Posts in Category: Nature

Jackson Hole

Looking into Jackson Hole from Signal Mountain in Grand Tetons National Park.

Strelitzia

A common name of the genus Strelitzia is bird of paradise flower, because of a supposed resemblance of its flowers to the bird of paradise. In South Africa it is commonly known as a crane flower. Found this one growing outside of Orlando, Florida.

Paper Kite Butterfly

The Paper Kite, Rice Paper, or Large Tree Nymph butterfly is normally found in Southeast Asia and is known especially for its presence in butterfly greenhouses and live butterfly expositions. This one was found at the Franklin Park Conservatory in Columbus, OH during National Public Gardens Day.

SuperMoon

Tonight the moon was at its perigee, closest to the Earth, and appeared 14% larger and 30% brighter than normal. The full moon at its perigee will not occur again until the year 2029. Unfortunately, a slight haze formed and resulted in a not as sharp photo as hoped for. Taken with a Tamron 500mm lens with a 1.4x extender, effectively making it a 700mm shot. Used the mirror lockup and a wireless remote trigger to minimize vibration.

Mantis

A silhouette of a mantis on the front window screen. A common name is praying mantises, because of the typical prayer-like stance, although the term is often misspelled as preying mantis, since mantises are predatory. The majority of mantises are ambush predators, waiting for prey to stray too near. The mantis then lashes out at remarkable speed. Prey items are caught and held securely with grasping, spiked forelegs.

Black Swallowtail caterpillar

While turning the soil in my wife’s garden, came across this Black Swallowtail caterpillar feasting on some parsley. The Black Swallowtail is the state butterfly of Oklahoma. Soon we may see a chrysalis on the parsley and then hopefully a butterfly. This caterpillar, along with the recent Robins hatching, goes to show that we are not alone in the world and must respect our Earth. After all, we are just visitors ourselves.

Red-tailed hawk

While visiting Caesar Creek State Park for the Maple Syrup weekend, spotted this Red-tailed hawk feasting on a raccoon by the side of the road as we left the park. Not too pleased with my interrupting the meal, it flew off into a nearby tree where another hawk was sitting. Not wanting to become dessert, snapped a few shots and got back in the car to leave them to their lunch. The Red-tailed Hawk has significance in Native American culture. Its feathers are considered sacred by some tribes, and are used in religious ceremonies. It is commonly known as the “chickenhawk,” though it rarely preys on chickens.

Escalante colors

Driving along the Cottonwood Canyon Road through Utah along the Grand Staircase – Escalante National Park is a trip everybody should make in their lifetime. It is amazing to see so many different colors in the rock formations. This particular display of colors was taken close to the end of the road heading east.

The science of icicles

When droplets of melted snow drip down an icicle, they release small amounts of heat as they freeze. Heated air travels upwards and helps slow down the growth of the icicle’s top, while the tip is growing rapidly. Icicles can be dangerous and deadly, yet they can create some of the most amazing winter scenes. And for scientists, those winter scenes are playgrounds for discovery. We all know icicles form when melting snow begins dripping down a surface. But what scientists didn’t know is how their shape is formed. What makes each icicle different?

Icicles have a certain mathematical shape, and this mathematical shape is universal among icicles. So what is the math behind an icicle? The height is proportional to the radius to the four-thirds. What does the formula have to do with an icicle’s shape? It kind of looks like a carrot, it starts out flat and then goes up as you go.

As water drips onto an icicle and freezes, it releases heat. The warm air rises up the sides of the icicle. That warm air layer acts like a blanket that’s an insulator, and so the blanket is very thin near the tip and thick at the top. That allows the top to grow very slowly and the tip to grow rapidly — creating a long, thin icicle.

Winter Robin

Another extreme cold wintry day in Ohio. It is not unusual to see the American Robin stay throughout the Winter these days. Although, after this Winter season, more may make the decision to fly South next year. Shot handheld with the Tamron 500mm lens in 2007.