First Hummer Of The Season

We had ZERO hummingbirds in the spring. Very disappointing. Donald Ray Burger keeps a log of Houston hummingbird sightings going back to 1993 and when I read that he had his first fall sighting on August 5th I decided to put the feeders out. Today we spotted two hummers. One male and one female, both Ruby-Throated. It was late in the afternoon, but I setup the tripod real quick anyway and caught my first photo.

Hopefully I’ll get some more shots before we head out on vacation. Even better, maybe they’ll still be here when we get back!

Lizardo Sighting

With all the bird activity in our backyard I feared we may have lost much of our indigenous lizard population. But Lizardo smartly moved to the front yard a few years ago. Spotted him on Saturday on the Bottle Brush Tree. He let me get in quite close with the Sony 100mm macro lens. He actually seemed to be interested in his own reflection in the lens, perhaps seeing it as a rival and causing him to stand his ground.

These two images are my best shots of him to date. Click on either image to see the larger size. The detail of this lens is just spectacular!

Oscar Meyer Wienermobile

I was running a quick errand to the H.E.B. to pick up some postage stamps and lo and behold, the Oscar Meyer Wienermobile was parked out front. I don’t know exactly why, but I get kinda silly when I see this thing. Of course I didn’t have my camera with me since it was a quick errand. I went ahead and bought the stamps and then ran back home and asked Cynthia if she’d be interested in taking a whimsy break.

I grabbed my camera and we headed back over to the H.E.B. and had a nice visit with the drivers of the Wienermobile who are known as “Hotdoggers.” It was really quite fun and silly, but we learned quite a bit about the ongoing Oscar Meyer marketing campaign and some facts about the Wienermobile.

They still give away little plastic wiener-whistles!

*Photographer’s Note*
The first two photos were taken using the Lensbaby Composer mounted on the the A850. The Lensbaby Composer creates the selective focus effect you see in those images and is a fully manual lens. The third photo was taken using the 16mm fisheye and the last photo was taken using the 100mm macro lens.


I believe this to be a carpenter bee of some kind. Possibly Xylocopa tabaniformis.

While working in the yard yesterday this guy was hanging around the Meyer Lemon Tree which is currently covered in blossoms for the spring. This bee would just hover near Cynthia as she was pulling some weeds. First he would face her, then he would turn to face the tree and then fly away, usually chased off by another, larger carpenter bee.

The bee didn’t seem to me to be mad or anything. Just curious and very adamant about hanging around in this one spot which was being intruded upon by our efforts to get the garden into shape before summer. Cynthia thought he was being rather aggressive and named him Bee-lzebub.

The above shots were captured while shooting handheld with the Sony A850 and the 100mm Macro in manual focus mode.

Click either image to see a larger version.

*Photographer’s Note* I was not able to get close enough to the subject to create a “true” macro. These are 100% crops from the original photo. For comparison, this is a resized, but original version of the photo the first shot was taken from.

A testament to the resolving power of the A850 and the sharpness of the Sony 100mm Macro.

Jeweled Spider

Gasteracantha Cancriformis aka the crab spider, spiny-backed orbweaver, spiny orbweaver spider, crab-like orbweaver spider, crab-like spiny orbweaver spider, jewel spider, spiny-bellied orbweaver, jewel box spider or smiley face spider

When I bought my first DSLR (The Sony A100) I got a good photo of a Jeweled Spider in my backyard using a 50mm non-macro lens with some macro lens add-ons. It came out pretty well. The original blog post from 2009 is here if you want to check it out.

This past weekend I spotted a Jeweled spider in the front yard but this one was not the orange color I came to expect. This one was white with black spots. These shots are with my A850 and the 100mm Macro lens. Click the images below to see the full sized, much more frightening versions:

The Honeypot

Once the feeders have been up for awhile you get a sense of which of the perches they’ll tend to favorite. This allows me to setup the camera on a tripod, take aim and wait with the wired remote in hand.

This was shot with the flash and using the 70-300G lens

This was shot with no flash using the 100mm f/2.8 Macro lens

And this was with the 500mm Reflex and no flash.