Monthly Archives: March 2012

Bug-a-day #8 – Millipede

I was spoilt for choice today, as I took to lifting up rocks and stones and tree branches off the ground – discovering all sorts off creepy crawlies along the way. So I thought I’d give us a break from things that fly, and present an up close and personal view of what I believe to be a Millipede. If you look really closely, you can see a few of his many, many legs.

He’s not as big as he looks. This pretty little thing was about two inches long and about a tenth of an inch wide.

A bit like a piece of spaghetti … except black … with legs … and moving.

 © Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

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Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Bug-a-day #7 – Bluebottle fly

Just one of those annoying Bluebottle flies today – you know, the ones that buzz really loudly around the house and sit on that dollop of jam you dropped on the kitchen counter when you were rushing out of the door with your toast in your hand.

Anyway, I took a few photos in the woods today (as usual). I had clearer pictures to choose from, but I quite like the feel of this one, because it’s almost a fly’s eye view of the surroundings.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Bug-a-day #6 – Hawthorn shieldbug

This has to be the coolest bug I’ve found so far!

Walking through the woods today, something whizzed past me and landed with a very ungainly bump on some ivy at my feet. It took a minute to find it, but what an unusual creature it is. The “armour plating” looks almost plastic, and the spots are indented all over the body.

It took a while, but I found it on the internet, and discovered it is called a Hawthorn Shield Bug.

Apparently, it’s a member of the Stinkbug family – but thankfully, I didn’t have the pleasure of finding out why …

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 8 Comments

52 Pick Up Photo Challenge – Taking care of Business

I probably thought a bit too hard about this challenge this week for Sherene’s blog Print-Sense Design and Photography. The topic is “Taking care of business,” and, as I am not at work at the moment and not doing anything remotely productive at home, I didn’t come up with much in the way of inspiration.  But of course, it’s all about thinking laterally – and this is my interpretation of the theme.

It must be a tough life being a child, when the only business you need to take care of is making sand angels on the beach …

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 5 Comments

Back on the off-track track ….

I began this blog after being diagnosed with a mood disorder, and it was suggested that daily writing about my feelings could be a useful step towards understanding them. This blog was established as a form of writing therapy, and so far, it has been very cathartic and helpful. But a couple of times recently I have questioned its direction – and, indeed, whether it matters if it has one or not.

I initially attempted to focus on my illness and the impact it has on me, my body, my work and my life. I’ve read many other blogs that focus on the writers’ mental health issues and many of them are fascinating reading. Granted, when I first received this most recent diagnosis of Cyclothymia  (I’ve had many over the years), I was excited in a way. The diagnosis makes sense, and it fits (although doesn’t excuse) what I know of my behaviour and all its idiosyncratic ways. This new “label” gave me relief and hope at the possibility of finally confronting it and taming it to the point of re-entering the world of “normal.”

But from the beginning (all those four weeks ago!) I did not want to turn this into a blog that made people feel sadness or discomfort when they read it. There are many bloggers with mental health difficulties who write with such desolation and despondency that I find it difficult to read what they have written. It makes me feel like an intruder, and I have to leave without finishing. I don’t want to write like that. I don’t want to cause other people to feel like that. I don’t want my illness to win.

So I considered the direction I wanted this blog to go in. The bottom line is that I have this disorder, and I am currently off work with a lot of time on my hands. I read up as much as I could about Bipolar and Cyclothymia, and I considered devoting my attention to creating a blog that discusses, describes and researches everything there is to know about them – but there are already blogs that do that, including two brilliant and extremely well written blogs that don’t baffle the ordinary reader with a load of complex jargon:  Bi[polar] Curious and Living Manic Depressive.

I also considered devoting the majority of my posts to the daily/weekly analysis of self, as governed by this illness. There are many bloggers who do this, and only a few who portray themselves and their difficulties in a way that is comprehensive and readable. I’m particularly thinking of Managing Mania off the top of my head, although I know there are others out there who do a similar brilliant job of expressing themselves in an articulate way.

But speaking for myself, after a few initial posts I began to resent trying to think of something to write about my illness. I began to resent even mentioning my illness in a post at all (although I’m doing a pretty good job of mentioning it in this one!)  Something about mentioning it and linking it to my writing makes me angry. It annoys me that I allow it to get so much press. It’s as if any coverage I give it increases its power over me – and I know I need to be stronger than it is.

I don’t judge other writers for allowing their illness to consume the posts they publish, and my own feelings on the subject are in no way intended to diminish the struggle others have to deal with every day.  I just don’t think it’s the way I want to approach it.

I want this blog to be something my child can read one day, without feeling embarrassment or shame or discomfort, and without feeling he has intruded into my private space.

This illness isn’t going anywhere; it’s apparently here to stay now. So, I will mention it occasionally, I’m sure, and there will be periods when it plays a more central role in my writing than others.

But there are also going to be times when it is not mentioned at all, and instead, I will post photos of bugs and things and write about seemingly irrelevant bits and bobs.

So, for the record, this blog doesn’t have any real direction … and that’s OK.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Cyclothymia | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 7 Comments

Bug-a-day #5

OK.

When I said (initially tongue-in-cheek) that I was going to start doing this personal challenge of posting a picture of a bug a day, I never suggested that I was going to know what they all were.

As it happens, I’ve been out again today, snooping very closely into various wildly growing flowers, and I now have a veritable smorgasbord of little critters to keep us all going for a minute or two – none of which I can identify.

But bugs I promised, and bugs they certainly are!   And as eager and excited as I am to post them all for your cringeworthy perusal, I shall try and contain myself to posting one each day.

I found this one in the bell of a daffodil. You have to love its headwear – it looks like it’s off to Ladies’ Day at the races!

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Bug-a-day #4 – Gnat

According to Wikipedia:

“[Insects] are among the most diverse groups of animals on the planet, including more than a million described species, and represent more than half of all known living organisms. The number of extant (that means “currently living” – I had to look that up, too) species is estimated at between six and ten million, and they potentially represent over 90% of the differing metazoan life forms on Earth.”

Soooo … a simple challenge like “Bug-a-day” should be an easy task, right?  …

WRONG!!

Plenty of bugs around in the woodland, even during this early part of the year. But could I find one that would stay still long enough for me to photograph it this afternoon? Could I heck!

So you’ll have to make do with a Gnat.

Not my favourite bug, no real point to them in my opinion. They’re about 2-3mm long (that’s 1/10th of an inch to those working with old systems), and they like to tickle your arms and fly into your nostrils. They seem to enjoy hanging out in swarms – particularly near water (where I was) when the sun is setting (which it was).

Having said that, considering the luck I was having pinning down bumblebees, butterflies, and grasshoppers, at least this Gnat sat still on a closing Celandine long enough for me to take a few shots.

So, for what it’s worth (at least until tomorrow), Gnats are my new best friends …

In fact, I love this one so much, I’m posting two pictures of him/her/it:

And yes, I have an admission to make – in case you hadn’t guessed. The photos weren’t as sharp as I would have liked, so I used a Photoshop Tool! (scream…). Something called a “smart sharpen” apparently combines “gaussian blur” with the sharpening tool. I pumped it up to about 200% and came up with the above.  I have no idea what any of what I just said means – but I’m quite pleased with the result.

Looks almost painterly 🙂

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 13 Comments

Bug-a-day #3 – Marmalade hoverfly

Ah, the poor, misunderstood Marmalade Hoverfly!

Forever being mistaken for a Wasp – swatted away by picnickers, screamed at by jammy-mouthed juveniles, and cursed by many a mistaken rambler. But, unlike the miserable, treacherous, sociopathic Devil’s spawn that is the Wasp – Miss Marmalade wouldn’t hurt anyone, unless of course, you’re an aphid.

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 11 Comments

Weekly Photo Challenge: Through … (tenuously, anyway)

Those of you who have seen my last few posts will be aware that I am having a current issue with Dew Drops – somewhat to the point of obsession and compulsion.

I hate the fact that I can’t quite conquer them!

I even tried to sneak up on them this morning while they were iced up in a frost, but I think I may have to accept that there are just some subjects for which hand-held photography and macro don’t seem to gel – especially if you’re crouched down and wobbly legged like me!

ANYWAY – I continue to persist … although, as with ladybirds, my interest in dewdrops is beginning to weaken. But, while the fire is still a bit warm, I feel my week wouldn’t be complete unless I used a dewdrop picture in a challenge, and I think I can probably find a connection (albeit flimsy) to “THROUGH” with this picture.

Ohhh, but now I’m starting to think that I’m not seeing the background through the droplet. It’s probably reflection … or refraction … or something related to secondary school Physics that I should have paid closer attention to …

Oh good grief! Let me just publish the picture and be done. Then I can start looking on EBay for a cheap tripod!

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 25 Comments

Bug-a-day #2 – Ladybird

Still in keeping with the “dewdrop” obsession, I snapped this little group of ladybirds having a get-together. Quite frankly, the little blighters are everywhere at the moment! And if I never see another one, it’ll be too soon!

(Unless, of course, I could just capture one in flight ….. Hmmmm)

© Alice through the Macro Lens [2012]

Categories: Alice's world, Pictures | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | 9 Comments

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