One more week until Luna Pi comes to live with us. She'll be seven weeks old this Sunday. She can leave her dam at eight weeks. Today I was able to visit the puppies for the first time. I took Emma along so that she could meet her "rival" and get used to being around a puppy. I'll be posting pics to Emma's blog by the weekend, so check out the puppy pics on Emma the dog blog (linked from this site).
Thursday, April 29, 2010
Tuesday, April 27, 2010
My first night time exposure with my Canon EOS 7D. This is was a 20 s exposure, processed with Nik Software Photomatix plug-in, which enhanced the details in the capture. I really like the cloud streaks from the long exposure. The colors from the moonbow were gorgeous, too.
I chose the long exposure route to get the light painting effect of the colored light on the clouds. Steve was taking pics at the same time and aimed for getting the boiling cloud structure around the halo by doing a short exposure. You can see his version of this scene on his weblog. Check it out - it's really interesting to see the different interpretations of this event.
Saturday, April 24, 2010
I finally upgraded to the Canon EOS 7D and I got a new lens (EF 24-105 mm f4 L IS), too! So far I'm really liking how the camera feels in my hands and how it performs. I have a lot of experimenting ahead while I learn all the bells and whistles of this nice gear. Woot!
Friday, April 23, 2010
Sunday, April 18, 2010
I met up with several members of the Ohio Nature Photographers Flickr group this morning to do a photo walk in Kenny Park. I decided to work with my Canon EF 100 mm f2.8 lens and my twin-light ring flash. I learned a couple of valuable lessons: 1) it's better to use a high aperture when you are getting this close a focus, and 2) adjusting the flash intensity downward keeps the image from washing out.
Friday, April 16, 2010
It was a very productive week of collecting Penstemon albomarginatus. The weather was pretty much perfect all week. I met some very nice folks who care about conserving this species and the habitat where it occurs. Plus I had the joy of walking around the Mojave desert and seeing some incredible plants and wildlife. Being a botanist does have its perqs sometimes.
This was the coolest reptile I saw in the Mohave Desert today. After we were done collecting and heading back to the truck, we flushed several of these horned lizards from the bushes along the way. This was the most colorful, and largest, one spotted.
Thursday, April 15, 2010
Collecting Penstemon albomarginatus from the Arizona site where it occurs was quite fun. The plants seem just a little different here compared to the ones seen in California and Nevada. The habitat is slightly different also.
The flowers seem a bit paler in coloration and the leaves seem a bit more narrow and elongated.
The flower stems are also more densely packed with flowers.
The habitat at the Arizona site is a transition zone between the Mohave Desert and the Sonoran Desert. Ocatilla and Saguaro cactus are in this transition zone.
The big excitement of the day was this close encounter with a Mohave Rattlesnake. It was basking in the sun on one of the main roads into the area.
We stopped so that Stephen Zitzer could move it off the road. The snake was definitely not happy to be disturbed.
In fact, it got rather upset about being messed with.
Stephen jumped into the truck to move it, but the snake had already decided to head for cover underneath it.
No! Don't go up in the truck! Damn!
This isn't the solution I would have come up with, but Stephen seemed pretty sure of his approach to remove the snake from the underside of our field vehicle. If you're going to yank on a rattlesnake's tail, you better be sure to fling it hard and fast away from you.
Now the snake is even more upset about the whole affair.
Ok, fella - here's the deal. You get pinned by a stick.
Then you get picked up by the neck.
"Now, stay off the road!"
The snake is still upset about this treatment, but at least it's not a target for the next vehicle that comes along.
Ok, off you go then.
Yep - that was pretty exciting.
Wednesday, April 14, 2010
One of the highlights from collecting today was to spot this Desert Tortoise at one of the population sites for Penstemon albomarginatus.
Here's the Mohave Desert habitat where Penstemon albomarginatus and the Desert Tortoise occur.
Penstemon albomarginatus from Clark County, Nevada.
A close up of Penstemon albomarginatus
Another close-up. I shot these last three pics using my twin light macro flash.
Tuesday, April 13, 2010
I'm spending the week in Nevada doing some fieldwork to collect population samples of Penstemon albomarginatus for a conservation genetics study. Here's one of only about 40 that we found in California. It's known from only one site there and we (Stephen Zitzer and I) spent most of the day walking the transect of previous surveys.
Collecting samples consists of taking about four leaves from each plant, plus one flowering stem for a voucher specimen. I'll be extracting DNA from the samples and doing a microsatellite study of the species.
Saturday, April 10, 2010
Steve and I did a photo walk at sunset and as the evening darkened this evening. We were on the west side of the river, looking at the skyline with the fading light. This was the last photo I did of the evening - under the Broad Street Bridge. Four exposures, processed with Photomatix.