Nature's Place

Storm Crew

P1070191-001 - Mark Berkery

P1070279-001 - Mark Berkery

P1070232-001-A- Mark Berkery

P1070267 - Mark Berkery

The long dry spring come summer ended with a massive thunderstorm, fittingly – the dry spell to, well, dry out, and the rain to impel the life-forms to rise up anew.

I was outside in the field when I saw the storm coming, darkening the sky until I was in between the afternoon light on my right and night-time dark on my left where all the street and car lights had come on of necessity – a thin line.

The sky was black grey and it started to rain as I got home, pouring down soon enough. The lightning would flash and the thunder did follow, the time it took between them indicating the distance to the centre. In a short time the lightning flash was followed immediately by a thundering clap of the air – attention.

Right outside my window, the surrounding storm electrifying; it’s coming an exclamation, it’s passing a sign of the new to come. And as it passed I stood out in the rain, the pleasure of the clean cold water washing away the dusty days. In the few days since there has been cloud and rain and damp so some bees, and others, have come into sense once more, heralds of the new year – angels of a kind.

Magical brew … and just as I finished the necessary work in the garden.

Mark Berkery … CLICK any picture to enlarge in a new tab, they do look better bigger – FireFox – for me


51 Responses

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  1. Faith said, on 17/07/2014 at 2:02 pm

    I have no choice but to follow your writing now. I’m in love with the insects on your site.
    My friend and I used to go on walks looking for insect life, the stuff girls run and screaming from was the kind of stuff we thought was stunning and beautiful. I wish she could see this. Look at those wings. You know, one time I sat and watched a cicada emerge from its shell. For over two hours I sat and watched it slowly make its way into its new life. It was an unforgettable experience.
    Smiles to you and yours,

    • Mark said, on 17/07/2014 at 3:38 pm

      Welcome then Faith … It’s good you have an appreciation for the simple nature. It’s value is much ignored or mistaken.

  2. Sometimes people reject insects, sometimes it happens to me too, but I think each life is a gift, a miracle. And, having such a wonderful camera, can catch the point of this miracle. Thank you, for these stunning picture. I love photography and photogrammetry too! And where I live (enter the blog of Torre Doganiera, if you like) there are many rare species of flora and especially in Springtime and Summer, a lot of variety of butterflies and bees. I love to catch them…just in a picture!
    Best wishes, from Tuscany (Siena)

    • Mark said, on 18/04/2014 at 8:02 pm

      Yes Alessandra, people do react emotionally. It’s at the heart of the human condition, lacking the intelligence to see through to the fact and functioning from there alone …

  3. thebiotrotter said, on 21/02/2014 at 6:36 pm

    Hi Mark,

    These pictures are just unbelivable. I’m waiting to go to Indonesia so I am pepping up with checking on different blogs to get some inspiration for my own! Doubtful that I’ll ever reach to this photolevel though!! How long have you been photographing insects?

  4. SuzySomething said, on 27/01/2014 at 3:57 pm

    We’re hoping for an end to our “long dry spell” too….Farmers’ Almanac says it should come in February. Don’t know how those people predict this stuff, but they are amazingly accurate. Please let them be right about it this time!!

    Love your pix…as always!

    • Mark said, on 27/01/2014 at 5:57 pm

      Thanks Suzy. The dry spell is over here now. Been raining for nearly a week. The wildlife will probably emerge soon.

  5. Godfried said, on 20/01/2014 at 4:41 am

    Hoi Mark. Could you do me a favour. I am really interested in the camera because I like your pictures very much. So would you tell me wich camera you used for those pictures. Thank you.

    • Mark said, on 20/01/2014 at 10:31 am

      Hey Godfried. I’m still using (for these pics – exif data is always in the file) the Panasonic FZ50 with achromats more than the G1. Really, any modern camera would do as long as you can get used to it. Any modern high end cam would do better on detail/resolution. It’s all, more or less – non tech, in here Macro Illustrated

  6. sweffling said, on 16/01/2014 at 8:42 am

    A lovely piece of writing. And as always I learn a lot both from you and your replies to others’ comments. Thanks all:)

    • Mark said, on 16/01/2014 at 11:27 am

      Thanks S? Every beat of a bee’s wing waves some dust from the shadows …

  7. standingoutinmyfield said, on 14/01/2014 at 12:28 am

    PS…that last insect…what is that? It is not a fly (four wings), it looks almost like a damselfly, but the antennae are too long. Any ideas?

    • standingoutinmyfield said, on 14/01/2014 at 12:30 am

      Oh my gosh it’s an Ascalaphid!!! AMAZING! I WANT ONE, so beautiful…can you believe they are neuropterans?!?! Thank you so much for sharing!!

      • Mark said, on 14/01/2014 at 8:43 am

        Yes, it’s an Owlfly – diurnal or crepuscular? Maybe waiting for the sun to sink a little lower before picking off the shelter seeking bees, and others.

  8. standingoutinmyfield said, on 14/01/2014 at 12:25 am

    Beautiful post, and gorgeous colours. :)

  9. martine said, on 13/01/2014 at 9:37 pm

    amazing. very excited to discover your blog!

  10. Jacques Willems said, on 13/01/2014 at 5:58 am

    As always Mark, astonishing pictures from those beautiful creatures and a well written story.
    When you read it, it seems we’re there!

    • Mark said, on 13/01/2014 at 2:32 pm

      Thanks Jacques. … a shadow in the storm darkened room, the eye lit occasionally, momentarily by a flash of white that pierced to the depths as the rumbling thunder crashed down and around in the clatter of rain on a tin roof.

  11. acuriousgal said, on 13/01/2014 at 2:19 am

    Just amazing pics!!!!!

  12. gwenniesgarden said, on 13/01/2014 at 12:33 am

    awesome pictures !!!!

  13. mike585 said, on 13/01/2014 at 12:25 am

    Very nice!

  14. terraburrah said, on 12/01/2014 at 10:06 pm

    Amazing. These bejewelled creatures are from another world.

    • Mark said, on 13/01/2014 at 2:27 pm

      The world at our feet … Yes, amazing creatures.

  15. Godfried said, on 12/01/2014 at 9:02 pm

    WOW the last one is amazing. It is one of the best pictures you made.

    • Mark said, on 13/01/2014 at 2:26 pm

      Thanks Godfried. That’s what presented, a crop of it anyway …

  16. Simon C. Joseph said, on 12/01/2014 at 7:29 pm

    Amazing shots as always. My personal favourites are the second shot of the bee and the fourth of the dragonfly. Truly inspiring. I’m looking forward to a change in the weather here in SW England, a break in the rains and flooding will be welcome.

    • Mark said, on 12/01/2014 at 9:15 pm

      Thanks Simon. That’s an Owlfly. One thing you can bank on is changing weather …

  17. andreasb. said, on 12/01/2014 at 7:11 pm

    Beautiful,stunning captures,..

    • Mark said, on 12/01/2014 at 7:20 pm

      Thanks Andeas. Nature is elegant …

  18. Emily Heath said, on 12/01/2014 at 5:52 pm

    The bee in the second picture is in a bit of a funny position, with its legs up in the air – was it having a rest do you think? Or a bit dazed? Love the colours of the beetle.

    • Mark said, on 12/01/2014 at 7:12 pm

      That’s the way they sleep, or rest. This is just on sundown so the bee (Blue Banded, though more grey/silver on this one) is ready to sleep and they do so by locking onto the stem with their mandibles. Same in the first image, it’s a kind of Leaf Cutter and can often be found at dusk in the field of grass with its tail in the air, legs tucked up and gripping the grass stem as in second image. Smaller bees nest/rest inside the stems – like this one : hollowing out a narrow cut stem and blowing bubbles.

      • Emily Heath said, on 13/01/2014 at 4:33 am

        Fascinating. I wonder if their mandibles ache when they wake up.

        • Mark said, on 13/01/2014 at 2:28 pm

          Somehow I doubt it, being built for the job …

  19. thebumgun said, on 12/01/2014 at 5:13 pm

    Great image!!

  20. treesshrubs said, on 12/01/2014 at 4:42 pm

    OMG they are amazing!!!! Such cute little blighters. : ))

  21. afrenchgarden said, on 12/01/2014 at 3:52 pm

    So good to hear you’ve had some refreshing rain in the garden. I have a Anthophora bee that comes into my garden very like your Amegilla. I love the photographs.

    • Mark said, on 12/01/2014 at 5:33 pm

      Thanks AFG. It will be a while before the full effects of the rainfall are seen, assuming some continuity. One Great Carpenter Bee diving into and ‘mining’ the flowers is a good sign.

  22. Deb said, on 12/01/2014 at 3:02 pm

    Stunning, once again. The last in the series Mark, is it a dragonfly? It seems to be sitting oddly for a dragonfly.

    • Mark said, on 12/01/2014 at 5:23 pm

      Thanks Deb. That’s an Owlfly, a ‘crepuscular’ – there’s a word – predator. Beauty, isn’t it …

      • Deb Yarrow said, on 12/01/2014 at 7:28 pm

        Ah! Thanks, I don’t think I’ve seen one of those. It is a beauty, that’s for sure.

  23. jbrianwaddington said, on 12/01/2014 at 3:01 pm

    as always… inspiring. Is the background as it was or have you put in a background to allow us to focus in on the beasties”

    • Mark said, on 12/01/2014 at 5:21 pm

      Thanks Brian. Backgrounds are natural sky with trees in distance, all coming up to sundown, when these creatures are more approachable.

      The technique is called ‘dragging the shutter’, which means flashed with settings allowing BG ambient exposure – something like that.

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