Anyone care to guess what this celestial looking scene really is? It’s not some distant planet taken by a low orbiting satellite…
Author Archives: Roberto Aloi
Monk Skipper (Asbolis capucinus)
Deanna has a garden outside that apparently is an insect rest stop of sorts. This little skipper not only stopped to smell the roses, but stayed on them beginning in the afternoon until mid morning the following day. This behavior is known as roosting and this typically occurs during inclement weather.
This particular skipper is common in south Florida. Whether at first glance you called this little guy a moth or a butterfly you would be partially correct ; they have characteristics of both insects.
If you notice my second photograph you more easily see the beautiful scales that make up the wing. In fact the group that encompasses moths and butterflies is lepidoptera which means scaly (lepido) winged (ptera).
The average lifespan is said to be about 7 days so it’s pretty fascinating that this insect chose her plant outside to spend a sizable chunk of it’s life.
I love these skippers because they are often very difficult to photograph. They typically spend a brief amount of time darting and skipping from each flower and can be especially skittish. I was very fortunate to find this one.
This skipper is called a monk skipper due to it’s coloration. Think of a capuchin monk!
I remember taking this shot in 2011 at Riverbend park in Jupiter Florida. Most photographers that I know use the park to shoot deer and birds. I typically visit a small grassy section that is often overlooked.
The area is host to a chimney that is surrounded by uncut grass, weeds, and a ridiculous number of insects. It’s a scene that looks like some post apocalyptic world that was long forgotten providing you take the pristine asphalt and wooden fence out of the equation. The title above? It’s the conversation I had with myself when my brain was trying to decipher the bee-like thick hair and the obvious fly eyes.
By the way… in case you haven’t figured it out it is actually a fly that resembles a bee. The resemblance is said to possibly be aposematic; a characteristic in which the fly could possible be perceived as a bee. This affords the fly some protection.
Think of it as his God-given halloween costume except no wardrobe changes are necessary.
This is from wikipedia -
Bombyliidae is a large family of flies with hundreds of genera, although their life cycles are not well known. Adults generally feed on nectar and pollen, thus are pollinators of flowers. They superficially resemble bees, thus are commonly called bee flies, and this may offer the adults some protection from predators. In parts of East Anglia locals refer to them as ‘beewhals’, thanks to their tusk-like appendages.
The larval stages are predators or parasitoids of other insect eggs and larvae. The adult females usually deposit eggs in the vicinity of possible hosts, quite often in the burrows of beetles or wasps/solitary bees. Where most often in the insect world parasitoids are highly specific in the host species that they will infect, some bombyliids are opportunistic and will use a variety of hosts.
From Wikipedia: The Atala, Eumaeus atala, is a small colorful butterfly in the family Lycaenidae. It is found in southeastern Florida, the Bahamas, Cuba, the Cayman Islands.
The atala is a great example of aposematic (warning) coloration throughout its life cycle. The brightly colored larva or caterpillar feeds on cycads which contain a toxic secondary plant chemical (“cycasin”) which it retains in its body for life. Birds, lizards, and other animals may attempt to prey on the larva, pupa, and adults, but find them distasteful and learn to avoid these brightly patterned insects.
Introducing some old friends
Pictured from Left to Right
Asahi – 28MM Super Takumar – 1965
Asahi – 150mm Super Takumar – 1965
Nikon FG – Film Camera – 1982 (the baby here)
Ever wonder why the photos from modern digital cameras have such a different feel? I am not talking about the horrible camera in your cell phone, but a professional DSLR vs an SLR like my Nikon FG pictured in this photograph?
The latest lenses have advancements that, in my opinion, give a more clinical feel to photography. I desire distortion and grittiness at times. I want there to be uncontrollable lens flare when looking towards the sun. Many characteristics that are tamed with advanced optics are brought back to life when using older equipment.
My solution? When I want to take a more retro approach I use my Asahi Super-Takumar 28mm lens which is to the camera right. The first iteration was introduced in 1962. Mine is the latest version which was manufactured in 1965.
Just to provide a bit of perspective the number one song that year was “Wooly Bully”! The Hully Gully dance has gone extinct, but the Asahi’s are alive, well, and being traded in an online auction as you read this.
The other lens to camera right is an Asahi 150MM super takumar when I want a little more reach.
Do you know what I really love about both lenses? They are fully manual in operation. If you like to just put the camera in auto and let it make every decision for you these are not the lenses you want to purchase; you don’t do this… right?
You want to change the aperture setting from the camera? Surely you jest! Oh those numbers will show different values as the lens bellows gregarious laughter! Embarrassed you finally realize you control the aperture from the lens itself…
If you like to take complete control of your photography (manual mode people) and you are not caught up in the “ONLY CANON/NIKON” glass is the best then do yourself a favor and pick up one of these lenses with an adapter.
The focus ring is absolutely smooth and they are built like tanks.
I’ll post later about my love affair with my film Nikon FG featured in the picture.
Lastly – stop worrying about purchasing the latest equipment. Learn how to exploit every last ounce of technology from your SLR both film and digital.
If you are fortunate enough to be selling vast quantities of these lenses and prices have surged as a result of this rant – you are welcome!
Treat me kindly, my beloved master, for no heart in all the world is more grateful for kindness than the loving heart of me.
Do not break my spirit with a stick, for though I should lick your hand between the blows, your patience and understanding will more quickly teach me the things you would have me do.
Speak to me often, for your voice is the world’s sweetest music, as you must know by the fierce wagging of my tail when your footstep falls upon my waiting ear.
When it is cold and wet, please take me inside… for I am now a domesticated animal, no longer used to bitter elements… and I ask no greater glory than the privilege of sitting at your feet beside the hearth… though had you no home, I would rather follow you through ice and snow than rest upon the softest pillow in the warmest home in all the land… for you are my god… and I am your devoted worshiper.
Keep my pan filled with fresh water, for although I should not reproach you were it dry, I cannot tell you when I suffer thirst. Feed me clean food, that I may stay well, to romp and play and do your bidding, to walk by your side, and stand ready, willing and able to protect you with my life, should your life be in danger.
And, beloved master, should the Great Master see fit to deprive me of my health or sight, do not turn me away from you. Rather hold me gently in your arms as skilled hands grant me the merciful boon of eternal rest…and I will leave you knowing with the last breath I drew, my fate was ever safest in your hands. – Beth Norman Harris