kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
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This spring seemed a bit slow in the butterfly garden, but it looks like it's getting busier! I spotted a few things recently to snap photos of, anyway.

Have a look? )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
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Spring is sprung! And pretty much over already, in these parts. The high today is 90F, though (thankfully) we seem to be going down a few degrees after this. Anyway, the butterfly above was a new sighting for me--a Dainty sulphur (Nathalis iole) spotted down by our neighborhood lake. Not shy at all, either--I was shooting with my 24mm pancake lens, which means I was maybe 10 inches away from the critter for that shot. Nice of him/her to cooperate!

Have some more? )
Okay, enough for now. What will the weekend bring? We shall see!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
You want to know what's happening in my Central Florida yard the weekend before Christmas? I had no idea you cared, but I'm glad you asked!

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Cassius blue butterfly (Leptotes cassius) on shepherd's needle in the butterfly garden. These guys are tiny, and FAST! This one posed for me for a minute, though.

Clicky! )
And that's it for now--slow week at work, I hope. I'm here through Wednesday, then off for Christmas and Boxing Day. Next week I'm angling for a 6-day New Year's weekend, maybe! I need to get out to do a little shopping here shortly, but maybe later I can post about our Virginia trip and other goings-on.

Have a great day and thanks for looking, as always!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
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For the benefit of the new folks: butterfly gardening is a hobby of mine, as is photography, and they dovetail quite nicely this time of year! I like to grab the camera and macro lens and head out to the garden to see what I can find--and of course, what I find isn't the half of what's really going on out there, but it's fun to see what I come across. :)

That first photo above is something of a rarity: I have lots of passionvine, which several species of butterfly use as their host plant, in this case Gulf fritillary (the orange one) and Zebra longwing (the white one). But normally they lay eggs on different areas of the plant, so it's unusual to see their caterpillars in such close proximity. Kinda neat.

More right this way! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Thinking about what to do with the upcoming weekend! I'm still a little shaky health-wise, though I have decided it's just allergies run amok. I think my usual allergy-related sinus congestion made its way down into my chest, where it's hanging on for dear life as I mercilessly (and to the annoyance of all within earshot) try to hack it up. I really don't FEEL all that bad, but my voice is hoarse, I sound like a hospice patient trying to clear my throat and cough up ick, and I'm sore in places from the constant coughing. Oh, and I haven't been sleeping very well because of all this, though I think last night was a little better. I don't remember waking up between bedtime and 3:30am or so, anyway, which is an improvement over the past few nights.

So anyway, since last weekend ended up being a bit of a waste--foiled plans and sickness Saturday, and then Sunday wanting to take it easy until my photoshoot in the evening--I would really like to get out and do something exciting this weekend. So I'm making a short list to run by the wife and girls to see what they might prefer:

A) Rainbow Springs State Park, Dunnellon. About 1.5 hours away. The Rainbow Springs and River are supposed to be gorgeous, and they rent neat kayaks with transparent bottoms, which I think would be amazing. Cons: the park is in the middle of nowhere, so we'd have to pack in a lunch, and there's no playground. There's swimming in the headsprings, which the girls would love, but probably on a slightly warmer day--it's not going to be particularly warm tomorrow.
B) Volusia/Flagler Counties. Around an hour away. This would be in part a repeat of a previous trip, but we'd all like going back to the Dunlawton Sugar Mill Gardens, and maybe one or two of the state parks we enjoy in the area like Tomoka and Bulow Creek.
C) St. Augustine area, about 1.5 hours away. I think this one gets my vote. There are a number of state parks (Faver-Dykes, Washington Oaks Gardens, North Peninsula) that we've never been to and could add to our list, several of which have river and beachfront areas, and the beach off Flagler County looks kinda cool, a bit more rocky than we get further south. And there's always St. Augustine itself, which is fun to walk around and explore. We've never actually taken the girls to the old Spanish fort there, which is a must for Florida kids! Oh, and a few weeks ago the girls were saying they wanted to go climb the Ponce Inlet lighthouse again--St' Augustine has a very similar one that we've never visited and I want to!
D) Gainesville, about 1.5 hours away. We go to Gainesville every few months to visit some favorite places, like the Florida Museum of Natural History on the UF campus, and Devil's Millhopper state geological park. And there are always new things we haven't tried too. We're about due for a visit before our annual pass to the museum expires, and they always have butterfly plants for sale, which is on my list for the weekend to get some for the garden. But since we're going to DC next weekend, I don't want to get the kids too museum-ed out yet, know what I mean?

So yeah, I'll drop that in an e-mail to the wife and see if any of those options sound good to the girls. May as well make a day of it, whatever we do! Sunday we can stay close to home, relax, edit photos, work on the pool and in the gardens, etc.

Oh, speaking of the gardens, we were looking around in the butterfly garden the evening before last and spotted our first lepidopteran guests for the spring: a few teensy tiny first-instar Eastern black swallowtail caterpillars on the fennel, and a few monarch eggs on the milkweed. Yay!

Okay, gonna get a little more work done, but I am hoping to cut out early this afternoon and get in some relaxation (maybe even a nap) at home so I can hopefully be all refreshed and better for tomorrow's adventures, whatever they may be!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
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This fellow was in the butterfly garden the other day, and I was quite excited to see it. It's an Oleander moth, aka Polka-dot wasp moth. At our previous house there was a nice big oleander bush in the back yard, and these would come to lay eggs on it. Their caterpillars are kinda neat:

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This was the first time I'd seen one in our current location, though, so I was thrilled to see it--I need to add an oleander to my garden for them!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I need a break from working today, so I figured I'd toss out a few photos from my nice long weekend. I could already use another!

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Wednesday night the girls played dress-up and got into their makeup kit. Kinda scary, I'm not gonna lie. :)

More! )
And that was about it, really--yesterday was a pretty relaxing day around the house, aside from a trip out for lunch and to the pet store. Oh, and in the evening I took all 3 girls to one of the big Halloween costume and decor stores that pop up this time of year. Hermione enjoyed it, but the younger two were a bit traumatized by the animatronic creepy clowns. They got over it pretty quickly and had fun looking at the costumes and other stuff, though. They don't mind creepy-crawly things, but I guess the scary clowns were a bit much. :)

This evening I'm responsible for dinner--Heather and the girls are off to a Science Club at a local nature preserve. Sounds like a lot of fun, I wish I could have gone! The girls were very excited about it--Hallie even went to bed wearing a nightgown over shorts and a t-shirt, because Heather had told them that's what they needed to wear to the Science Club. Silly girl apparently forgot that between waking up and going to the preserve they had gymnastics class so she'd have to change anyway! Hopefully they have a good time. And for dinner I'm doing what any Dad in my situation would do: PIZZA! :)
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
So the follow-up interview yesterday didn't go quite as planned--it was supposed to be an in-person meeting, but it ended up being a phone call instead since Joan was working from home instead of coming in to her office. oh well, it still went well, and I left feeling fairly confident about my chances. I've talked myself out of that feeling a little bit, especially since finding out about someone else who's going for it and might also have a pretty good shot. She has some strengths and recent experience that I lack, but I bring some other things that i think make me stand out. Anyway, now it's just a waiting game, should find out something next week, probably. Maybe sooner, but I'm taking the next two days off (and then have a 3-day holiday weekend), so I'm not holding my breath.

Speaking of, I am excited about having a nice 5-day weekend! Not that we have a whole lot planned--we plan to hit Disney World a time or two since our summer blackout period ended and crowd levels look pretty good. It's still really hot, though, so if we do that it would probably be shortish morning or evening visits. That's why we have annual passes, after all--we can go and stay until we get too hot or sick of crowds, and then go home. :) We also plan to head over to visit my Dad one day, which will be nice. And other than that, I'm just hoping to work and play around the house and not think much about work. As it oughta be. :)

Not much to report otherwise, so have some recent photos!

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We all took a walk down to the neighborhood lake the other day since the evening was pleasant--Amy had fun swinging.

More! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
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I already did a weekend update this weekend, really--the only thing after I posted last was the family photoshoot that evening, which was okay. I was a bit late because a thunderstorm was moving through and it only takes a little rain to cause accidents and bring I-4 to a standstill. Once I got there the weather held, though--a little sprinkle here and there, and overall fairly gloomy, but nothing that kept us from our appointed rounds. They were nice enough folks, but the lady who hired me had her mind set on beach photos so she wanted me to try to frame things to make it look like they were at the beach instead of at an inland resort. Not really happening, especially with a group of 13 people, but oh well. They should be happy enough.

And now it's already Wednesday! Back to the grind. Yesterday was our staff meeting over in St. Pete, so that was a nice long drive to take in my new car. Felt much more comfortable than the old Scion. And the satellite radio is nice too. Still chuffed about the car, obviously! Waiting on a couple more things to arrive and maybe this weekend I'll install the Bluetooth/USB interface for the stereo. And hopefully plan out how to do the ambient lighting while I'm at it. I decided against the Ford aftermarket kit, it just doesn't seem worth the money for what it includes. So I'm gonna get a long strip of RGB LEDs and rig up my own. Should be an interesting project!

Anyway, I'm avoiding work and I should quit that. But have some pics from the weekend first!

Clicky! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Well, it was a fairly boring and unproductive weekend--everyone but me has been fighting a cold, so we didn't really feel like roaming too far. Saturday we did head out to Clermont to check out a new park and pay a repeat visit to the Presidents' Hall of Fame (neat place--the centerpiece of the place is a HUGE scale model of the White House that is just amazingly detailed). Aside from that, we mostly stayed home.

But my butterfly garden is doing amazingly well and has just been a hotbed of activity lately, so I got a bunch of photos out there and thought I'd share. So if you like close-ups of caterpillars and butterflies and assorted other bugs, come right along. :)

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That's a Gulf fritillary caterpillar on the passionvine. There are scads of them!

Butterfly Garden Fun! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
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It's been a while since I updated this thing, I suppose I should do better with that. So here's a photo update from the long July 4th weekend!

Right this way, please! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Apparently Saturday was Nature Photography Day or some such thing--I had no idea, but I took part anyway by looking for fun stuff going on in my butterfly garden. It's a happening place right about now! And I still adore this 100mm macro lens. :)

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This is actually from last week--I was thrilled to find that the Eastern black swallowtails FINALLY discovered my fennel! This is a pretty new caterpillar--they look rather like bird poop at first.

More this way! )
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
As is my custom, a few photos from the past week or so!

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The weather was really nice last Monday, so I came home early and we went back out to the Magic Kingdom for a bit. There's so much great photo potential in the Haunted Mansion alone, but it's pretty dark in there. Maybe when I finally upgrade to a full-frame dSLR I'll have better luck. :)

More, of course! )
And that's it for now! Last night I had that engagement shoot at EPCOT, but we got home past our bedtime and I haven't touched the photos yet. I'll maybe share some here or over on [livejournal.com profile] shutterbuggery before long.

Later on today I'll munch a quick lunch here, then go watch the girls (and take photos, of course) in gymnastics class. And then I'll go shopping for my new Android tablet! I decided on a Google/Asus Nexus 7--seems like a good value for the price, and it has GPS, which not many tablets seem to include. Can't wait!

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