In the last couple of months, I’ve been out photographing and studying insects.
There have been other areas of nature as well, but it’s been mostly insects. One main reason is that the weather will turn cold before too long (In Oklahoma? Yeah, right!), and insects will either hibernate or die. So I need to get as much in now as I can.
Another reason is because I bought a new macro lens for my camera. I’d shied away from macro photography in the past because my success was limited, to say the least.
However, Richard R. Barron, The Ada News’ chief photographer, discovered that the way I was shooting macro was incorrect. Once he showed me the ropes, I was off to the races!
It truly has allowed me to enter a whole new world, and it has been nearly nonstop since. I’ve found I’m able to take close-up photos of tiny insects, then blow them up on a computer and see all sorts of details I would otherwise not be able to see.
On a recent hike with my son, I pointed out a jagged ambush bug (future column) on a tiny flower. The insect was about 1/4 of an inch in length (see my photo).
He’d seen a large photo of an ambush bug that I had posted to social media, but he was shocked to see just how small these bugs really are in person.
Even though I was pointing it out to him, it still took a few seconds for him to actually see it.
On a recent outing to Richard’s place, Richard and I hiked around, searching for insects and other elements of nature to photograph.
And there were plenty!
I saw and photographed many insects and spiders. And even insects in action. We stumbled upon a southern yellow jacket attacking and killing a hackberry emperor butterfly (see my photo).
We also happened upon an odd sight: about a dozen red paper wasps (future column) in an oak tree. The wasps had formed a shelter in the tree by sticking some leaves together, making an umbrella of sorts (see my photo).
The reason they do that is because many are finished with the nesting season and are preparing a place to live in for autumn.
And that reminds me, wasps are more aggressive in the fall. Typically, in summer, wasps only attack if they or their nests are threatened. In autumn, however, their food isn’t as plentiful, and they are desperate to survive. So they’ll go after whatever they can find, and they don’t care who gets in the way. So be careful.
While out hunting with my new lens, I’ve also discovered a couple of dozen insects and spiders that I’d never seen before.
It’s fascinating to me, but I can often spend hours in a small space and find many, many insects.
So be prepared for more bugs and spiders in future columns.
And continuing with creepy October, next week’s column will feature a scary-looking spider that really isn’t scary at all.
Randy Mitchell is a freelance writer and photographer. He has been an avid birdwatcher, nature enthusiast and photographer for more than 40 years. Reach him at email@example.com.