Saturday, October 15, 2016

Changing Things Up



First, no baby.  Our due date is Monday.  We are anxious.

Second, the oak is gone.  It is a giant weight lifted off our shoulders, literally.

Third, I will say again, Instagram is THE BOMB.  I'm loving it.  Two photos a day, one in the morning, one in the evening.  And I'm meeting other amazing people there who produce wonderful photographs.  And I'm seeing a wide variety of styles of macro images, which leads me to today's post:

I'm bored of using the same old lenses in the same old style, and today, I turned my eye away from the technical to the artistic. Using an ancient Vivitar zoom designed for the Pentax screwmount film cameras, coupled with an adapter and extension tubes, I came up with the following imagery for today's blog.  The theme will become clear. After all, it is October!









Think of us, think of Megan, and send us labor vibes!  We need them.....

-Tom


Sunday, September 25, 2016

It's Time to Say Goodbye to the Backyard Bur Oak




When we moved to Worthington in June of 2008, we chose a house with a massive bur oak tree in the backyard.  If you've followed this blog for a while, you will surely remember many great stories and photos about this tree.  The tree is truly massive, weighing an unbelievable amount- there's probably 250 TONS of wood suspended in the air in our backyard.

Well, since October 2013, we have been falling out of love with the tree.  One morning that fall, we awoke to a massive limb down in the backyard, having fallen overnight during calm weather.  At that time, we scheduled a tree company to take the tree down, but at the last minute, I made the call to give it one more chance.

Last Friday, Megan was at home, in her office, when this massive limb fell in a wrenching force.  If With the help of my dad, we've cleaned up most of the downed leaves. If anyone had been in the impact area, they would not have stood a chance. Thank God no one was injured, however, this giant limb remains perilously attached by a thread, threatening to fail at any minute.

Knowing that we can just not live with this anymore, Megan and I have decided without doubt that it is time for our family to say goodbye to the backyard bur oak.

The Old Bur Oak in 2009

When our house was built in 1966, this was literally the only tree on the block, as seen below in this photo hosted on the Worthington Memory website.


We have tried to be good stewards to the tree. As you can see, the tree is a part of the neighborhood and beloved by many. The three former owners before us obviously loved and cared for the tree.  We have tried to keep that legacy, unfortunately, this is a decision that was just too easy to make; we cannot live with this risk anymore.  The tree will be taken down within the next two weeks.

Perhaps one of the reasons that the limb failed this season is that the tree had an incredible year of growth, producing a flush of leaves and an incredible amount of acorns. Weston and Brody love the tree, and this is a difficult decision to explain to young boys.  "Don't you love nature, Dad?  If you cut the tree, you are destroying nature!?!" Yes, Weston, but we are fortunate this year that we have dozens of acorns to collect.  We can plant these, and grow many more young bur oaks, trees that we will gladly give to any friend that has plenty of space for a wonderful shade tree to watch and grow.

Goodbye old girl!

-Tom


Thursday, September 22, 2016

Are you on Instagram?



I've used Instagram for quite some time, but I've only recently found my voice there, at least photographically.  If you are a photographer, it's an amazing platform to share your work, and to find other inspiring nature photographers.  I've been using Adobe Lightroom Mobile to get my DSLR taken images to my mobile device, a workflow that is quick, easy, and automatic.

Join me on Instagram!

-Tom

Monday, September 12, 2016

Bean Leaf Beetle: Backyard Biodiversity Project Species #7





While it may seem hard to believe, each one of these beetles is a member of the species Ceretoma trifurcata. While highly variable in color and pattern, the characteristic to look for in this species is the triangular shaped patch on the abdomen just behind the thorax.  I photographed these three beetles in my front yard, all within a area no bigger than 100 square feet.  In the plant world, flower color doesn't mean much; apparently that holds true to at least some species of beetles as well.
As I dig in deeper to this project, I'm finding more biodiversity in my yard than I could have ever expected.

-Tom

Thursday, September 08, 2016

Backyard Insects to be Identified

I've been busy photographing all types of insects for the backyard biodiversity project I've began.  Here are a few things from a weekend afternoon of exploring the insects of our yard.  I will be doing my best to identify each one to species, but here's just a peek from all the different types I photographed.










Does something look familiar to you?  I'm here to learn!

-Tom

Wednesday, September 07, 2016

Welcome to September



I have been taking photographs, but I got out of the blogging routine.  Once you're in, you're in, but when you're out, boy is it hard to get back in.  I've been photographing many fascinating creatures for the backyard biodiversity project which will provide great material for posts during our dark gray winters! 

Yesterday during a trip to Kenney Park, my favorite local haunt for photographing nature, I spotted a single tall boneset in bloom on the riverbank.  It was filled with pollinators.  As I snapped away, however, there was a strange part of one of the flower heads that was waving in a way that just didn't match.  What is that?

Upon closer inspection, what I was seeing was an extremely well camouflaged caterpillar.  I'm not exactly sure which species this belongs to, but wow, isn't nature cool?  When ever you see insects on plants, look even more closely.  You're likely to see a whole host of awesome biodiversity that you never knew was there. 

Finally, we've hit the home stretch with baby Arbour. Megan is 34 weeks into this pregnancy; Brody was two weeks early.  Final preparations are being made, and we are all getting cautiously excited.

-Tom

Tuesday, September 06, 2016

Arbour Adventures



My kids are loving our "Arbour Adventures" YouTube Channel we've created.  I thought it would last a few videos, but we just keep coming up with new ideas.  Here's their latest.  They would LOVE LOVE LOVE if you would consider subscribing.  They ask me every day if we have any new fans.

Thanks!

-Tom

Saturday, August 27, 2016

Nature Photographers to Explore

A quick note: I'm working on repainting our stairs in preparation for the new baby- our old runner was failing, and it was time to rip it up, repaint the stairs, and install a new one. I'm updating my "Nature Photographers to Explore" section in the right sidebar of the blog. I've added many of my favorite photographers- take a look and visit their websites. Who are your favorite nature photographers that I'm missing? Who should I add to the list? Are you a nature photographer that would like more exposure? Add your link to your blog or photo archive in the comments. Happy weekend, -Tom

Tuesday, August 23, 2016

An Agalliopsis Species: Backyard Biodiversity Project Species #6



What I'm finding out about the world of insects is how relatively common species that I encounter in my backyard are poorly unknown.  This leafhopper is tiny, and supposedly there are 15 species in the genus Agalliopsis,but only two are listed on bugguide, and they look quite similar!  So for this species, as far as I'm going to get for now to identify it to genus. This one is truly tiny, probably 5 millimeters long or less!

-Tom