Wednesday (17-July-2019) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Daily Walkabout. My back hurts and it is really hot and humid outside. I only went out for a short time with a much lighter kit — Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens. Bumble Bees, Butterflies (Skippers? and Monarch), and of course the Hummingbird Clearwing Moth. In addition to the Zinnia flowers, one Hummingbird Clearwing spent some time feeding on Larkspur (Delphinium) flowers. Later in the evening, before it started raining a small herd of deer passed through the backyard. I captured these images with a Fuji X-T3 camera and 200 mm f/2 OIS lens with a 1.4x teleconverter. There were only three fawns (used to be four), and one of the fawns has some open sores on its face. Three wary does stayed nearby. They were all being harassed by flies.

Bumble Bee. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.


Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) feeding on Larkspur Flowers. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) feeding on Larkspur Flowers. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) feeding on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Hummingbird Clearwing Moth (Hemaris thysbe) feeding on a Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Nikon D850 camera and 70-300 mm VR lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.



Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.



Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.


Daily Power Use (67.9 kWh) from Sense and Solar Production (71.8 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. More clouds as the day progressed with the outdoor temperatures increasing, but still generated about 3 kWh more power that I used. The GeoThermal HVAC heat pump needed to run at full capacity (stage 2) part of the afternoon just to keep up with cooling the house. It will be interesting to see how the GeoThermal system does Friday to Sunday as the outside temperatures will be approaching 100 °F (38 °C).


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Thursday (11-July-2019) — New Jersey

Summertime Backyard Nature in New Jersey.

Walkabout around the house to view the flowers and wildflower gardens. A Monarch butterfly, Bumblebees, and a Firefly in a Poppy Flower. Kermit the bullfrog in the pond and hiding in the grass, and an immature American Goldfinch eating the Bachelor Button (Cornflowers). The bird is blind in one eye. Then a variety of flowers.

Troll in the Garden. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Troll in the Garden. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.



Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.



Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.



Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.



Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.



Click on the above image to access the individual slideshow images in my gallery.


Daily Power Use (48.4 kWh) from Sense and Solar Production (35.0 kWh) from SolSystems and Locus Energy. Lots of clouds today, especially in the afternoon so I used more power than was generated.

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Wednesday (25-July-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Summertime Nature in New Jersey.

After the morning rain, a Monarch Butterfly and a Clearwing Hummingbird Moth showed up in my wildflower bed next to the house. There also were a lot of Bumble Bees working the flowers. Up on the patio, the Caterpillar was still eating my Dill herb. The Tomato Hornworm covered with the predatory wasp cocoons was still hanging on. A Stink Bug was feasting on a green tomato — I knew they were vegetarian, but don’t want them eating my vegetables. Finally,  a weird-looking spider (Darth Vader, or out of Aliens) was guarding its web.






Bumble Bee on a Red Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee on a Red Zinnia Flower. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Caterpiller Eating My Dill. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Caterpiller Eating My Dill. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Tomato Hornworm covered by Parasitic Wasp Cocoons. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Tomato Hornworm covered by Parasitic Wasp Cocoons. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Stink Bug eating My Tomatoes. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)
Stink Bug eating My Tomatoes. Image taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (DAVID J MATHRE)


Individual images from the slide shows can be viewed here.

Friday (06-July-2018) — New Jersey

Backyard Summertime in New Jersey.

Focus Stacked Macro images of a Bumble Bee on a Pink Zinnia Flower.  Fuji recently released a firmware update for the Fuji X-T2 and X-H1 mirrorless cameras that allow the camera to take a series of focus bracketed images. The camera starts with a user selected near focus point, then for each subsequent image changes the focus point an increment further away (toward infinity). The bracketing settings are number of frames (2-999), step (1-10), and interval (seconds). Each of images below are focus stacked composites of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec) with a step of 10, and interval of 0 seconds. I used the Helicon Focus program to process the focus bracketed images to create the focus stacked composite. The result is an image with a depth of field much greater than could be obtained with a single image even with narrow aperture.  Note the tiny mites on the back of the bee.

Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee with Mites on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)
Bumble Bee with Mites on a Zinnia Bloom. Focus stacked composite of 25 images taken with a Fuji X-H1 camera and 80 mm f/2.8 macro lens (ISO 200, 80 mm, f/2.8, 1/250 sec). Images processed with Helicon Focus. (DAVID J MATHRE)

As noted above, I used a setting of 25 images, step size 10, and interval 0 seconds. I chose 25 images because that is about the number of images that can be taken (raw + jpg fine) in a burst before the buffer fills and the interval between images becomes longer. This allowed me to take the images hand-held (without using a tripod). I am not sure what the interval represents, and if it is different with each lens. The setting of 25 images and step size of 10 gives me a about half an inch of “in focus” range at a close focusing distance. Saving only jpg images would permit more images to be taken (deeper depth of field) and/or a smaller step size (greater resolution). I still have a lot to learn about using the focus stacking capability with this camera. Lots of trial and error. I am glade that digital memory is cheap, although processing lots of images takes time.

Ten-Years Ago (06-June-2007) — New Jersey

Backyard Springtime Nature in New Jersey.

Late afternoon/early evening walkabout. Wildflowers, bumblebees, house finch, and a deer trying to be invisible.

Pink clover wildflower. Late-spring backyard nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 100, 105 mm, f/11, 1/60 sec) (David J Mathre)
Pink clover wildflower. Late-spring backyard nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 100, 105 mm, f/11, 1/60 sec) (David J Mathre)
Doe trying to be invisible behind some overgrown grass and weeds. Late-spring backyard nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 100, 105 mm, f/11, 1/60 sec) (David J Mathre)
Doe trying to be invisible behind some overgrown grass and weeds. Late-spring backyard nature in New Jersey. Image taken with a Nikon D2xs camera and 105 mm f/2.8 VR macro lens (ISO 100, 105 mm, f/11, 1/60 sec) (David J Mathre)