Day Twenty-Nine

A ladybug hides on a lilac leaf.

These little fellows are year-round residents, although they often try to sneak indoors for the winter.

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Day Twenty-Eight

A spider at the center of its web.

A spider’s web is an amazing thing. It is fragile enough to be torn asunder in a gentle breeze, yet surprisingly strong as even large insects become hopelessly ensnared. It is beautiful in its symmetry yet deadly in its purpose.

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Day Twenty-Seven

A honey bee launches from a flower.

Home again, safe and sound. Not much going on in my back yard, so I popped over to the local environmental center to check out their butterfly garden.

Score! A honey bee, the first of this Challenge! Bumblebees are much more common around here, and I suspect that honey bee populations around here are in decline due to climate changes, just as they are throughout much of the world.

It’s the 27th today! Only three more days! I’ve got to admit that as much as I’m enjoying this Challenge, I’ll also be glad to expand my focus a bit.

One last thing – a HUGE shout-out to Eurydice, the heart and soul of this 30-Day Challenge!

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Day Twenty-Six

An ant and a sunflower seed.

Boy, I had almost no opportunity at all today for bug hunting. Near the end of the day, I found myself outside a museum. There was a bit of a green space around the building, so I began my bug hunt.

The only things that presented themselves were ants, drawn by the waste of us human beings. I shot a couple, just for insurance, then decided to explore the green space a little deeper. Bad idea. Under a nearby bush, less than six feet from me, were a pair of rats. Yup: Urban, beady-eyed rats.

“Those aren’t bunnies,” I thought as I decided that my ant photos would have to do.

Back here at the hotel, I’m looking at the photos and feeling very “meh.” What can I do to spruce them up a bit?

Then I remembered Rule # 10 for this Challenge:

10. There are no rules for editing. Do whatever you want to your photo. Yes, really, whatever you want.

So, I decided to take this opportunity to show off a cool free filter from Adobe Labs: PixelBender2 for CS5. It has a bunch of cool effects, including this oil-painterly one that offers some spectacular results.

I made a little gallery of a few of my Challenge pics, PixelBender-ized. There was no selecting or selective editing for these filters, and I think it’s edge detection algorithm is pretty clever. Hope you enjoy it, and I hope I didn’t disappoint today.

I’ll be back home tomorrow with a little free time. I know where the bugs are back home.

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Day Twenty-Five

A moth checks out Eddie Bauers' prices.

Today and tomorrow are especially challenging. I’m in Chicago with my wife, she’s on a “shopping weekend.” I’m without my camera or my regular hangouts. The iPhone’s my only resource here!

I spotted this moth on the Eddie Bauer building on Michigan Avenue. I think it was the only bug I saw all day. Tomorrow I may be checking my hotel room for bedbugs!

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Day Twenty-Four

A fly hanging on a flower stalk.

This cool-looking little bug was hiding under a sunflower stalk. It’s very windy today, and bugs are few and far between. This fella was braced for the wind storm!

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Day Twenty-Three

A beetle ventures out on a rainy day.

My first iPhone-photo of the Challenge! Today is a rainy day. The morning began with thunder boomers and driving rain, and has settled into intermittent drizzle. While running errands, I saw some potted plants with this brave soul facing the weather.

The photo isn’t as sharp as I wish it was, but I think it’s my fault. It’s hard to get in close to a bug, select the focus area on-screen, and stay on target with an iPhone. Okay, maybe just hard for me!

I shot this in the new “HDR” mode, and I suspect that may have slowed the shutter a bit. Still, not too bad if I say so myself. And I just did!

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Day Twenty-Two

The Day Two spider still awaits prey.

Remember “Queenie,” the spider in my garage window in my Day Two entry? This is her! She doesn’t move around much, so it’s easy to keep track of her.

I feel like such a hack today. I’m exhausted from work, it’s raining, I have another few hours of work ahead of me, and I just plain don’t feel like hunting for bugs. So I grabbed the camera, used the flash, shot a couple of quick ones and, arsi’s your uncle, here I am.

Autumn’s here and it’s becoming difficult to find photogenic bugs. I knew this would happen – it’s September in Wisconsin! Still, hopefully I’ll be a bit more ambitious tomorrow!

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Day Twenty-One

A big ugly spider lays in wait.

This nightmare is very near the back door of my house. It’s huge, for this type of spider, maybe 9cm (toe-to-toe). I’m reluctant to needlessly kill these short-lived creatures, but this gal may soon take a ride to the garden on Harry’s Broom Express.

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Day Twenty

A fly rests atop the husk of a summer's flower.

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