward Ball Nature Trail, which is right next to the UWF campus. There's a nice boardwalk through the woods there and it leads to a place for people to ride their mountain bikes, which I haven't been to yet.

The first six photos here were taken with my 105mm macro lens in P mode, which tends to choose a low F number like 2.8. I found I got better photos of the skink with a higher number, such as 13 though. The nice thing about P mode is that if you don't like the settings the camera chooses, you can roll the click wheel and get different settings that should have the same level of exposure.

I took a number of photos of the damselflies on this trail. These metallic blue ones are larger than the ones I usually see in South Florida.

Skinks like this one are very common on this trail. I mostly just heard them running through the leaves when I approached, but this one stayed put long enough for me to take a photo.

These photos of this slow-moving stream were taken with my 18-55mm zoom lens, which was the kit lens that came with my camera.

A Magnolia flower. I tweaked the colors a bit in Photoshop for this one.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Box turtle

This box turtle came out last time it rained. We don't see box turtles very often, the gopher tortoises seem more common, especially since we have several with their burrows in our backyard.

I used my telephoto lens for this photo. It's useful for taking photos of shy animals.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Birds at Pepper Park

A couple weeks ago I went to Pepper Park with my mother, who painted there. I took some photos of birds. There were lots of royal terns and a few other birds. These were taken with my telephoto lens.

There were a few sandpipers poking around the Sargassum weed that had washed up on shore. I took a number of photos that didn't turn out very well because they were between me and the sun. This photo was taken with the sun to my back, so it came out nice.

Royal terns. They look a lot like cartoon characters.

A dove near the parking lot.

My mom painting. You can see what she painted here.

Friday, January 6, 2012

Quarantid meteor

I went out on the neighbor's dock around 3 AM during the Quarantid meteor shower. It was very cold for this part of Florida and the ramp going down to the dock was covered in ice, so going up and down the ramp with an expensive camera was dangerous.

This is the only meteor I was able to capture on my camera, even though I set up a timer so that it would repeatedly take 30 second exposures. I used ISO 1600, thinking that a short-lived meteor might not expose properly at a lower setting. I probably could have got away with using ISO 400 or lower. The high ISO setting is the cause of the graininess of this photo. I used a wide angle lens to get as much of the sky as possible. Telescopes and binoculars are useless for seeing meteors, it's best to use a camera or the naked eye.

Meteor showers like this one occur when the Earth passes through clouds of sand-grain-sized particles that are ejected into space as the surface of a comet sublimates when they pass near the Sun. These tiny meteoroids enter the atmosphere at great speed and burn up in the mesosphere from friction and from the heat caused by compressing the gases below them as they fall at many times the speed of sound.

Little Blue Heron 2

Here's that little blue heron again. It was slowly walking back and forth between two docks looking for food. I used my telephoto lens for this photo, and I waited underneath one of the docks for it to walk by.

Saturday, December 31, 2011

Black racer

I found this black racer sunning himself on a pile of old lawn debris. It was a somewhat cool day so cold-blooded animals like this snake need all the sun they can get. Black racers like this one are a very common nonvenomous snake in this part of Florida.

I used my telephoto lens for this photo. Black racers are shy and will slither away if you get too close.

Monday, December 26, 2011

Little Blue Heron

I've seen this little blue heron on the neighbor's dock many times. It is very shy so the only way I can get a good photo is with my telephoto lens. Even then, it usually flies away while croaking. The little blue heron is not a songbird. Today I had the lens zoomed in all the way, to about 300mm, and I used the cloudy setting on my camera, as it was a very gray day. Once I had the photo on my computer, I tweaked the color and contrast a little and cropped it to 50% of its original size.

Insects on a desert rose

The weather's been unseasonably warm this winter so far. We actually have the air conditioner on and it's the day after Christmas. Today it rained. These insects were hiding from the rain underneath the seed pod of a desert rose.

These photos were all taken with my 105mm macro lens. I set the camera to AV mode and tried various aperture settings until I found one I liked. 

Zebra longwings on Christmas night

Last night I went outside after dark to look for these butterflies. They rest on twigs and vines at night. Their zebra coloration actually works well to conceal them, as at night, they resemble dead leaves on wild grapevines from a short distance away.

I used my macro lens, a tripod, and a flashlight. This photo was taken with a 0.5 second exposure and ISO 6400. You can tell it was a high ISO setting because of the considerable graininess of this photo.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Green anoles

Green anoles are a fairly common lizard in Florida. Around here, they're not as common as the Cuban anoles, an invasive species that has outcompeted green anoles in recent decades. I found these two anoles mating on the leaves of a gumbo limbo tree.


This is just a picture of some mud and silt on the bank of the Indian River, I thought it looked interesting so I snapped a photo.


Barnacles are strange creatures. They're actually crustaceans, like crabs and lobsters. They live a sessile existence in adulthood, but earlier in their life cycle, they actually exist as free-swimming, one-eyed larva, similar in appearance to a copepod. They molt several times as they grow, like most crustaceans. As adults, barnacles feed using their legs, called cirri. That's what you see here. I took several photos before I could get a clear photo of the cirri.

Another weird thing about barnacles is that they are hermaphrodites, having both male and female organs, but they rarely reproduce through self-fertilization. They also don't sexually reproduce the way coral does, by releasing eggs and sperm into the water. Instead, barnacles mate through the use of an extremely long, prehensile penis. Barnacles may have the largest ratio of penis size to body size in the animal kingdom. Eventually, the fertilized eggs hatch, and they live within the shell of their parent for a while, until they molt for the first time and go off to look for a place to develop further and eventually attach themselves to something.

I took this photo shortly after I got my 50mm prime lens. If you're interested in a DSLR, you should definitely get that lens. It takes nice sharp photos, it's cheap, and it's compact. This picture isn't really representative of its capabilities though, as it was taken through water, causing the blurriness.

Airplanes at night

Sometimes I go out at night and take photos of stars. With a telephoto lens, you can photograph the Orion nebula, Andromeda, and a few other things. I'd like to eventually hook my camera up to a stronger telescope though, and maybe use an equatorial mount to take long exposures without the stars blurring.

These photos are of airplanes, however. If you take an exposure several seconds long, you can get interesting patterns caused by flashing lights on the planes.


 I found this owl back in May. I believe it's a screech owl. He seemed a bit sleepy, as it was still afternoon, so he let me take a number of photos before flying away. The two photos are the same owl.

Saturday, November 12, 2011


I took some photos of pelicans from the neighbor's dock. The pelicans go there frequently, but a few days ago, there was an unusual number of them catching fish.

Most of these photos were taken in Sport Mode. This mode is nice because it constantly tries to keep the subject in focus. However, it doesn't let you mess with many settings. I'm going to see if I can make use of the good things about sport mode in one of the other settings, like Aperture Priority mode, because then I'll be able to mess around more while still using the AI servo that does focus tracking.