An "expedition" to Arizona

Images of undisturbed subjects in their natural environment. All subject types.

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MarkSturtevant
Posts: 798
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:52 pm
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.

An "expedition" to Arizona

Post by MarkSturtevant »

Last spring I traveled to Phoenix for a teaching conference, and of course I took the opportunity to bring the camera. Here are some of the arthropods I found.

Flame skimmer dragonfly (Libellula saturata).
ImageFlame skimmer dragonfly by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr
ImageFlame skimmer dragonfly by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

American ruby spot damselflies, female and male (Hetaerina americana)
ImageAmerican rubyspot damselfly by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr
ImageAmerican rubyspot damselfly by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

Texas hackberry emperor butterfly (Asterocampa celtis)
ImageTexas hackberry emperor by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

Queen butterfly (Danaus gilippus). This is a close relative to the monarch butterfly. Queen butterfly caterpillars grow on a species of desert milkweed.
ImageQueen butterfly by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

Through this time, I was frankly struggling dealing with the bright sunlight and reflective sand. All my usual settings were coming out over-exposed. I had to check and re-check my settings.

Pallid-winged grasshopper (Trimerotropis pallipennis).
ImagePallid-winged grasshopper by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

I saw a few Western diamondback rattlesnakes (Crotalus atria). This one was about 2 feet long, and was crossing a road. It took shelter as I reached it with the camera. After a time I felt a strong empathy with this little guy who just wanted to be left in peace. I wished it well and moved on.
ImageDiamondback rattlesnake by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr


The black widow spider (Latrodectus mactans) was under bark. I was holding the bark in my left hand, immediately out of frame.
ImageWestern black widow spider by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

Arizona bark scorpion (Centruroides sculpturatus). This too was under bark.
ImageArizona bark scorpion by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr


What an adventure! But for me the highlight was in the famous Desert Botanical Garden where I came across this spectacular tarantula hawk (Pepsis thisbe). This is our largest wasp -- a real giant. Others that I would see were hunting for tarantulas, and there was no keeping up with them. But this one was very busy on a patch of desert milkweed and so was very cooperative.
ImageTarantula hawk by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr
ImageTarantula hawk by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr
ImageTarantula hawk by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

grgh
Posts: 340
Joined: Sat Mar 09, 2013 4:55 am
Location: Lancashire. UK

Post by grgh »

Lovely shots Mark.
All well captured especially with the light you had.
working around conditions can lead us to spectacular shots,
for me the dragonflies favourite.
used to do astronomy.
and photography.
Zeiss Universal Phase contrast.
Zeiss PMII

hayath
Posts: 167
Joined: Tue Apr 03, 2012 6:18 am
Location: Bangalore, India

Post by hayath »

Stunning detail!

pbertner
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Location: Canada
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Post by pbertner »

The high key in the 3rd image works particularly well. The light's a bit harsh on some of the others, though shooting moving subjects in full sun is generally something I avoid. I can't say I have any recommendations on how one could shoot in that scenario unless you had a reflector/diffuser and a less active subject.

MarkSturtevant
Posts: 798
Joined: Sat Nov 21, 2015 6:52 pm
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.

Post by MarkSturtevant »

If ever I venture out into such conditions again, my plan is to bring a white photographers umbrella. Not all subjects will sit for that, but some would.
Mark Sturtevant
Dept. of Still Waters

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