Päiväkirja-arkisto kohteelle marraskuu 2017

marraskuu 15, 2017

Warning: Malawi incoming

I just got back from Malawi, if you couldn’t tell by the mess of observations I managed to make on the plane. These are barely a drop in the bucket—I managed to take so many photos my camera had to start counting from 0 again. Over 10,000 photos! Granted, I was shooting in burst mode for most of the trip (also got MUCH better at using the camera, so don’t be alarmed by how crappy the current observations are), but even overestimating that I took 100 shots for every species, that is still about 1200 observations.

So, a warning to all who follow me. Expect a lot of African bugs in the coming days/weeks.

It was an amazing trip, and I HIGHLY recommend vacationing at Mvuu lodge in Liwonde National Park. We spent most our time there, and I just can’t get over it. I have never had too much to eat on vacation (strange vegan diet, etc), but the chef there worked miracles. And the guides, David and Samuel, are FANTASTIC. Samuel especially is a birding savant. Without binoculars, he would see a little speck in a tree and say exactly what species it was before any of us could even find it with binoculars. He even saw a pangolin in the park once, but the people he was guiding didn’t even take a picture of it, which prompted him to start carrying a camera with him everywhere. The park is on the Shire River, so there are a ton of bird species there. The only downside to the park is all the wild animals (especially hippos and elephants) graze on the grass at night, so my nighttime bug hunting excursions were very brief and incomplete, and limited to what I could find around my doorway.

The trip organizer, Jordan Price at Travis Audubon, did a fantastic job organizing this SUPER AFFORDABLE trip. For well under $5000 (including round-trip airfare), we spent 10 days with the best birders and naturalists in the country. This was his first time organizing a trip like this, and he is planning to do many more. We had people from Oregon and Arizona joining us Texans, so anybody is welcome. Let me know if you want his contact info, and he can add you to his safari mailing list.

Julkaistu marraskuu 15, 2017 03:11 IP. käyttäjältä nanofishology nanofishology | 2 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

marraskuu 19, 2017

New camera; Hello World!!!

Almost all of my something-thousand observations so far have been iPhone photos. While I have become a wizard at taking iPhone photos, my lack of a "real" camera has held me back significantly in the area of "fast, far away, flying things." Part of the reason I am so into bugs is they're a lot easier to get close to than anything else (and let's be real, most plants are pretty boring :P). I like birds, but I have avoided getting really into them because I had no way to getting reliably good photos of them. I have a mount that lets me take photos through binoculars, telescopes, etc, but it was such a pain to use for birdwatching I just kept it on the microscope. And when it came to butterflies or dragon/damselflies, I have been best off just finding them asleep in my yard. During the day, I'd get clearer shots of the Loch Ness Monster.

Early this year I signed up for the Audubon trip to Malawi. I knew I needed a real camera for this trip or I'd regret it forever. So in July I bought the Nikon Coolpix P900, aka the best birding camera you can get for $500. It has 83x optical zoom AND does great macros. I tried to use the camera a couple times and was overwhelmed by having no idea how to use it, so I signed up for a half-day workshop on nature photography in September. The class was excellent, completely demystified all the functions of the camera, and gave me the confidence to use it.

So of course I tried it out a couple times but didn't really get much birding practice with it until I actually landed in Malawi earlier this month. Over the course of the trip, I gained a reputation among the group as being a really good photographer (???), probably because I was regularly able to grab a few shots of briefly-sighted birds that were good enough for the guides to ID from them.

Today (I guess yesterday, since it's almost 2 am) I was at the Blair Woods Sanctuary (love that place!), and after volunteering I spent a couple hours wandering around with my camera. I still need to figure out which ISO to use for any given outing, but oh man, I've been going through the photos I took today and some of them I can't even believe came from me.

For example, here is an example of a spreadwing damselfly from a few months ago:


Here is another spreadwing:



So yeah, expect me to be posting a LOT more often! (is that even possible??)

Julkaistu marraskuu 19, 2017 07:46 AP. käyttäjältä nanofishology nanofishology | 9 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti

marraskuu 29, 2017

TAMU Insect Collection Open House: January 7, 2017 @ 9:00 am - 6:00 pm

Texas A&M Entomology Open House?!?! Count me in!


I'll be driving up from Austin, and have space in the car if anybody wants a free ride. Who else is going?!
@sambiology @hydaticus @kimberlietx @wildcarrot @gcwarbler @ncowey

Julkaistu marraskuu 29, 2017 07:48 IP. käyttäjältä nanofishology nanofishology | 5 kommenttia | Jätä kommentti