A week ago I was going thru my photo-archive. I wasn’t searching for anything special but simply browsing through it looking back at what I’ve been doing the last couple of years. As I wrote last week it brought back many good memories, but it also showed very clearly that some subjects I photographed for just a limited amount of time, and for some reason was never interested in to retrace. Some places I photographed very extensively for a limited period…but never felt the urge to go back to them.
I guess that’s nothing special - I think that applies to just about everybody.
But for some reason there are a couple of subjects that makes just about every nature photographer’s heart beat fast..pumps up the adrenaline…and that certainly is the case with the Orange-tip butterfly for me. I think it’s one of the ultimate signs that Spring has finally arrived and each and every year I’m looking forward to seeing/photographing them.
This morning I was driving around Polder de Dordtse Biesbosch together with my brother Frank, and we were both searching for the first Cuckoo-flower. I guess we both knew that it was still a bit too early in the season, but with the warmer weather coming up it certainly won’t take long anymore.
And once the Cuckoo-flowers appear…the Orange-tips will follow soon after.
The picture above was taken almost 11 years ago. On the 3rd of May 2008 to be exact. The peak of the Orange-tip season used to be around that period in the past(end of April/beginning of May). With the climate changing that period is quickly moving a couple of weeks forward. Will 2019 be the first year I spot Orange-tips in March already ?
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It’s been a strange year sofar.
January gave us the feeling we would finally get our “normal” share of winter weather.....but it did not really happen. February gave us the feeling like we were skipping February and March altogether giving us dry sunny weather with temperatures reaching 20 degrees C at the end of the month (who says’s climate isn’t changing…)
And now we’re in the 2nd week of March and it feels like we’ve jumped back to October, lot’s of rain and wind gusts up to 110 km/h. Yesterday I was out with some friends taking pictures of mushrooms.…and the wind almost swept us of our feet.
I can’t help myself for developing a deep longing for actual April/May weather..fresh mornings with plants(and insects of course) covered by a nice layer of morning dew. The sun rising..clearing a bit of fog, and taking my camera-equipment out in search of resting butterflies. Nothing lifts my mood more than that.
But for the moment….I’ll have to do with just the results of such days going thru my photo-archive enjoying the memories they bring back...and a good cup of coffee.
That’s not bad either but I’m counting down the days. Let’s hope April lives up to my expectations…....
Text and potos are copyright protected by Gerard Jordan
What is more important….a picture that puts a smile on somebody else's face... or a picture that puts a smile on the maker’s face ?
Whenever I’m out in nature I try to be open minded and let my senses guide me on what I point my camera at. Not to say that I don’t have subjects in mind of course, but you simply can not force nature. So I “follow my nose” and see where it takes me.
Over the years I have noticed that what’s important to me changed. When I just started to photograph I wanted to improve my skills, and unconsciously was out to take pictures that other people liked. So I tried my utmost to shoot landscapes with great compositions and/or light and portraits of insects with nicely blurred background etc.
But over the year’s I’m finding out that I still want to make nice pictures, but it is most important that I like them. So I’m more and more concentrating on subjects for which I’ve personally developed a passion, and I don’t simply just want to take good pictures but also learn more about these subject themselves. Therefore I can appreciate a “simple” straight picture as much as a photographically great shot. Just as long as there is a story or a memory inside the picture for me.
The 2 pictures in this blog put a big smile on my face.
The picture of the 4 long-eared owls resting together clearly shows their way of getting thru the winter as a group..also making it much easier to find a partner at the end of the winter. Their expression is very inviting....you would almost want to join them for a bit of sleeping and basking in the sun.
And the picture of the Comma Butterfly….definitely not a great picture but the first butterfly sighting of the year just makes me hungry for more.
What puts a smile on your face ??
Text and potos are copyright protected by Gerard Jordan
As my new camera is still unused, I searched between the 2018 files and memories came back when I saw this image of the Pearl-bordered Fritillary which was taken on my birthday in the Mercantour last year.
On a small meadow in the Mercantour we (Mees, Gerard, Frank and I) found some common fritillaries and other butterflies. We searched very well but did not find any rare species. Surprisingly, one after the other big and rare fritillary came out of the grass and flew away after the sun touched the meadow. The only butterfly which was very cooperative after he was awake, was this Pearl-bordered Fritillary which was confused by the shadow we created.....for minutes he posed for us!
I can't wait to visit this meadow again and to search for the big fritillaries between the grass!
Although the year has just started, I'm longing for butterflies already!
2019 will be a special year for me as during the butterfly season I'm off for four months. My sabbatical will start and end with a trip to the southern part of France and in a few days, together with some friends I will plan some trips for the months in between. A visit to the area in which we photographed this Black-veined White will be on my wish list for 2019.
For some time I was wondering if I could change the camera brand. Since 1991 I'm very loyal to Canon but the last years felt like Canon had 'missed the boat'.
A few days ago I decided to give up my loyalty and bought a new camera from Sony....the 7RM2. From today my Canon 7DMKII will retire after > 100000 shutter counts as back-up camera.
As I was overwhelmed by the Mercantourtrip last summer, I decided to return in 2019 and of course I will visit the Mountain Fritillary spot near the Col d'Allos again together with my new workhorse and I hope some friends!
The Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta) is one of the loyal visitors to my garden. Two weeks ago I saw the last of them on flowering Ivy. As this species is a migratory butterfly and the weather switched from summer into autumn a few days ago, they probably on their way to the south now. With their departure it's time to look back to a wonderful butterfly season and making plans for the next one!
With these temperatures, 28 degrees on 13 October, it was not really a surprise that the first Swallowtails emerged. Although I did my very best to keep them as cool as I can, two of them were born yesterday....it is just too warm....again we have a 'canicule' (one of the first new words I learned in french lesson last week).
This morning I tried to catch them in my garden with the rising sun but it was'n easy with a new big factory farm in the background. I guess, it's time to leave to France!
Due to this fabulous summer, I found some caterpillars of the Swallowtail. First in July on a carrot field which was gathered the day after and second in August on fennel. I received some fresh fennel to feed them and when they were all almost grown and pupated I discovered a tiny little caterpillar which was just born....so the complete story continued. Last Monday evening I run out of food for the last caterpillar as my fennel is empty. I drove to a carrot field and found immediately a tiny little caterpillar. Although it was getting dark I searched on a place with high weed between the carrots (a sign that this piece of land was not treated with poison) and found 11 caterpillars:
As these caterpillars are very hungry and as I wanted to search for more caterpillars I drove to the carrot field this morning. Big machines were busy and the wilder part with weed was already completely gone.
How many swallowtails we would have in the Netherlands when some of the carrot field would not be gathered?
For the first time in weeks, my alarm clock went off early this morning and together with Frank & Gerard I had the mission to find some Small Coppers and other butterflies in an area which we visited more often.
To make a long story short.....we only found ONE Common Blue and ONE Small Heath. Sometimes, like today, ONE is enough to make my day!
The trip ended in tradition on a sunny terrace with delicious coffee & apple pie. I could get used to this!
Jibt dir dit Leben mal een Buff, denn weene keene Träne. Lach Dir'n Ast und setz Dir druff und baumle mit de Beene.