Sunday, 27 June 2010

Macro Monday - Forget-me-not

 "The blue and bright-eyed floweret of the brook,
Hope's gentle gem! The sweet forget-me-not." 

I just love this flower. So small and so simple and so easily overlooked. You have to slow down to appreciate their beauty. You have to stop to see their diminutive blooms. The skyblue flowers with their sunny yellow centres always put a smile on my face.

Back in the English Middle Ages, it was thought that this flower could cure the sting of an angry scorpoin, due to the fact that their buds form the shape of a scorpion's sting. You have to wonder what they were thinking, especially given the fact that there are no scorpions in England!?! There are lots of stories about how the flower got its name, such as the medieval knight and his lady, walking along the bank of a river. He saw the flowers in the water and went to pick them for his sweetheart, Unfortunately, as he was picking the flowers, he fell in. Before the weight of his armour pulled him down to the depths of his watery grave, he managed to huck the flowers to his lover, crying out "Forget me not!" Now, I know that I am a little cynical and not especially romantic, but really, who on earth wears their armour when out on a romantic stroll with their sweetheart!?! Not going to get much action, are you? "Hold on, honey, I just have to remove my breastplate."

Since I have now lowered the tone of this blog considerably, you might as well go and check out these - the Forget-Me-Not panties, which have a built in GPS so that you can keep track of your wife, girlfriend or daughter or at least always know where her knickers are! There is also a sensor incorporated into the crotch area so that you can tell if her temperature or heart rate is rising. You might get a bit of a shock when the knickers are in the wash, or if she is sitting on the washer during the spin cycle! You can buy a week's supply for $1200 - except for the fact that they are all sold out. Bugger.

OK, let's get back to the real subject of this post. You really have got to love macro photography. I was not even aware of this little guy, sorry, girl, lurking on the buds of my forget-me-not until I started to edit my photos. If you look closely, you can make out some even smaller aphids right below her abdomen.

Just in case anyone is wondering just how macro my photos are, here are the flowers with a Canadian nickel. And no Carolina, I am not sending you this or any other money just so that you can see how big the coin is.

Sadly, I am guilty of forgetting my forget-me-nots, which are now dry, shrivelled and very definitely dead. Ooops.

For more Macro Monday, go here.

Monday, 14 June 2010

Macro Monday - Hound's-Tongue Seed

So, last week things did not go according to plan. Even though I actually got off my lazy, lard-arse behind, even though I actually put some effort into getting a marvellous Macro Monday shot, even though I really, really tried, my efforts were in vain - fruitless, barren and unproductive. But, the seed had been sown, and this week, the rewards are being reaped.

And so here, ladies and gentlemen, is the fruit of my labour:

OK, so it is actually a seed, but let’s not get too picky. It is from the hound’s-tongue plant (Cynoglossum officinale), and was found stuck to my trousers two weeks and one wash after my trip to the Okanagan in the British Columbian interior. The seeds are incredibly sticky and so can be carried far and wide by any unsuspecting person or animal that ambles by and brushes against the plant. It was accidentally introduced into North America from Europe and has now become a serious weed across much of the U.S. and Canada. It contains some quite nasty toxic alkaloids that can cause liver damage and poison any livestock that graze on the plant.

Some other quirky “facts” about hound’s-tongue:

- if you put a leaf in your shoe, you will ward off barking dogs and prevent a dog from biting you. If any dog is mad enough to bite you, a leaf poultice will heal the bite, so no worries there.

- homeopaths and herbalists claim that hound’s-tongue can cure any number of ailments, including insomnia, coughs, colds, haemorrhoids, scalds and burns, diarrhoea and dysentery.

- an ointment made from the plant is said to cure baldness.

And my favourite line from Wikipedia, re all of the above claims:

“Not all of these uses are supported by scientific evidence.”

Are any of them!?!

Just in case anyone is wondering just how macro my photo is, here is the seed with a Canadian penny.

Please note:

Hound’s-tongue is a toxic plant. It has been shown to be carcinogenic and hepatotoxic. The author of this blog takes no responsibility for any harm that might be sustained by eating, drinking or slathering your body with this plant. If you get bitten by a dog whilst walking around with one of its leaves in your shoe, don’t try blaming me – it will obviously be your fault for being such an idiot.

For more Macro Monday, go here.

Sunday, 13 June 2010

Macro Monday - Yellow

So, today I took off my lazy arse hat. I went through boxes in the garage. I found my 50mm lens. I found my reversing ring. I found my tripod. Five boxes later, I even found my macro slider, as yet unused. I even went to the trouble of downloading software so that I could take multiple photos and merge them so that I could get an unlimited depth of field. I even read some blogs and help pages on how to do all of this. I was so going to have an awesome macro that would amaze and astound. It was going to be a marvel of macro photography - I had it all imagined, the photo, the praise, all the comments on my skill and how wonderful a photographer I am.

Well, did everything go according to plan?

Apparently not, since this photo was taken a while ago, down in California. Still, at least it means that I can double up with Mellow Yellow Mondays.

The lazy arse hat is back on, since all that effort was apparently not worth it. Perhaps I shall have to be a bit more patient next time and leave the hat off just a little longer..............we shall see.

For more Macro Monday, go here.
For more Mellow Yellow Monday, go here.

Wednesday, 9 June 2010

The Waved Albatross

Well, it was not a stunning performance by anyone with this week's Macro Mystery. One of you got it right, but that was only by cheating, while a few of you were getting quite close towards the end. Well done to those of you who guessed a baby bird. In this case the baby bird is a waved albatross, aka the Galapagos albatross (Phoebastria irrorata).

When I first saw this rather furry looking creature, I was instantly struck by the thought "Well, there is a face only a mother could love!" But then I looked again, and I started humming the tune to "There once was an ugly duckling, with feathers all stubby and brown......." I knew that there was a gorgeous bird in there, just waiting to emerge - if you look closely, you can even see the prisitine white feathers of the impending adult starting to poke their way through the brown. And then I looked again, and I started to see the beauty that was already there. OK, so he is a little scruffy looking and, OK, so he does appear to have a few bare patches here and there. But just look at his eyes. Look at those deep, dark, liquid eyes and see the beauty within this "ugly duckling". And the beauty of those eyes is just as evident in the adults.

I just love these birds. Ungainly, clumsy, even a little comical on land, always looking just a little bit worried, but the most elegant bird when in the air riding the ocean winds with effortless grace.

For more Faces of the Week, go here.

Sunday, 6 June 2010

Macro Monday Mystery #4

I know, I know, these kinds of posts just annoy everyone. But, quite frankly, I have been up since 3am (stoopid birdwatching - why on earth does anyone think it is a good idea to get up at stupid o'clock, stand around in the stupid rain and watch, well mostly nothing really, since I can never find the the stupid bird since I am always looking in the wrond stupid tree). So, we are going for another Macro Mystery which allows me to rain rein in my creative juices, curb my intellectual ramblings and don my lazy arse hat. Here is the photo, now over to you:

What do you think this is?

I shall be back, perhaps on Wednesday, to check your astute and clever answers and hopefully throw off my lazy arse hat to give you at least a little info about the above photo. But I can't promise anything. The lazy arse hat seems to be my favourite bit of clothing right now.

So, it seems as though you could use a little help, so I shall add another photo - this one includes a little more of the photo. Any new guesses? Cortes, I think I hear the doorbell ringing again.........

For more Macro Monday, go here.