There comes a time in every person’s life that a certain discussion needs to be had, either as the presenter of certain life-affirming facts, or as the recipient. While I suspect most of you gentle readers would consider yourselves well versed in these facts, perhaps today I can shed a new light upon them.
Yes, today we’re going to talk about the birds and the bees.
Let me tell you ’bout the birds and the bees
And the flowers and the trees
And the moon up above
And a thing called love
These are the first few lines from “The Birds and the Bees” song, which came out in the mid 60’s. They provide a framework for today’s discussion.
On the south side of my backyard, a hummingbird feeder has stood sentry for several years. Long enough for the Humm family of birds to set up residence, flitting around, dueling intruders: the father Dinger, the mother Bao, and an annual crop of youngster(s?). They’re Anna’s Hummingbirds, a hardy breed that sticks around through the winter.
Wait, what sort of birds and bees did you think I was talking about? 😉
I’m not sure why they stick around, even when the weather gets cold enough to freeze the nectar in the feeder. How does such a tiny bit of fluff survive those cold nights? Why, even in these spring months when flowers abound, do they continue to hit up the feeder?
Must be some good hootch.
Not far from the hummingbird feeder, we have a California Lilac. Not a true Lilac, it still has that lovely lavender color and a refined fragrance that attracts bees, as if the aroma is as potent and intoxicating as the hootch that keeps the hummers around.
Trying to get a decent picture of a bee is a challenge. For starters, I was using a telephoto lens, up close. This means the area front to back that’s in crisp focus is minuscule – maybe even bee size. And when in flight, those little buggers have a tendency to zigzag any which direction.
I don’t know if this is still the case, but at one time I heard aeronautical engineers concluded bees don’t have enough wing area to support their size in flight. Clearly, nature has its own idea about physics.
As you might guess, it took quite a few tries to get these shots. I hope you’re thinking they’re the bee’s knees.
At one point, I was thinking the theme of this post would be macro photography. Then while shooting the bees (not to be confused with shooting the breeze), the hummingbirds started flitting around next door, inviting more pictures. The new theme became obvious.
Still, there’s a backstory for the macro shots. About a month ago, my cell phone had a brain aneurysm and fell into a coma. Needing a new phone, I decided to stop being such a skinflint and go high end this time, simply to get one with a good phone camera. After all, the best camera you have is the one you have with you.
Did you know you can get additional lenses for cell phones? There are a number of options, but in general they’re designed to let you get a wider view or a more close up view. I picked up an attachment that lets me do both: use the full assembly for wide angle and remove the outer element for macro – around 10-15x. It’s my latest photography toy.
I hope this doesn’t bug you. It bugged my wife; she’s been on the warpath against aphids, small caterpillars, anything that’s chewing up the flowers. She saw this image and with blood in her eye and spray bottle of diluted dish soap in hand, demanded to know “where is that!”
We do like our flowers. Such inspiring patterns, such beautiful colors…
Hey, black and white are colors too!
I have to admit though, I was torn on this clematis photo, it looked good in color too.
Flowers of a delicate white (see that first macro shot) and equally delicate violet, the color version was going to make the cut.
But then I saw it in black and white in one of my presets and I liked the mood.
There’s something about sitting in your backyard on a nice spring or summer day, late in the afternoon when the light softens and warms. Blue skies, a gentle breeze (gentle bees too), back-lit leaves add texture to the shapes and patterns.
The eyes see in color. In time, once your imagination gets used to the idea, it can see in black and white as well.
Some folks travel hundreds, even thousands of miles to see trees at the height of their fall colors. I admit I like that too, one need only check a few of my fall posts. But nature reveals even more splendor if you look beyond the colors, see the patterns, the contrasts, the intricate details that make up life.
The Moon Up Above
Dang songwriters. Just when I was grooving on the lyrics, using it to inspire a set of pictures they go and throw me a curve. How the heck am I going to fit an entire sub-planet into a post that focuses on the small stuff? Especially as I haven’t shot any moon pics lately?
Oh well, I’ll just borrow this shot from Visiting A Saint.
It’s the moon. Honest. If you point your camera at the moon and expose for the stars, the moon thinks it’s the biggest star. Reminds me of a few egos…
And A Thing Called Love
While we’re all starry-eyed, the lyrics point us at love.
The world and history are full of folks hitting on this topic in ways both beautiful and manipulative. Unlike a certain bishop at a recent royal wedding, I’ll pass on the pontification – the subject is greater than my writing skills. It’s such a subjective topic, everyone has their own notion of what it is and isn’t. My guess is if I asked you to personally think about it, or more to the point, feel about it, you’d find the answer within. But there is a mystery that, even after all these years, puzzles me. Where does Like end and Love begin?
But in the meantime, the birds and the bees, the flowers and the trees, perhaps even the moon up above – all contribute to a thing called love.