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Focusing on the small things in life... Macro Photography

Tourmeister

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I made a quick check in the back yard to see if one of my regular spots had anything going on. It has been a little slow this year because the flowers did not come in as thick as usual. I am not sure what the little dark beetle is, but the other is a Yellow Cucumber Beetle.

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I kept having to flip the leaf over from one side to the other because the spider kept trying to hide. It eventually gave up and let me take the pics. The one before leapt to my hand then dropped via a web to the ground and disappeared. When the two big eyes are green, it is not looking at you. When they go black, it is looking right at you. They eyes don't rotate in sockets like ours do. They are fixed. Instead, there are different receptor "plates" in the back of the eyes that can move. The plates are layered and each plate is sensitive to different colors. Somehow they use this system to judge depth perception. Given how far they can jump and how accurate they are, it must be a pretty good system!
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Tourmeister

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Sarah wanted to go over to the lake later in the evening, so I grabbed the camera and went with her. This is the first thing she saw. It is pretty small. That is the tip of my left thumb and index finger in the one shot. It is some kind of Sharp Shooter. I've never seen one with this coloration before. They always have really cool eyes.

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Tourmeister

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Sarah also spotted these spiders. Yes, spiders... plural. When she first saw them, they were apart. In the space of the few moments it took me to get over to them to start taking pictures, it looked like only one spider. It turns out the smaller spider was being had for dinner! If you count legs and look for eyes, you will see it. I wish I could have gotten pics of the smaller one before it got snagged by the big one!

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Tourmeister

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Bumble bee
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The Long Jawed Orb Weavers were all over the place this evening at the lake across the street.

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Another jumping spider having dinner. I am not sure what it used to be... It looked like he had been eating on it for some time. He was VERY reluctant to let me take pictures. It kept hiding behind leaves and running around to the far side of the stalk. I eventually set the camera aside for a moment and pinched off the plant below him so I could hold it up and move it around to get a better angle. Even then, out of 25 shots or more, these are the only two that came out decent.
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While Sarah and I were bug hunting, Daniel and some friends were catching tadpoles, soon to be frogs!
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More Long Jawed Orb Weavers!
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Finding spiders can be tricky. They generally don't just hang out in the open, especially those that spin webs. Any time I spot leaves that look like they are stuck together, I will check them, especially if I see any webbing on them or nearby. Here is why,
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I think this is another variety of Sharp Shooter or Leaf Hopper. I've never seen one this color before. I almost walked right past it because there was other white stuff nearby and it just looked like a spot on a leaf.
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Tourmeister

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I think this some kind of Crab Spider. Unlike jumping spiders, they have almost all of their eyes facing forward. They tend to hide around flowers then spring on unsuspecting pollinators. They are often the same color as their surroundings, which makes them hard to spot. This one just happened to be on a green leaf which made it stand out. That huge pink thing is my thumbnail. The wind was blowing so bad the leaf was fluttering like crazy. I tried just holding the plant stalk to stabilize it, but that didn't work. I ended up pinching off the plant just below the leave and holding it all in my hand to keep it still.

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I have NO idea what kind of bug this is or whether it is the mom or a predator. I am assuming these are eggs of some kind. They and the bug are TINY. I took a ton of pics trying to get just a few that were even remotely focused and clear. This is about as good as it gets with the way the wind was blowing. I did the zoomed out pic to try to give some indication of scale, but the leaf was still pretty small and I don't think it really helps much. Each of those little pods might be 1-2 mm at most, if that...
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Notice the bits of spider webs on the edges of the leaf? I am starting to realize that spiders are EVERYWHERE! I can stand in the middle of TONS of plants and pick ANY leaf at random and odds are REALLY good there will be spider webs on it. Everywhere they go they leave a trail of webbing behind... and they go EVERYWHERE! :-P
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Can you guess what these are yet? ;-)
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Just cool looking...
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Tourmeister

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Ants are usually a real challenge to photograph because they are usually moving pretty fast and rare sit still. Perhaps because it was getting late in the evening and it was cool, this guy was just hanging out until I got to close and bumped things. Then I had to chase him a bit.

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Looks like the left mandible is broken. The end piece is missing.
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And there are those ubiquitous spider webs!
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