Nature's Place

The Huntress






In the nearby remnant rainforest there is still sign of insect life. In fact it never really goes away, just hides out from our winter’s cold, and other dangers.

So, hiding as they are these days, the obvious thing to do is seek – and ye shall find, seeking? Not this time, this time I found two magnificent members of the Huntsman tribe.

One female and the other male, in similar places on different trees, hiding behind the loosening bark that the gum trees drop every year. Even trees shed the old to be new.

As I carefully removed a section of loose bark she was alarmed at the intrusion. She ran rapidly up and down the piece of bark once and I thought she was going to do a classic and run up my arm, but she quickly found and settled into the only safe and defensible nook available and went statue still. A protected position from where she was only partially visible and could see any approaching danger – me.

But I was no danger to her, I placed the bark down on the leaf litter, careful not to knock it on anything so she wouldn’t be frightened and bolt. Keeping my movements slow and deliberate I got the camera assembled and moved in for the shoot, what was presented.

This is the female Huntsman, Huntress. A magnificent creature, as impressive as any of the massive familiar animals. And beautiful, with streaked silver hair cradling her eight simple black eyes, massive death dealing fangs and armour spiked to secure prey or repel attackers.

God made thing. From the inscrutable formlessness embracing and upholding all things, a Queen in spider form.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


The Invitation …



Everything, by it’s presence, is an invitation. To what, then, is the question. That depends on its intent and your predisposition.

In this case intent is inoffensive. So, to capture an image of a resting Potter Wasp.

Or its significance is something unseen.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Canon 70D – Pany FZ50 + G1


Couldn’t resist …







A bug from my travels down the local byways.

Just thought I’d post a few samples of each camera, since I’m checking it anyway – in other places.

The same species bug, different individuals at different times. So it’s not really a controlled comparison, just what looks and feels best, for me. Because I’ve had my eye on changing cameras, for improvement of image quality.

I find the old FZ50 the easiest cam to operate, I can do it one handed most of the time and if I drop it I have another in the bag. :-) All shots from this cam are Auto Focus via the (A)rticulating LCD and through an achromat at around 4 to 5″ working distance. Keeper rate is the best at around 90%.

The Pany G1 has an Oly 50/f2 macro lens and same achromat as the others. Focus is manual via the (A) LCD – took some getting used to and isn’t always practical when subject is dark or reflection on LCD is too distracting. Keeper rate is around 30/40%

The 70D hasn’t been set up for macro lighting properly here. Shots by this are AF via the (A) LCD. I find this cam too heavy and can’t hold it steady for long enough – feels awkward. The keeper rate suffers accordingly. It’s a fine camera for everything but macro, for me.

All are JPG’s out of the cam and are post processed in exactly the same way, denoised and sharpened using the same settings.

It’s all entertainment really, not scientific.

They all have their qualities.

Everything is right.

And in its place.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Sweet Attraction …






It’s been cold and wet lately but still some creatures about and looking for nourishment. So I put out some cooked fruit to see what may come. There have been a lot of fruit flies, a few weevils and two beetles I usually find in flowers munching on the pollen.

First the big one came and had a look around, and took off very soon after. She, I think she ‘just because’, didn’t stay long enough to eat the first time but came back the next day, after it would have fermented some more.

I set her to the fruit you see, away from the madding crowd of flies and ants, and she tucked in and didn’t raise her head until this smaller version showed up. They shared the food until the little one took off, didn’t take long at all, and the older one didn’t move for a couple days.

I thought she might have died so I poked her with a piece of straw and she moved, so I left her be. It occurred to me she might be drunk and unable to rise but I wasn’t about to interrupt her experience.

Then, when I was sure she must be comatose from alcohol poisoning she got up and flew away. I trust she did since I didn’t actually see her but you never know what happens in the unknown, obviously.

But in this story they lived happily ever after, this time …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Little Things …


This little thing …



In time, becomes this little thing …



That eventually meets another little thing to do a little thing so more little things can in turn do their thing …


Life on earth depends on the little things.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Born Of The Green








The green, earth as it may be remembered, mother to every creature born, without exception. So why do we think we are the exception, that we can ruin the nature for a profit?

We separate ourselves from nature and call it progress. But what is it progress from or to? From the simplicity of being content in nature, to a future imaginary world that only makes the present unreachable.

I’ve lived long enough to have involved myself in the delicious addiction to minding, as thinking and emotion sustaining a ‘way of life’, to have come to know it as nothing more than the pain of separation from the simplicity of being content now.

And now there is only one concern, one purpose, to live long enough to love enough to not have to do it again – live this life of progression from one self generated delusion to the next, one insane mental construct that only serves to divide, until it serves, as it does. To know love enough.

Look around, the world is going to hell, the world is hell and madmen are in charge. Seeing it is hell reveals the beginning of heaven, separating from the madness, and it is not up or over ‘there’.

Enough experience will do that, especially if you live long enough to get old and ill while retaining a sense of equilibrium throughout, regardless …

There’s got to be less, or other, than this …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Whittling Down The Form …



Winter has advanced across our sub tropical night with the dark clear sky and the native bees are feeling its cold grip. There weren’t that many to start with but now down to two, and they don’t give up, though there is no choice in the matter, in the season – as health fails.

As soon as the sun is high enough off they are into the garden to find sustenance, and maybe a mate – there seems to be a couple females foraging through the day – to complete their instinctive little lives.

It is always a pleasure to see them patrolling the flowers, always careful of potential predators, where I discourage the spider’s webs and the neighbour’s grandchildren from retiring them early.

The least I can do for our garden’s indispensable residents.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look *


Pretty Boy





He is a charmer, colourful fellow, proud headdress, garden ranger, deadly hunter.

When nature is left to itself everything finds a place. The plants feed the caterpillars, they feed all sorts – including spiders, they feed the lizards and they feed the birds.

Everything produces something for the tiny stuff to start it all over again, a perpetual motion machine requiring all the parts to be functioning, as intended.

There is no panic in the garden. They all go about their business without fear of future, or losing what’s known. And the end comes, naturally, inevitably.

Living, eating, sleeping, working, playing, mating and dying is what it’s about. When that can be done without a mental emotional problem it’s a pleasure …

that passes understanding.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Be – Jewelled








Where the native bees have been more or less wiped out by local councils ‘native regeneration’ efforts a few plants have been flowering and attracting other native creatures.

They are shy bugs, don’t like being overshadowed by the flash diffuser, but still some are just too occupied to notice or care – with a few lucky shots taken of them on the run.

Wonderful colours, clearly no less precious to the earth that makes them than the earth’s rare stones and metals are to humans.

Every thing is precious in its place, seen for what it in fact is and not necessarily for what it may be to the sleepless calculator.

Takes a certain separation from mind to see the colour, the form, and not the stuff mind would attach to it.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Bait ‘n Capture



It’s one way I sometimes effect a photo capture of an otherwise elusive creature. A tiny drop of honey placed in a flower and wait for something to take the bait. Once it is feeding it is usually oblivious to other benign circumstances in its orbit.

There is clearly no expectation of danger apparent in its demeanour, unlike some bees that act so cagey when approaching a flower – there perhaps being a knowledge of waiting spiders in its instinct.

You will never see an instinctive creature walk knowingly into a trap, willing to die by its own actions, except maybe a mother or other guardian – though I doubt there is foresight of consequences.

To live and die without psychological fear is no small thing.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Daylight Robbery




The bee hotels I have under the veranda, where they are protected from the heat of the sun and the torrential summer rain, are often under attack by other creatures looking for advantage.

Here is one parasitic wasp laying into the nest of a Orange Tail Resin Bee, you can just see the ovipositor behind the middle legs in two pictures. Through it she deposits an egg which feeds on the bee larva and probably the store left for its initial growth.

It’s the way of nature that one thing depends on another for its sustenance. When one piece of the picture is missing there is a deficiency but things invariably balance out in the big picture – just as well for us most destructive humans.

And then there was light … as one more wasp is created, by design.

A wonderfully mysterious nature.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look

Wild Being


Bee on my stick …


Click on pix to see bigger version in new tab.







Climbing to the sun …


Have only seen those ‘cutters’ behind the mandibles on a Carpenter Bee

  I hadn’t been to Venman for a while and didn’t take my camera on the walk, thinking to just enjoy the cooler wet woods without consideration for a picture, of anything – it had been raining much and I had no mind for hunting.

Along the way the path was flooded and I noticed a commotion on the water’s surface and could see plainly a large insect was in trouble, on its back, wide wings keeping it from sinking, so I offered my stick and it gripped it without hesitation.

It wasn’t the first time I had done such a thing and knew it was only a matter of time before she was recovered and away on the wing, it being a bee’s nature to busy itself. It climbed a few inches and stopped, resting, recovering from its watery struggle.

Walking on I gave it time to wake up and it didn’t move again so I kept it in my shadow, protected from the wind, as I slowly made my way back to the van, where the camera was, and set her up on a dry surface in the sun and took a few shots.

She soon got moving again and after a while tried to fly away but without success, launching into the air but unable to sustain flight for more than a couple feet. I picked her up again and she made use of different surfaces, bark, stone and tree.

I didn’t see at the time but in the pix it is apparent she was damaged on the upper right eye and head, it was a windy day, which would account for her crashing to the water.

Falling back to earth a few times I kept her from the ants and eventually set her climbing a tall tree into the sunshine, was where I left her.

Eventually we’ve got to leave the wild to be …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


The Company Of Bees




Between the recent heat of the day and the rain and wind at night there are few opportunities for shooting Blue Banded Bees. It’s only when they are either feeding or sleeping that they are at all approachable.

During the day they rarely stop for more than a second or two at a flower and I don’t have the equipment for that. So I walk the garden at dusk listening for the tell-tale sound as they approach and select a place to sleep for the coming night.

Sometime during the night I will set up a shot or two and the primary concern is to not disturb them. If they wake they will fly into the dark and may be lost to the night hunters, of which there are many.

It’s why the bees sleep where they do, gripping a stem off the ground and at the end of a branch where there is no through traffic or passers by, to increase their chances of waking in the morning – they are not stupid.

And if a predator does happen upon one during the night it will automatically splay its legs in all directions to make itself bigger and would be a bit thorny to eat, with its hooked feet the first contact.

Once the morning comes they are up and about before any other bee I know, hardy little creatures, bullets of blue and red and black darting about, with purpose.

Even when it’s raining heavily they are up and about, a pleasure to watch, the way they control their flight in tight spots in their search for food – known to favour blue flowers.

Bees being bees … not to be confused with butterflies …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Old Moulds …

break … eventually.










It can be difficult to break from the diktat of previous form. So I thought, again, to show some of the variety of the garden, for your viewing pleasure – and mine. Outside my usual ‘sets’, here is a small sample of the wondrous creatures that come and go in the usually unseen world at our feet.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look


Treasure Ant








And a little treasure they are, caretakers of the dead, diggers of the soil. Indispensable pieces in the great Earth machine.


It’s that time of season the only creatures around are ants, or so it seems. The passion fruit vine, with its highways and byways and the wonderful smell of exotic flowers is home to many kinds of ants, all patrolling for a bite to eat, a little nourishment. The only way to get a shot is to stop one and food does the trick.

I’ve watched an ant eat until it looked like bursting, its abdomen swelling to accommodate the liquid gold. A little honey stops an ant in its tracks, some feed until it can take no more, and off back to the nest it goes – I suspect – to share the treasure. Sometimes with an initial stagger from the unaccustomed weight and balance.

We do it too, with all the momentary treasures of a single lifetime, absorb and distil the essence to eventually radiate as our light or wisdom – after many years climbing around on the vine of experience, you may have noticed.

Whether the treasure is real or illusory, when it’s gone we move on, ever in search of the next de-light. Until the endlessness of the search is seen to be the grand delusion.

Then now is all there is, no loss or need to search, no ignorance nor despair. No need to experience any more, no need, no need.

Still, inside, there is the nourishment of the simple good, no thing, no form, no problem.

And the reality of the moment grows in focussed attention.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click the pix for a closer look



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