Bonus bug(let)

10 04 2009

After seeing three sunny yellow tulips in bloom in my garden today, I grabbed my camera to go get some shots. Inside one of the blooms was this teeny little green bug, barely over 1/8″ long. I shot off several frames, painfully trying to focus and handhold the camera. I never even noticed the small blob by the bug’s back legs.

I opened several images in Photoshop and saw just an out-of-focus blob behind one of the back legs. Then I opened the last image and the blob was in sharper focus—it was her baby! —a miniature version of this already miniature insect. To give you a sense of scale, Mama bug would measure just a tad longer than the size of the baby you’re seeing onscreen now. So you can see why I overlooked Junior during the session.

While this image won’t win any awards for sharpness, technique, lighting or composition, I thought it was really sweet—all this life bundled up into the smallest packages imaginable, a tiny family out celebrating spring just like the rest of us….and this exercise shows you that no matter how observant I am (and I fancy myself to be pretty observant), some things can be overlooked regardless! I had far too many things going against me to get more than a record shot—spring winds, how to position my body without bending and crushing the Alliums coming up nearby, branches from the butterfly bush poking me in the head, the size of microscopic Mama bug herself (much less her itty-bitty offspring), bad depth-of-field, and mixed sun-and-shade lighting. Plus, I was too lazy to run back into the house, get a tripod, and set up like the pro I claim to be. Nevertheless, I’m still tickled with my discovery!

UPDATE: I just went back to study the image again. After zooming in, I could see extra legs at the end of Mama bug’s behind. Could it be? Yep, I opened up another image and it appears Mama has twins!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


“Broken” Tulips

5 04 2009

From the Mount Holyoke College Botanic Garden web site:

In Holland in the late 1500s and early 1600s, the popularity of tulips steadily increased. The arrival of Carolus Clusius at Leiden University was one factor that helped to boost the popularity of the tulip. Another factor was that the allure of tulips was hard to resist. The beautiful tulips with fantastic colors seemed to magically rise from the earth after the depths of winter had passed. Dutch plant lovers and flower enthusiasts eagerly purchased any available seeds or bulbs offered for sale. Flowers with stripes or streaks were especially popular. These “broken” tulips were highly prized by bulb owners. Although the Dutch didn’t know it at the time, these striped flowers were produced when a tulip bulb became infected with the Mosaic virus. It wasn’t until the early 1920s that scientists were able to determine that the Mosaic virus was spread by aphids, and that infection with the virus caused tulip bulbs to produce the flame-like striping on the petals.

Today, you’ll find hybrids that are genetically stable and duplicate the famous bi-color, broken stripe look. Learn more about rectified or “broken” Tulips here.

And if you want to learn about “Tulipmania”—the Dutch Tulip Craze of 1636-37—read Anna Pavord’s wonderful book, The Tulip: The Story of the Flower That Has Made Men Mad, or Mike Dash’s Tulipmania: The Story of the World’s Most Coveted Flower & the Extraordinary Passions It Aroused. (Don’t ask. Okay. Yes, I’ve read them both. I’m sure you’re not surprised.)

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Pink overlooked

31 01 2009

I found five pink stragglers in my archives. No more pinks for awhile. I’ll move on to another color, another subject. Promise.

I’m now taking requests for a color for the next collage. Anyone? 

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.


Swaths of color

13 04 2008

My friend Tom and I went to Green Spring Gardens Friday morning to see what was in bloom. ( . He’s working on a proposal to landscape a neighbor’s front yard and wanted to get some inspiration. These are a few of the quick shots I got during the brief time we were there. Description: The star shaped flowers in the top photo are Spring Starflowers (Ipheion uniflorum) and are a very pale blue color. This perennial is grown from bulbs and blooms in mid-spring for 3-5 weeks. This plant naturalizes very swiftly, spreading by self-seeding and from bulb offsets. The second photo is a small cross-section of the beautiful rock garden in front of the visitor’s center at Green Springs. It’s one of my favorite parts of the park. This is a deep pink creeping phlox, surrounded by various sedums and other rock-loving plants. The third photo is obviously beautiful red tulips, and the fourth photo is of a large cluster of lovely lime-greenish Euphorbias, waving in the spring breeze.

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Scrumptious red tulip

11 04 2008

Blooming in my garden today…several of these intense, saturated red tulips. It’s a beautiful day here in northern Virginia!

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Afternoon light

10 04 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.

Blooming in my garden…

2 04 2008

© Cindy Dyer. All rights reserved.