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An "expedition" to Arizona

 
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MarkSturtevant



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 784
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Sun Feb 02, 2020 8:40 pm    Post subject: An "expedition" to Arizona Reply with quote

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).
Flame skimmer dragonfly by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr
Flame skimmer dragonfly by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

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

Texas hackberry emperor butterfly (Asterocampa celtis)
Texas 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.
Queen 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).
Pallid-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.
Diamondback 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.
Western black widow spider by Mark Sturtevant, on Flickr

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



Joined: 09 Mar 2013
Posts: 327
Location: Lancashire. UK

PostPosted: Mon Feb 03, 2020 7:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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hayath



Joined: 03 Apr 2012
Posts: 161
Location: Bangalore, India

PostPosted: Thu Feb 06, 2020 12:01 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Stunning detail!
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pbertner



Joined: 02 Mar 2010
Posts: 974
Location: Canada

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 8:36 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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MarkSturtevant



Joined: 21 Nov 2015
Posts: 784
Location: Michigan, U.S.A.

PostPosted: Fri Feb 14, 2020 12:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

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.
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