Water Lilly

purple water lily smallI spent the morning yesterday at McKee Botanical Gardens in Vero Beach, FL with the guys. A great place for taking photos of their world famous waterlily collection. Nymphaeaceae, commonly called water lilies are flowering plants which grow in water. While their roots are in the soil below the water, their leaves and flowers float on the surface.

The Purple Tropical water lily pictured here is one of many blue and purple flowered versions. A straight from the camera image with a bit of gentle post-processing.

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Impression of Cars on a Bridge at Night

cars on bridge-2Not just any bridge, but the Brooklyn Bridge. And not exactly at night but at sunset. I stood on the pedestrian walkway and leaned over the railing. Then I set the shutter speed at a low value to produce the streaks of light and metal.

The photo was brought into Corel Painter and I produced a painted impression of the image. Something I call digital painting. The image has been printed on paper but the best one is on metal – a huge 40×20 version that will be in an art show and sale coming up next month. Click on the image to see a nice big version on the screen … you will be able to see the paint strokes.

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Sunrise at the Lake Worth Pier

Sunrise at Lake Worth PierIt was 5:30 am – a most ungodly hour – when a group of us took off for sunrise on the beach at Lake Worth Pier. I had my Olympus OMD EM5II, a light tripod and an assortment of lenses + a flashlight!

Light painting before dawn. You can see two examples on my Portfolio site (click on the Photo Galleries link on the masthead). And then the most interesting and spectacular light show of sunrise over the Atlantic. Great cloud formation made for great photos. A surfboarder was there to add a good foreground element. Plus people on the beach.

Then a nice breakfast with the gang at Benny’s on the Beach topped off a photo op that was well worth getting up so early.

See the entire set of photos at photokarl.smugmug.com

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Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

The Caribbean Flamingo (Phoenicopterus ruber) naturally is the highlight of Flamingo Gardens. Located in their own habitat, the brightly colored birds survey the tourists and photographers alike. Although flamingos are familiar in zoos, they are naturally found in the Caribbean, Yucatan Peninsula, and Galapagos Islands. These birds are also known as the American Flamingo.

They can grow as high as 4 ½ feet and weigh about 6 pounds. While the adults are bright pink, the little ones start out as grey in color.

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

They live in lagoon-like environments in social groups. It is unknown if they use Facebook or Twitter. They use their long curved beaks as filters gulping lots of water containing insects and vegetation for their dinner. The flamingo’s characteristic pink colouring is caused by the beta carotene in their diet.

Caribbean Flamingo

Caribbean Flamingo

After some mating dance moves, the female lays one white egg each. It takes about a month for hatching. Initially, the chicks are fed “crop milk” by their mothers or other females in the colony. It takes about five years until the young are full adults (e.g. sexually active).  Predators include jaguars, raccoons, birds and humans.

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Tortoise at Flamingo Gardens

African Spurred Tortoise

African Spurred Tortoise

Return to blogging – yea – and return to Florida. Here is a nice ole guy taken at Flamingo Gardens (Davie, Florida). This is an example of an African Spurred tortoise and this species is supposed to be the largest land tortoise (two other species are larger but live on islands – go figure.)

The sulcata tortoise, as it is also called, can live between 50 and 150 years. The ones in Florida live longer if in a gated community with a good cafe. They eat grasses and plants but not fruit (fruit causes indigestion and you don’t want to go there with this animal). They are sometimes kept as pets but you had better have a large space for them to roam and lots of  suitible plant material for feeding plus lot of calcium around.

This photos was taken with my (relatively) new Olympus OMD-EM 5 Mark 2 camera and 40-150 mm lens (equivalent to 80-300 mm). Light to carry, sharp images. Lovely.

 

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Heliconius Melpomene Rosina

Heliconius Melpomene Rosina

Heliconius Melpomene Rosina

The Heliconius Melpomene Rosina butterfly is similar to the Heliconius erato. There are many variations in Central and South America. It feeds on various species of Passiflora. 

Linnaeus original described this cutie in 1758. According to the Heliconius web site (yes, there is a web site devoted to nothing but this genus), “Pupae are brown with gold spots on the dorsum, the thorax is strongly bowed and have five pairs of black spines in the abdomen.”

These butterflies are also called “Postman” and are plentiful in Costa Rica where they particularly are fond of sunlight forests with lots of flowers. Both H. melpomene and H. erato are poisonous which tend to protect them from bird predators.

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Isabella’s Heliconian (Longwing)

Eueides isabella

Eueides isabella

This is Eueides isabella which is generally found in Mexico, Brazil and the West Indies although they do fly into south Texas. They like rainforest environments These guys are mostly solitary and eat flower nectar.

The caterpillars feed on Passiflora edulis which is a vine of the “passion flower” native to South America. It is commonly called Passion Fruit. These larvae are white and black covered in long spines.

 

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The Red Postman

Heliconius erato

Heliconius erato

Heliconius erato is a common butterfly of South America and is one of about 40 species within Heliconius, and there are many different variations. The are native to the Andes Mountains.

The females are unusual in that they feed on pollen as well as nectar. The Heliconius are relatively long lived and can survive as adults up to nine months.

These butterflies use pheromones to locate their mates and are quite “amorous” in their mating behaviors. They are not endangered and thrive in the southern US and other subtropical environments. Helicons erato is also sometimes called the Common Longwing.

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Butterfly World

The Paper Kite

The Paper Kite

A group of us went to Butterfly World in Coconut Creek, Florida (Tradewinds Park). I borrowed a Canon 40D because mine was in the shop being repaired. But I used my own trusty 300 f/4 L because of its sharp, close-focusing ability and the great image stabilization. It also has wonderful bokeh as you can see in this photo.

The photo here is of the Paper Kite (Idea leuconoe), a butterfly commonly found in Thailand, Malaysia and Borneo. These are a very attractive species and are often cultivated and are perfect for Butterfly World.  Idea leuconoe is also known as the Rice Paper or Three Nymph. They look like tasty treats for birds but apparently all of the Idea genus are poisonous to the flying creatures.

You can see the others in this collection by clicking on the link above for my gallery. There is a slide show with a selection. I used natural light which was generally nice and soft early in the day but got distinctly more contrasty later on. All the photos were brought into Lightroom 5 where they were gently processed.

I recently found a website about photographing butterflies this has some decent tips.

 

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Memorial Day Parade 2013

Tuba Player

Tuba Player

Went to the Bethlehem Memorial Day Parade. Same bands, same marchers, same nice sunny day and candy thrown from the marchers to the watching kids. A great day!

Go to my Gallery to see the other photos from this event. Photos post-processed in OnOne Perfect Photo Suite 7.

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