June 14 – A gem of an insect

I took the Sunday morning bike ride, this time with Rhonda LaCount.  It wasn’t raining when we left, but “isolated showers” were predicted.  We hadn’t gone too far before said showers began, light at first, but heavier at times. Fortunately, I had not brought my good camera, and my back-up camera stayed dry in its pack.  While going down Sunflower Road a fawn jumped in front of us.  It still had spots.  It ran ahead.  I was feeling pretty good, so I pedaled after it.  I told Rhonda I was going to tackle it.  When I got really close, it turned aside into the ditch.  I should have stopped and tried to get a picture, but I had lots of momentum and it was still raining.  My legs felt pretty good that day.  The long ride of the previous week and the short run I took with Savannah and Gretchen on Wednesday must have helped. 

Gretchen was playing with a bit of something in the living room one day.  I went to pick it up and it turned out to be a jewel wasp.  I’ve been trying to photograph one of these for years.  So maybe the dog’s a retriever!  I refrigerated it and took it down to my insect studio, subjecting it to my flash and macro lens.  It warmed up and started moving pretty fast.  By sheer effort I got a couple of decent shots.

Jewel wasp

Now you know how it got it’s name.  They’re gorgeous, about a centimeter long, and members of the family Chrysididae.    Usually, they’re in a shaded place and moving fast, which makes photography nearly impossible.  They are also known as cuckoo wasps, as they complete their life cycle by laying eggs in the nests of other wasps (just as cuckoos lay their eggs in other birds’ nests).  They are also known for their rock hard exoskeleton, which explains why Gretchen hadn’t killed or mangled it.  Click through to see three more (admittedly similar) photos of the wasp.  Good dog!

We had a successful gallery opening last Friday at the Canton Area Arts Council Gallery.  A good number of people showed up to see my camera club’s exhibit.  We had a lot of our members place works in the show, and a great diversity of subjects, except portraits.  It hangs until June 26.  Gallery hours are from10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and 1 to 3 p.m.

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