20150619 Venus, Jupiter & Moon

We were lucky to have a clear sky on Friday night so I went to Big (Gereaux) Lake to view the conjunction of Venus, Jupiter and Moon after sunset.  Here is a record of the apparition:

Actually, before the apparition.  As I was parking the truck this flock few by:


A while later I could just see Jupiter, 10 O’clock to Venus which is 12 O’clock to the sliver of the moon.  You can see the reflection of Venus right at the bottom of the frame the bottom of the frame, below Venus:


Here are the three and reflections of two:


I was shooting hand held as the mosquitos were fierce!  This is at the limits of what I can do, propped against the windowframe of the truck. 1/6 sec, f/3.3,  ISO 400


Click on the bottom  two images to see reflected sunlight from Earth reflected back to us from Moon. Tricky exposure.

Earthshine in a conjunction is a beautiful sight, eh?

Although the conjunction will be even more impressive  tonight, the forecast is for cloud to cover our neck of the woods this evening.   Too bad.

20150617 Great Blue Heron Aerodynamics

Last Wednesday, on the Old Still River Road, I saw a GBH coming in for a landing.  So I stopped the truck, grabbed the camera and let the Autofocus on the FZ1000 work its magic to get this sequence …

Flaring just before landing.  Feathers on top of wing are (F)luffing indicating a full aerodynamic stall


The high drag of the stall and loss of lift enables a good landing for the big birdie.


Landing gear fully extended for a gentle landing.



Down on terra firma.


After take-off:

Wings are starting down stroke.   Not nice smooth surface of upper wind indicating nice laminar flow giving lots of lift and low drag.



Middle of the downstroke:


End of downstroke, beginning of lifting of “elbows”:


Amazing bird!

20150617 Butterflies, Dragonflies, Damselflies and Blossoms

We went for a drive along Hwy 522 to Smith Bay Road and saw a variety of beasties and blossoms a few days before Sun-Stop.

The white spots on the tips of the wings identifies this Ebony Jewelwing Damselfly as a female.   This one is worth clicking on to see its fine structure.


Interesting name for this butterfly … Little Wood Satyr ??!!


Sedges have edges, grass has joints.  Grass inflorescence.


Unknown dragonfly  …


Common weed  … the very delicate and pretty Daisy Fleabane seen up close.


Canadian or Eastern Tiger SwallowTail.


Bladder campion, a delicacy in southern Europe, considered a weed in North America.  In any event it is very nice to look at up close.


This patch of Sheep Laurel bloomed about 3 weeks later than the patch on the Shawanaga Reserve.


Widow Skimmer, I think.


Bright male housefinch.


The little beetle on the uppermost mushroom is a good indicator of Oyster mushroom, a delicacy to mushroom eaters.  I must say, though that the folks in California have quite a different mushroom than the one we harvest in Ontario.  I have never seen a “grey” one and I have never seen any in the fall.  In Ontario P. ostreatus fruits during the first rains of late spring / early summer, usually on standing Aspens that have died a few years earlier.




This painted turtle was photographed just before it plopped into the water.


Viceroy or Monarch?


White Admiral


Some folks will remember this wild nut that is common around Georgian Bay



A few months ago the nuts started out in buds like the one above.  They will be ripe in August when the trick will be to harvest them before the borers, jays, squirrels etc harvest them.

Nice picture of Solomon’s Plume (aka False Solomon’s Seal).


On Sunday the noon sun   ( apparent solar time ) stops, pauses and starts its southbound journey until Winter Sun Stop in December 2015.

Next week the Pickerel River First Nations will be celebrating the occasion with a few days of fasting, rituals and then feasting.   I hope to visit their festivities and to take a few pix.