Flash

Rose

Today I had my late birthday present come. My first speedligh flash unit, the Nikon SB-700. The weather has been rather dismal, and I thought I had been transported to autumn it has been so damp and cold here. However, between showers I manged to get a few shots in to play with my new toy. I guess I have some learning to do to get the best out of it. But it come with a nice case, some filters, a diffuser and a bounce card. I just need to get the experience to go with it.

Rose

Raindrops

Raindrops


Rear garden, Staffordshire, England in the rain, again. June 2017.

A Beautiful Chiller

Frozen Rose

Please click on images for full definition.

The past couple of nights we have had some pretty heavy frosts here, and the rose blooms that were tempted to come out in the milder weather and which had begun to decay in the damp atmosphere now look like they have just come out the refrigerator. Frozen popsicles they may be, but they are also frozen little wonders.

Frozen Rose

Frozen Rose

Frozen Rose

Photographs taken December 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

The Mouldering Rose

Mouldering Rosebud

No sweet sugar-coating here
Nor no hoarfrost to set its beauty in ice

Mouldering Rosebud

But the seasons now a confusion of warmth, chill, and dampness
Blooming at the dawn of the Winter solstice
Blooming beautiful when long sleep should be

Mouldering Rosebud

And now the creeping, crawling mould takes hold
A lingering grip of death as it lives the rosebud succumbs

Mouldering Rosebud

A painless demise as Beauty fades
Yet still conquers as it holds fast the edge of the precipice
The rose will fall
Yet Life goes on whatever the season or the turmoil


Photographs taken December 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens.

The Morning After Rose

Red Rose

This was one of those unprepared moments that we all get at times. I was warming the car up and cleaning the windows of night rain, getting ready to go to the supermarket when I spotted this single red rose in bud. The droplets of water collected on the unfolded petals looked so beautiful in the morning sun I just had to stop everything and go and get my camera to take this final shot you now see here.

Photograph taken November 2016, front garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 18-55mm lens.

Softly, Gently V

pink rose

Photograph taken October 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. Manual setting ISO 500. 1/125 sec. f/6.3. No flash, hand-held.

Softly, Gently

Rose

I find grey skies (without the rain, but just after), are ideal for flower photography. You don’t have that harsh direct sunlight, and with some camera control, you can get pretty close to the original and natural hues of your subject. Sometimes, taking a soft and gentle approach can bring about some beautiful details which contrasts with the mellowed, blurred background, especially when being this close to the subject.

This appears to be the very last flower of the season on a rose I planted in memory of my Mom seven years ago.

Photograph taken October 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. Manual setting ISO 400. 1/250 sec. f/6.3. No flash, hand-held.

War of The Roses

Rose And Aphid

Again I have gone to photograph one of my roses to find something else keeping it company. This aphid is one of its arch enemies, of course, but they appear to be taking a break from the battle. For now.

Photograph of a greenfly on a rose, taken September 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens. ISO 400. 1/160 sec. f/11.

More Devastation

Large Rose Sawfly (Arge pagana)

They are at it again. I have posted on these previously this year, and these sawfly larvae, called Large Rose Sawfly (Arge pagana), are stripping my rose-bush leaves again. They seem to be very methodical in their consumption of the leaves, completely stripping individual leaves bare before moving onto others, leaving ravaged skeleton stalks behind them. They must be another generation.

But if the little birds catch site of them, they are a good source of protein.

Please see my previous posts ‘Balancing Act’ and ‘Life In A Week’ for more information.

Photograph of Large Rose Sawfly (Arge pagana), taken August 2016, rear garden , Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Sigma 105mm macro lens with softbox flash diffuser.

Beauty And The Fly

This was one of those moments, when after coming home from work, I had a few minutes to explore the garden with my camera, the rain still having a last go after a day of rain, along with the wind, every photographers enemy, unless you are photographing kites and balloons, that is. Yet amongst these battling elements, there was:

A water-drenched rose.

A ray of sun.

And a tiny black fly, just stopping by.

Balancing Act

Large Rose Sawfly (Arge pagana) larvae

Another species of sawfly on my roses, and I believe these may only be young instars. There are two species of large rose sawfly in Britain, this species being the more common of the two, the other being Arge ochropus. Sawfly have good balancing skills, and to ward off predators they jerk their tail ends around in the air.

The adults, which I have seen flying around the garden, are quite distinctive and have bright yellow abdomens. The female makes a tiny saw cut in plant tissue in which she will lay her eggs. The resulting caterpillars will feed in groups, and they can strip leaves quite rapidly if in large numbers.

Two to three generations of Large Rose Sawfly maybe produced from May to October. They are seen in parks and gardens, also hedgerows, anywhere where rose occurs. Common and widespread.

Photographs taken July 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire.

Rose Ravagers

Whilst deadheading some roses in the garden, I came across these happy pair which had virtually munched their way through a whole rose-leaf. It is called Arge nigripes.

Notice how the one has it back-end in the end. This is a tell-tale sign that these are not your normal moth or butterfly caterpillar, but the larva of a species of sawfly. If disturbed they will whip their tails around to ward off predation, sometimes spraying a foul chemical. Another way to tell is that they have six or more prolegs, a few more than their lepidopteran friends.

They are quite gregarious creatures, so I guess I am fortunate to just have the two of them, as far as I could see. Although I did spot a bunch of other sawfly larvae shortly after, rapidly consuming fresh rose shoots, but that’s another story.

This one here is almost quite cute as he hugs the leaf and almost appears to smile …

In large numbers sawfly larvae can become a serious pest, but thankfully they appear to be doing but a little harm to my roses. And when viewed from above it has quite beautiful pale and dark green stripes running the length of it, and a darkish brown stripe on its head.

Sawflies belong to the order of insects called Hymenoptera, same as the bees, wasps and ants. Adult sawflies are harmless and do not sting. The females cut through plant tissue to lay their eggs inside. And the result are these hungry caterpillars.

Photographs taken July 2016, on rose-bush, rear garden, Staffordshire.