Out in the garden—among the tomato plants, moonflower stalks, or a host of other delectable prospects—possibly lurks the following beauties:
Green Horned (tomato) Caterpillar
Images taken within a matter of minutes against a black cloth backdrop draped over cardboard box. Stalk with caterpillar propped inside a quart fruit jar positioned under bathroom vanity lighting. What a fascinating photo session.
Elephant (rhinoceros) Beetle (megasoma elephas)
Rather than finishing an outdoor lunch with a friend, I opted for an intensively close photography encounter with this beetle. His ankle pinching and scare deserved my utmost attention.
Courting the Garden Spider (2006 re-write)
Hour late. September night air oppressive. One could easily wear the air while watering plants. Porch lights on while warm liquid poured from the limp garden hose, the massive ferns in the far corner. Seconds into the tedious task, the huge black and yellow spider came into view. How had I ever missed this creature.
Dropping the hose, I raced into the house for my camera, yelled at television-watching husband to find a flashlight—and to follow me. He obeyed. I ran. Dutifully, the exhausted man stood beside me, spotted the light on our porch guest, and gaped at both slender-bodied spider and camera-hungry wife. Much to his relief, the large eight-legged specimen grew weary of our night life intrusion and crept the long ascent to gutter top.
A once-in-a-lifetime photograph shoot, over within a matter of minutes. Photographer anticipation bubbled at the thought beautiful photographs.
However, disappointment followed excitement. Images poor quality. All shots in the dark.
The following morning and to tremendous delight, my beautiful Garden Spider lingered near the porch eave, his artistic web fluttered in the breeze. Dilemma—how could I get closer to subject.
Step one. Positioned self face-to-face with creature, four-foot ladder perched between the huge porch ferns. Anxious. Wobbly-legged. Balanced on top rung. Black poster board securely taped on overhang and behind web, my seemingly impossible mission accomplished within minutes.
Ready for another photo shoot, contrasting backdrop highlighted critter coloring.
Step two. Positioned and stabilized six-foot ladder below spider, in flower bed. Stealthily climbed rungs— camera dangling from wrist—cautiously approached, establishing a rapport with subject. Fear and trepidation gone with the wind.
Romanced a spider lately? I have.
Wooed by his beautiful body and intricate web, attention showered image after image. Early morning neighborhood walkers stared, waved, and shouted, “Good morning.” Eyes fixed on spider, a head nod sufficed. Spectacle. A shattered petal among the blossoms below a real possibility.
Final photo shoot—a blessing. Early morning light peeked over trees, its brilliance directed on web and its maker. A spectacular effect.
Days after our passing in the night and hundreds of images later, the courtship over. Perseverance and excessive attention insufficient, he engaged with someone more his type.
What an experience.
Camera: Canon S30 point-and-shoot, macro settingTentative publications: September 1: Hold on, it’s camping through the years September 8: Out n’ About with a friend September 15: Cotton Stops September 22: Mum’s the word September 29: O’ You Beautiful Doll