Gold Dust

Powdered with gold dust, she glows in the sunlight.

Back_Forty_goldmoth_001

Velvety Golden All Over - Summer 2011

Doesn’t she look soft? Don’t touch her, though, or you’re liable to rub that dust right off and leave her damaged and unable to fly as well as before.

Grass So New It Still Sparkles

Just what our pastures need, new grass!

Back_Forty_Winter2012_7864-EarlyGrass

Hope for the Horses - Winter 2012

If it is not growing in their manure, the horses will love this new grass – when I let them have access. If it is, they will eat all around it, but will avoid the dark green grass at all costs.

Hiding Place

He is nearly invisible, despite his glowing green color.

Back_Forty_Summer_Harlan_Iowa_8305-GreenBug&YellowFlower

Who Is Hiding Here? - Summer 2011

He just looks like a part of the plant on which he is resting.

It is like meditating. I go out to take photos – usually drawn out by the beckoning sunlight, sometimes driven out by a need to create something – I first take a few shots and restlessly move on. Then it captures my attention –  it varies – and my attention becomes focused on it, I change angles, or slowly move closer, or think of the angle of the light or how the background contrasts with it. Sometimes those photos turn out as I imagine them, but often, in the quiet of truly focusing, I become aware of something else that I had not seen – would not have seen at my earlier pace – and that becomes the real photo shoot of the day. This little insect was one of those, in the summer of 2011. I didn’t see him until I was focusing on a dragonfly, what I thought was it, trying to ease closer and get a shot with all the elements right, background, the glint of light on its wings, the… Oh no, the dragonfly flew away! Then I saw the bright yellow flowers on their glowing green stems – and it. When I came out of the trance and went back to my computer to look at what I got, I was pleased with this shot 🙂

Does anyone else find themselves out of the everyday hustle and bustle, almost meditating while pursuing the shot?

Keeping an Eye on You!

This is my son’s Buff Cochin pair, standing together. I meant to post this photo on Valentine’s Day, but forgot I even had it.

Back_Forty_Winter2012_6657-BuffCochins

Keeping an Eye on You! - Winter 2012

Bridger keeps them safe, so when they are outside, they are still protected by a welded wire enclosure. He has good reason, as coyotes and raccoons, opossums and foxes, even hawks, owls, and eagles all love a good, fat chicken dinner!

Buttercup does her best to help keep them safe, but as she rides to work with us daily, she is not home during most days – not the most effective security system ever devised!

 

Conflict in the Woods

At first I was going to leave Buttercup home so I could have a better chance to see wildlife.

I relented and let her come along. We heard snarling and hissing. I wondered what it could be, but Buttercup recognized those hen house raiders from some previous midnight encounters. One went up a tree, while the other tried to hold off the dog.

In this case I actually got the shot thanks to my assistant, Buttercup – and she also served as model 🙂 Good Girl, Buttercup!

20120219-184407.jpg

Rosy Ruffles

Soft rains, balmy breeze, a little sunshine – weather can create a rosy outlook on life. Or for life 🙂

20120219-154743.jpg
This little wild rose seems to be anticipating spring’s arrival, even dressing up a little, with a rosy tint to both the stem and the festive ruffled edges of the emerging leaves. It is still guarded by those curving thorns, though!

I am also enjoying the much needed rains, followed by warm, sunny weather. Actually, as soon as this posts, I will grab my camera and head back out the door. Woo hoo!

Silvery Secrets

Multitudes of small, silvery butterflies flutter around these flowers on warm summer days.

Back_Forty_graybutterfly_001

Silvery Flutters - Summer 2011

Until looking at the still images, I was unaware of their secret beauties. The delicate, black and white striped antennae tipped in golden yellow is the most striking hidden feature. I also love their furry little faces and the false eye and face at the other end that might serve to trick predators into attacking a less vulnerable part of their anatomy, hopefully giving them a chance to escape.

I have always loved being out in nature, but the camera both gives me “permission” to spend more time outdoors and also reveals so many lovely little secrets that I couldn’t (or didn’t) spot with my own, “normal” vision. I hope I am becoming more observant and also winning my lifelong fight to grant value to the artistic side of my personality, rather than dismissing it as unuseful or not worthwhile.

Some Itches Just Gotta Be Scratched!

Does she have an itchy foot?

Back_Forty_prayingmantis_6290

Itchy Foot? - Summer 2010

This was another insect Bridger spotted. He ran in, “Mom! I think you will want to take a photo of this praying mantis out here!” I grabbed my camera and hurried after him.

When I got there and started shooting, this praying mantis turned out to be a natural model, striking several interesting poses in quick succession. This was my favorite, though, chewing on her foot, because it made me think of my dogs and horses 🙂

This was when I was new enough to my camera that I was having a hard time with some focus and depth of field issues, but you can see most of her pretty well.