Magical Thistle Patch 5
TINY GENERATION GAP During several excursions to the area where the Magical Thistle Patch is found, I noticed these odd-looking, long-bodied, black and orange bugs crawling up and down stalks of wild wheat and oat grass. I even photographed them a few times, although I had no idea what sort of insect they might be. Then one day, while looking at some insect photos and their descriptions posted on Flickr I discovered that these strange creatures are actually ladybugs !!! in the larval stage of development. So you see, Flickr has significant value as an educational resouirce, in addition to being a meetingplace for those interested in the art of photography!
I debated for some time before deciding to post this image in my Photostream. I'm a scientist by profession, and struggle with a tendency to take photographs as a means to convey factual information, instead of letting photography be a medium of personal artistic expression. I wondered whether this photo was too scientific and not artistic enough. I cropped and re-cropped the scene many times, and experimented with the darkroom technique of "burning" portions of the image to add visual drama, before settling on the version shown here. Ultimately, my decision to post this photo was driven by the desire to share my personal "discovery" of part of the ladybug life cycle with my many Flickr friends who appreciate ladybugs as much as I do.
There was also a lot of drama behind getting the photograph. When I spotted these two bugs on the same thistle stalk in the Magical Thistle Patch, I knew I wanted to get a shot with them both in the same frame. MUCH easier said than done. They were both in foraging mode and were racing up and down the thistle plant at great (bug) speed, in seemingly random directions. I chased them around and around while holding my camera and heavy macro lens (the 100mm beast) in one hand, and steadying the thistle plant with the other hand because of the gusty breeze that was blowing. I also wanted to keep the photographic depth-of-field relatively shallow, which meant trying to capture them when they were each equidistant from the lens, simultaneously! I'm sure if anyone had been watching, my struggles would have appeared quite comedic. I spent about 45 minutes with this pair before finally arriving at the magical instant captured here.
Photographed in the Feather River Valley, California.