Turkeytail shelf fungus (Trametes versicolor)
Turkeytail shelf fungus (Trametes versicolor)
In case you wanted to learn about this beautiful native Florida emergent wetland plant: Pickerelweed (Pontederia cordata) is a perennial herbaceous emergent aquatic plant native to the American continent from eastern Canada to Argentina. It occurs throughout Florida. It can be found in wetlands, slow-moving streams, edges of ponds and lakes, and in ditches. Pickerelweed typically grows to around 2-4 feet tall. It has large broad leaves up to 6 inches wide and almost twice as long. It has several adaptations to surviving anaerobic conditions including aerenchyma tissue in the stems to supply oxygen to roots as well as metabolic adaptations. Pickerelweed produces large (up to 6 in) spikes covered in flowers ranging from light pink to deep blue hues, and sometimes white that bloom in succession from the bottom up. It tolerates low fertility, partial sunlight, and inundation to at least 30.7 inches (78 cm), but flourishes in fully exposed fertile soils (pH: 6.0 to 8.0) as well as locations permanently inundated up to 12 inches deep in freshwater of <3 parts per thousand salinity. It requires full or partial sun to thrive. Because of their flashy flowers and hardiness, these are great plants to use in a water garden or private water body! They can provide a beautiful aesthetic as well as refuge for many small animals.
Elongate stilt spider (Tetragnatha elongata), a member of the long-jawed orbweaver family, Tetragnathidae Photographed after my face found it while paddleboarding on the Silver River 😂
Palmetto weevil (Rhynchophorus cruentatus) is the largest weevil in North America and native to the southeastern US. These beetles are often considered pests because their larvae feed on palms, often causing the host plant to die. They feed on Florida's native palms including the cabbage palm and saw palmetto, however they frequently target recently transplanted ornamental palms because the plants are already stressed from the move leaving them vulnerable to the weevil larvae's voracious appetite. Weevil infestations are uncommon in undisturbed areas.
Forktail damselfly in early morning sunlight (Ischnura sp., possibly I. ramburii or I. verticalis)
Tallulah Gorge taken a couple weeks ago
Blue Hole Falls I don’t get to photograph waterfalls very often, mostly because there really aren’t many in Florida. When I do, I really enjoy that they can be technically difficult to capture well. In my opinion longer exposures really work best with waterfalls not only for the aesthetically pleasing smoothing or soft effect it has on the water, but because a long exposure shows an average of the little nuances and variability in the patterns of flow of the waterfall instead of a specific moment in time. I personally like longer (e.g., 15-30 seconds) exposures as it’s a better representation of all the flow characteristic variability. Conversely, a shorter exposure (e.g., 1 second) can still display the smooth and soft effect of the water, but still allows for a little more detail in the water. . To accomplish a 15-30 second exposure in the daytime, I use a 10-stop Hoya neutral density filter. For those who don’t know, this is basically a dark piece of glass that goes over the lens to allow for long exposures in well-lit conditions where without the filter the photos would be completely washed out. Because of the time of day this photo was taken and the angle of the waterfall in relation to the sunlight, I also had to deal with harsh shadows and glare/reflections on the water and leaves. To account for that, I added a circular polarizing filter on top of the neutral density filter. Normally I try to minimize the amount of glass between my subject and sensor, but I’ve found that at least for shots like this, I don’t notice any loss in sharpness or detail. You could accomplish a longer exposure without either of these filters if you set your aperture number (f-stop) quite high (smaller aperture), but above a certain f-stop, the image quality begins to decline due to light diffraction. For optimal image quality the best option is to use a filter or photograph your selected waterfall on a very overcast day! In my case, it was very bright and sunny and I wanted a long exposure time. For this shot my settings were f/8, 15 seconds, and ISO 100. Do any of you have any tips or questions about photographing waterfalls?
I saw this majestic white-tailed deer buck recently! I see quite a few deer in and around Orlando, but I don't usually see large bucks with impressive antlers like this. It was quite a sight to see! Unfortunately I've gotten behind in editing photos, hence the recent lack of posts, but I have quite a few that I'm itching to process! Expect to soon see photos from my bioblitz a few weeks ago at #SplitOakForest and from my recent trip to North Georgia to see the autumn colors this past weekend! I hope everyone is having a great week!
Spinybacked orbweaver (Gasteracantha cancriformis)
Closeup of an eye of the live-oak root borer (Archodontes melanopus) from my last post. This is a focus stack of 23 photos.
Check out this live-oak root borer (Archodontes melanopus) my wife @lil_lar found at the #bioblitz at #SplitOakForest this past weekend! It was a recently dead individual that was about 5cm long (~2in) and found in a dryer scrub habitat. This is a new species added to the park's species list! Because it was dead I was able to place it on an impromptu studio surface (truck hood 😋) and take 15 photos of the head to focus stack later. This photo is the result! I definitely missed some small spots, but I'm happy with the output considering I took the shots handheld! I'll be posting more photos from the bioblitz as I get through them!
I found the tiniest praying mantis at one of my field sites! I'm not sure what species this little mantid nymph is, but my guess is that it's a Carolina mantis (Stagmomantis carolina) Edit: I now believe this is a grass-like mantid (Thesprotia graminis) nymph. Thanks @mnochisaki14 !
Foggy sunrise scene at Split Oak Forest in SE Orlando. . The fall bioblitz I've coordinated at Split Oak Forest takes place this weekend! We need YOUR help with documenting as many species as possible to gain a better understanding of the biodiversity that this conservation land sustains. . The bioblitz officially takes place starting this Friday October 26th from 7pm to Sunday October 28th 7pm (48 hour window). You can participate anytime during this window, even if it's only for a few hours! . A bioblitz is an intense survey of all species in a given area over a specified period of time. The goal is to document as many species as possible. . We're asking participants to document their findings via iNaturalist. There is an app available for both Android and iOS as well as the desktop browser version. I've created a bioblitz event within iNaturalist to which people will submit their observations. . You don't have to be an expert of any kind to participate! We will have local experts you can be teamed up with or you can venture out on your own and let the impressive image recognition algorithms of iNaturalist help you ID things as you submit them! . Please visit the link in my bio and click on the button at the top of the page "Split Oak Forest Bioblitz 2018" for more info including an interactive web-based GIS map I've created for the park.
Nursery web spider (Pisaurina mira) blending in pretty well on a grass seed head at Wekiva
I'm unsure what species of damselfly this is, but I think it's in the narrow-winged damselflies family (Coenagrionidae)
I found this gulf fritillary (Agraulis vanillae) sleeping this morning!