Illuminating an interloper

Although the blooms of Campsis radicans are more typically pollinated by hummingbirds, I discovered a number of opportunistic wasps scouting the depths of Trumpet Vine flowers yesterday afternoon in the side yard. I assumed the easiest way to ensure good illumination of the far reaches of the inflorescence was to position the sun at my back. This worked well enough, but to properly expose the bottom of the flower I needed to open up and, although you would have thought that this would have allowed for proper exposure of the wasp, it didn’t and the little beasts were underexposed and lacked detail. Opening up any further would have blown out exposure at the base of the flower. A good batch of thunderstorms was brewing and the afternoon was hot and uncomfortably humid. I was about to give up and seek refuge inside when I passed around the backside of the vine. The sun was intense and its light, now directly in front of me, illuminated the petals from behind, and this had the dramatic effect of setting the corolla aglow with a beautiful golden light. This illuminated the interloper nicely, don’t you think?


16 thoughts on “Illuminating an interloper

  1. Perhaps YOU were the interloper! I don’t know how you can capture such an image. Pretty sure this close-up version is even more beautiful the “normal” view. Just shows you how important lighting is when taking photos!

    • Yeah … I had run out of post-able photos and was limited to what I might find about the house. I follow a blog written by a fellow from Newfoundland and he always posts images of the most beautiful venues. Dramatic seascapes and abandoned fishing vessels, such interesting stuff. Central PA is simply devoid of photographic scope. Such a genuine frustration. Perhaps I should retire and take trips to Iceland, Greenland, New Zealand, and other exotic locations. Yeah … right … as the kids would say.

  2. When I saw the thumbnail in the reader I wondered, “How on earth did Dave manage to come across amber on the farm?” Instead, I found an intriguing story and a unique image … and no stung eyelids, right? šŸ™‚

    • Nope. The 105 mm macro allows me some distance, but not really enough to make me entirely comfortable. I’m quite allergic to stings of all sorts. I’ve got some good (funny, now … but not at the time) stories of having to do away with the nests of ground-dwelling Yellow Jacket Wasps. Horrid things when one gets into a tangle with them. Makes me shudder just to think of it. My preparation typically involves full rain gear, bee helmet, boots, gloves and all seams and junctions fully taped. It’s worst, as you can imagine, on a very hot day! I feel badly, but doing away with them is better than getting stung when push-mowing, weed trimming, or driving along the fields in a tractor! We’ve always kept an Epi-Pen in the fridge for emergency. D

      • I should tell you about my friend and fellow (retired) physics teacher Bruce H. One year he discovered there was a hornet’s next under the deck at his cottage and he hit upon the brilliant idea that he would burn it out. The deck was about 2.5 feet above ground and was surrounded by a lattice. He removed one length of it to gain access to the bottom of the deck. Then he donned his “safety equipment,” namely, his dry suit and, to top it off, his motorcycle helmet. Thusly protected from the dangers of the nasty hornets he proceeded to gather his equipment; a lighter and ummmm a jar of gasoline (you can at this point guess, correctly, that, yes, Bruce did end up having a good day). Anyway, he crawled under the deck and made his way to the nest. He proceeded to pour the gas on the nest and then, as expected, a swarm of angry hornets came straight at him. He errrrrrr flinched. Once he regained his composure amid the hornets who were doing their best to attack him he lit the nest … and discovered that, while flinching, he’s spilled gas all over his suit which, predictably, did what a dry suit drenched in gas can be expected to do when lit. So, on fire and being attacked by a swarm of VERY angry hornets he hastily made his way out from under the deck. Someone called an ambulance and, at the hospital, they did succeed in getting the dry suit (which had by now burned/melted onto his skin) off and his pretty-serious burns and many stings were treated. Someone put out the fire under his deck before it burned everything down and Bruce lived to tell the tale. I’m pretty sure that’s the last time he tried to burn out a hornets nest though.

        • You must have made that up! No … they say that ‘fact is stranger than fiction,’ right? [I read this to Joanna and she said, ‘I can see you doing something like that.’ She was suggesting that I (not you) would be capable of such a thing.] He’s lucky he didn’t BLOW HIMSELF UP … I tried something similar once (with a large pile of leaves) and the concussion knocked me on my rear! D

          • LOL – you have to know Bruce. I have other stories of him, all true. And, based on your story, I can just see you going arse over kettle; smoldering leaves floating all around …

    • Maurice, I thought the same – a prehistoric insect forever preserved in amber šŸ™‚ It’s amazing what kinds of things you find “in your backyard”, Dave!

      • I do try. I’ve been complaining to several folks here and elsewhere that I was beginning to think that great photos can only occur in some of the world’s most exotic places (I’ve been spending too much time looking around at If enough people like you tell me that my backyard yields good images, I’ll cancel those trips to Iceland, Tahiti, Greenland, Scotland, and the Arctic! D

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