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Posts Tagged ‘green spring gardens’

Best wishes for a blessed and happy Easter to all who are celebrating this day. Earlier this morning I went to an outdoor sunrise service at my church at 6:30 a.m. and I am not getting ready for our normal morning service in a couple of hours. Easter is a bit later this year than in some years in the past and it was already light and pleasantly warm when we began our service—in past years we were often bundled up and needed flashlights to read the programs.

I chose two images to celebrate Easter. The first is a macro shot of a flower from a recent trip to Green Spring Gardens and it speaks to me of the growth and renewal of this season. The second is a shot of my PR (Prime Rib), my very own Easter bunny, who greets me each morning.

Happy Easter to all of you.

Easter

Prime Rib

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Do bees drink water? As I was investigating the ponds at Green Spring Gardens again yesterday for signs of dragonflies, I spotted some bees landing in the shallow water. It looked like they were getting drinks of water, but I wondered if it was possible that they were somehow gathering nectar and/or pollen.

I did a little research and found out that bees do in fact drink water. One article at honeybeesuite.com described some of the reasons why bees bring water back to the hive. It also noted that, “Bees seem to prefer water that has some growth in it—such as green slime—rather than perfectly clean water.” and speculated that the bees can smell the growth and recognize it as a water source. That was certainly the case at the pond yesterday, where the water had all kinds of green gunk growing on it.

honey bee

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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It’s still a little too early for dragonflies, but I did find some cool little bees yesterday afternoon at Green Spring Gardens in Alexandria, Virginia, a county-run historical garden not far from where I live. Longtime readers of the blog know that I love taking macro photographs and during summer months my trusty Tamron 180mm macro lens is on my camera most of the time.

Yesterday I decided to dust off my macro lens and search for insects. For most of the afternoon I came up empty-handed, but then I spotted a few bees gathering pollen. They kind of look like honey bees, but I don’t remember honey bees being that small. Grape Hyacinths (g. Muscari) are only a couple of inches tall and the first photo gives you an idea of the size of the bees.

Spring is finally here and I look for an explosion of insects soon. During this transitional time of the year I expect to be switching back and forth between my telephoto zoom lens, primarily for birds, and my macro lens, primarily for flowers and insects.

bee

bee

bee

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Earlier this week I chased after this beautiful little butterfly at Green Spring Gardens, in Alexandria, Virginia. I am pretty sure that it’s a Clouded Sulphur butterfly (Colias philodice), but have no idea of the identity of the flower on which it is feeding. Although at first glance it may look like I used flash for this image, a close examination of the shadows shows the direction of the bright sunlight. I was using spot metering for this light-colored subject, which meant that the background was significantly underexposed when getting a proper exposure of the primary subject.

Clouded Sulphur

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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An Eastern Gray Squirrel (Sciurus carolinensis) was scampering across an open area at Green Spring Gardens last week. Suddenly it stopped, got up in its hind legs and turned to me with a half-smile. I think it was deliberately posing for me, so I took this shot.

The squirrel was so tall and upright in this pose that it looked like it was simply going out for a casual two-legged morning stroll through the garden, like so many of the people that were passing by us.

Eastern Gray Squirrel

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I’ll often try to get shots of butterflies with their wings wide open, but when they turn sideward, you can sometimes get an equally spectacular view of them slowly sipping nectar. I can’t identify the flower, but the butterfly definitely is an Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) that I chased about this past weekend at Green Spring Gardens.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Butterflies are always beautiful no matter what their condition, but there is something really special about seeing a perfect specimen with its wings wide open, like this Eastern Tiger Swallowtail (Papilio glaucus) that I spotted this past weekend at Green Spring Gardens.

Eastern Tiger Swallowtail

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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