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06-22-2013, 12:49 PM   #1
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Garden Safari

My young grand-daughters are currently down for a visit and this morning the eldest (3 and a bit) insisted on going out with Grandma when she took the dog out for his morning 'constitutional'.

While she was outside she went on a 'snake hunt' to see if she could spot any. A few minutes later she came running into the house yelling that she had spotted four close to the house! That was all the excuse I needed to grab the K-30 and take a look. I only have the kit 18-55mm WR at the moment (plus a few old 42mm lenses) so I had to shoot with what I had. This was the first one we spotted who was curled up against a fence on the driveway. Can you see him hiding?



I managed to get a bit closer to take this one.



Then we spotted one lurking in an old railway tie on the edge of the front lawn. He's no more than 20ft from the house and every year we seem to get one that likes to lurk in there.



I don't have a K mount zoom yet (one is en-route at the moment) so I wondered what I could do with my Cokin No.3 magnifying filter on the front of the 18-55. I was quite pleased with the extra 'reach' it provided.



I sat there for a while to see if he would come out of his hidey-hole and patience paid off when we got a shaft of sunlight through the overhanging maple tree and he popped out to bask in the sunshine.



While we were out there I also spotted a few of these which is a sure sign that the annual 'swarm' is underway.



It's a 'May Fly' (or as the locals know them a 'Fish Fly') and every year at around this time the town is literally covered by a swarm of billions (no exaggeration) of them as they emerge from Lake Erie to reproduce. They only live for a day or two in this form and their sole mission is to breed, lay eggs (for the females) and then die. They gather in huge clouds around artificial lights at night and become a major pest outside the stores on the main street of town.They form drifts of dead bodies up to 2 feet deep and as the bodies decompose they smell like rotting fish, hence the local term for them.

Thankfully the 'swarm' only lasts for a week or two and then they are gone again until next year.

06-22-2013, 01:00 PM   #2
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For comparison here are some shots taken at the same time by my youngest daughter using her older sister's new Canon SX500 IS bridge camera with a 30x optical zoom lens.





This one is using the full 30x optical zoom plus some of the available 'digital' zoom (basically in camera cropping) on top. Noise is obviously an issue when combining the two.



Finally she managed to get one as 'Hissing Sid' (UK'ers should remember him) decided he'd posed enough for one day and took off to quieter hiding places. He didn't go very far, just to the corner of the house where he could hide in the border plants away from humans with cameras!

06-22-2013, 01:05 PM   #3
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Well you have confirmed my idea where you call 'home' - Canada's wine country.

I didn't experience mayflies like you do when I lived in SE Michigan. But I sure did when I lived near Minneapolis. They have to call out the snowplows to clear the major roads of the dead insects - otherwise it is like driving on wet snow, only messier.

I like your 3rd photo the best.
06-22-2013, 01:17 PM   #4
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Nice little safari. There is nothing quite like little eyes to see the world in a new light.

06-22-2013, 01:34 PM   #5
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QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
Well you have confirmed my idea where you call 'home' - Canada's wine country.
Well done, I'm actually in Canada's most southern town, Kingsville, which is also home to the world's first wild bird sanctuary established in 1904 ( Jack Miner Migratory Bird Foundation ). There are acres and acres of vineyards in this county alone and we even have 20+ vines on our property which are left over from when it was a commercial greenhouse operation.

QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
I didn't experience mayflies like you do when I lived in SE Michigan. But I sure did when I lived near Minneapolis. They have to call out the snowplows to clear the major roads of the dead insects - otherwise it is like driving on wet snow, only messier.
It sure is, driving down the road at night sounds just like driving in snow as the bugs are crushed under your wheels.

QuoteOriginally posted by JimJohnson Quote
I like your 3rd photo the best.
Thanks, I like that one too.
06-22-2013, 01:45 PM   #6
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QuoteOriginally posted by bigted Quote
Nice little safari. There is nothing quite like little eyes to see the world in a new light.
Thanks bigted, my grand-daughter is a joy to be around and inquisitive enough to get her into trouble if you don't watch her like a hawk. She has absolutely no fear and climbs things better than any monkey! Every day is a new adventure for her and as she can't 'explore' too much at home (she lives in a large city) she really enjoys the time she spends down here.
06-22-2013, 02:41 PM   #7
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Grandkids are God's reward for not killing you kids for all the grief that they give you growing up. Best promotion I ever got was to grandpa. My granddaughter is "Two almost three". Like your granddaughter fearless and a dedicated but hunter and a bug squasher if they are in the house.
06-22-2013, 03:20 PM   #8
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A little patience usually pays off. Nice shots.

06-22-2013, 05:14 PM   #9
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QuoteOriginally posted by gaweidert Quote
Grandkids are God's reward for not killing you kids for all the grief that they give you growing up.
That made me literally LOL.

I've been an atheist for almost 50 years (I was 8 years old when I first claimed to be a non-believer) but if I substitute 'life's reward' I can certainly empathize with the above phrase.
06-22-2013, 05:17 PM   #10
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QuoteOriginally posted by TER-OR Quote
A little patience usually pays off. Nice shots.
Thanks Terry, we certainly had fun taking them. Unfortunately I didn't catch my grand-daughter when she was playing 'stick out your tongue' with the snake as it was basking in the sun. Every time the snake stuck out his tongue she did the same thing. Too funny!
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