Wednesday, 30 July 2014

Dutch coast

Water comes and goes
also when I am not there anymore
tide will stay forever
[Translation of a Dutch poem by Lies Drenth]

Holiday in my own country. These wooden breakwaters overgrown with algae and seaweed are really great! The first wide-angle photo requires careful planning. First of all you have to be on the spot at the right tide. Secondly, if you want a beach without any footprints this moment has to coincide with the early morning hours. The second photo shows some details (beam near the pole with a rope, right below) of the same breakwater from the other side.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 17-40mm/f4 @ 17mm; ISO-50, f16, 2.5s; flash, ND2 filter and ND2 hard gradient filter; tripod.
* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f7.1, 1/500s; -0.7 stop.

Tuesday, 22 July 2014

Queen of Spain

Queen of Spain Fritillary (Issoria lathonia/Kleine Parelmoervlinder) on a rainy morning in the Belgium Ardennes.

* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f4.5, 1/60s.

Friday, 18 July 2014

The heat(h) is on

I copied this title from Silvia’s blog. It is very appropriate because the temperature at 5.15 AM was already 20°C (later today it rises up to 35°C!). And also because I had a very early appointment with Bas Mandos and Silvia Reiche to visit a nice piece of heathland. We all enjoyed a beautiful sunrise. The first photo shows a Black Darter (Sympetrum danae/Zwarte Heidelibel), the second photo pictures an Alcon Blue (Phengaris alcon/Gentiaanblauwtje) in its typical Cross-leaved Heath (Erica tetralix/Gewone Dopheide) habitat, and the last photo shows a nearby landscape detail.

* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 200mm; ISO-400, f5, 1/160s.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 200mm; ISO-400, f5, 1/250s; +0.3 stop; tripod.
* Canon EOS 5D Mark II, 70-200mm/f2.8 @ 150mm; ISO-200, f16, 1/40s; tripod.

Thursday, 10 July 2014

Alcon Blue

The Alcon Blue (Phengaris alcon/Gentiaanblauwtje) is a scarce and vulnerable butterfly of our wet moorland. Like some other species of Lycaenidae, its larva (caterpillar) stage completely depends on support by ants of genus Myrmica. It is therefore known as a myrmecophile.
The butterfly lays its eggs onto the Marsh Gentian (Gentiana pneumonanthe/Klokjesgentiaan); see the white tiny spot on the photo. The caterpillars eat no other plants and leave the food plant when they have grown sufficiently (4-th instar) just waiting on the ground below to be discovered by ants. The larvae emit surface chemicals (allomones) that closely match those of ant larvae, causing the ants to carry the Alcon larvae into their nests and place them in their brood chambers, where they are fed by worker ants, a method known as the “cuckoo” strategy. When the Alcon larva is fully developed it pupates. Once the adult hatches (next summer) it must run the gauntlet of escaping because the ants now recognize the butterfly to be an intruder.
This miraculous process repeats itself for thousands of years on our moorlands. However, in the last few decades many Alcon Blue populations have disappeared. Predictions are that they will be extinct within 10 – 20 years. Nature protectors do what they can to prevent it.

* Canon EOS 7D, 100mm/f2.8; ISO-400, f4.5, 1/160s; +0.3 stop.