Nature's Place

Macro Walkabout …

Posted in Life, Love, Macro Photography, Meditation, Nature, Photography, Spirituality, Truth? by Mark on 30/12/2015

Of course macro is fun and interesting and I get to meet people I otherwise wouldn’t but it’s not the most important thing I’m doing right now. Something else comes first.

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The first two pictures are from the garden before Andrew arrived and the rest are from the surrounds of the local water treatment plant, bordering remnant rainforest and extensive mangrove swamp. On the edge of the wilds you could say.

There were more creatures to be found in a couple hours than I had thought possible given the wild weather we have been getting lately, so wet and windy. But that’s nature, you never know what amazing little form of life is coming up next.

These are all native insects that have a function in the essential nature on our doorstep. The nature can’t do without them and we can’t do without it, we are it.

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Native bee foraging in the flower and keeping out of the wind for a while.

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Patterned Flower Beetle looking for somewhere safe. I helped her to a flower where she loved some nectar.

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Botany Bay Weevil sitting out the storm and unconcerned by the flash.

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Little Red Beetle and Plant Hopper passing.

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Passed … There’s fire in those eyes.

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Assassin Bug, a juvenile I believe. Hunters all …

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Bug on a Seedpod.

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An older version perhaps, on an older Seedpod.

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Jewel Bug against the sky. Lively little things.

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Sandpaper Fig Beetle found only on the Sandpaper Fig tree.

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Tiny Black Jumping Spider. Excitable little fellow, he’s a male.

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Golden Spiny Ant, a Queen I believe. You can see where her wings have recently dropped from.

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Colourful Leaf Beetle taking its time …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click those pictures for a closer look
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And Then There Were …

Posted in Life, Love, Macro Photography, Meditation, Nature, Photography, Spirituality, Truth? by Mark on 27/12/2015

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The Botany Bay Weevil didn’t notice Xmas coming and going. It was all just time passing, the sun rose and set and in between they did what they do.

Feeding, flying, f…… and posing for photos when the cameraman comes along. Can’t keep a good weevil down. But no, no personality involved at all, of the Weevils.

To capture two together is a rare event, signifying … only that they do …

That’s the fact.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click those pictures for a closer look
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Gypsy Spider …

She’s back … At the beginning of September this year I went out into the garden to have a look around, it was near enough 1.00am. There hadn’t been much to shoot and it occurred to me to take the camera with me, not unusual that.

And there she was, the first place I looked, sitting in meditative pose atop a small daisy bud. A tiny ghost spider, bright against the dark of the night.

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Since then she has come and gone across the garden, from daisy to butterfly bush to sunflower, chia, coneflower and round again. Through torrential rain, baking sun and howling winds …

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Every time I see her she has grown, and every now and then I come across pockets of young crab spiders, some hers I suspect. Some numbers dead in a tray under one of the bee hotels.

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Currently she is resident on the yellow butterfly bush, one leg missing and bolder than ever – age and experience showing. She lets me get very close now without much sign of alarm or resistance.

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I trust she lives a while longer, fulfilling her purpose of nature’s intelligent instinctive desire, albeit unconsciously, and we will meet again in the garden.

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All the good is in the garden, or the garden is all the good, an other time and place … inside.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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What A Feast …

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… the garden is. In more ways than one, I know.

To the senses a delight, of colour and form, scent and texture. Then just a little closer and …

… nature knows no pity, no sentimentality, just survival and reproduction. Only the fittest, the fastest, the craftiest endure.

And the wild formless intelligence behind it cannot be denied, while no thing, no body, lasts longer than its time.

I had a dream … that turned out to be a nightmare.

Now I don’t dream any more.

And the dream goes on.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Noble Visitors …

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It’s another record year, never been 2015 before, as far as we are aware.

And in the garden it’s been another record, but who’s counting … I can’t help noticing the increase in variety and numbers of insect visitors, especially now the butterfly bushes are flowering and a few years work with the soil is bearing fruit.

It is said the Stag is a noble beast – I remember that from somewhere. Maybe it comes from the old English kings practise of hunting them, they had to be noble for kings to hunt them …

But really, kings are just ordinary men dressed up. Every body is of noble blood, all god – whatever that is – made. And the antlered beetle is no exception.

All god made things, and all things god made. To exclude one is to invite conflict to the mind.

Try maintaining a prejudice, a psychological position, without some conflict appearing.

As within, so without. And nothing is absolute, both ways …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Raiders On The Tom’s …

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They’re back, the dreaded fruit fly – dreaded by some because they destroy the harvest. I see them as a photo opportunity, since I don’t expect so am not disappointed.

I have a few tomato plants at different locations in the garden and at just one site something has been taking big bites out of some growing fruit and opening the way for so many others to feast.

This years garden is burgeoning beyond bounds. Plants overgrowing others to their apparent detriment. I just do a little pruning, dead-heading, and trust it works out for the best. The insects are loving it.

And oddly – not for me but against the usual thinking, I see the insects as a good sign, all is well in my garden. Because that’s nature and my garden is me ‘out there’. As within so …

I find if I let what must be alone ‘enough’, inside and out, it doesn’t take more than its share of the available space and things are in balance, not too much or too little of anything.

Equilibrium, who could ask for more?

I know, I know …

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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She …

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She lies in wait, unmoving … threads on the blue to tell and trap or trip.

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Capture … seen first from below, or upside down.

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From above … after a little manipulation, careful not to alarm her.

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A bountiful day … for the spider queen.

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The discarded husk, falls from the blue, form without much life, emptied of nourishment.

waits by the flower for her love, a need of food to sustain her, in this time of reproduction, instinctively without self-conscious calculation.

The blue flower embroidered with her silk, the better to do her job of capture and eat, to feed the young, potential in her.

Red Nasturtium papers the walls of her minds eye, bees and flies the action in her unoccupied space.

Perpetual nature, incomplete in mortal form, knowledge to the seeing eye.

Thank you for the perfect little things.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Ambush …

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Everything needs to eat, it’s fundamental to existence. Things die so other things can live, that’s the way it is in the closed system of energy the earth is. It’s basically an exchange of energy from one form to another. That’s just nature the way it is, no problem.

Spiders have various methods of capture, too many to go into here and I am disinclined to too many words these days anyway, words without purpose – why write again what someone has already done well enough.

Right now though there is this ambush spider active in the garden, a few in fact, and though they are known to take on the colourings of their particular hunting environment, for camouflage no doubt, this one stands in stark contrast.

It can get away with this because of the structure of the flowers, it can slip in between and beneath so as to almost disappear to the unwary eye. It must be effective since the spider, let’s call it he, he is still alive after a week or so and growing bigger all the time.

I have also recently seen a starkly white spider sitting on purple flowers catch a blue green fly as it came within reach, focus for a short time on immobilising the prey before pulling it into the comfortable shelter of the flowers. An amazing display of speed and dexterity in colour, clearly intelligent, to me.

At another time I saw it miss its prey and slip back into hiding, without a sign of emotion, disappointment, sullenness or regret. Most creatures have no discernible emotion, behaving primarily from instinct, but nevertheless are as clever as any person – it is our nature after all, clever, cunning, savage. Not what we like to believe, I know.

There is nothing we are that isn’t already in nature, as much as we like to think we are special. What makes us special is the potential to transcend all that in the clarity of being – our ‘other’ nature, a place of stillness inside uncluttered by thought or emotion, imagery and its genesis. But it’s not for everyone, apparently.

Relative to what I know people can be, in my own experience, nature, for all its manifest savagery, is at least honest. Not imagining it is something it is not, it can be itself without the problem of emotion imagining generates, you can’t have the up without the down – that’s not something I made up, and the delusional complications that arise from it. A problem to which the solution is so simple, to love – not as easy as it sounds.

But, just as the spider has little to no self awareness beyond it’s immediate needs, so is the person but with an expanded cognizance of what those needs are – is what makes us think we’re special. And that’s all right, for the person – every thing has its time, and the spider – who can be no other way.

He still hasn’t caught a bee as far as I know, loved it in her way. I don’t think he’s big or strong enough, perhaps not venomous enough. And he knows it, so he only goes for the certain kill.

Or the bees are just too fast for that form of love, of a spider. Remember how quick you got out of the way of that ‘danger’, bees are quicker, more intelligent, having no ‘minding’ in the way.

Can we get back to that state before mind as random thinking and emotion, with all its accumulated experience.

Can we love that clarity enough to do what is necessary and what is essential to make it incorruptible.

That’s the only question, what matters, for me. Everything else is noise.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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Butterfly Bush …

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and visitors.

I haven’t seen a Butterfly on the bush yet but there are plenty of other creatures enjoying the bounty of fragrant nectar.

The Crab or Ambush spider is unusually plentiful but elusive with so much flowering to hide away in at the sense of touch of a finger to the branch – I usually hold the creatures platform, resting lens tip on same hand to optimise image sharpness.

They are not big enough yet to tackle the Honey bee that is a frequent visitor, as is the Blue Banded Bee. The former doesn’t stop longer than a couple seconds, the latter even less. I am lucky to get some feeding bee shots at all.

It would take different equipment than I have to get feeding Blue Banded Bee shots, or the perfect alignment of some unlikely circumstances, shooting at a working distance of 4 inches and less and only seeing what’s in the frame through the LCD – time lapsed.

I take what I can get, or accept what I am given, maintaining equilibrium in the face of inducement to ‘try’ for more. As if nature is teasing me with a view of a desirable composition of behaviour only to whisk it away in the blink of an eye, again and again.

Such anticipation, the conflict between structured desire and what is calmly attainable, is a fundamental pain. An unacceptable disturbance to peace of mind that is best negated as quick as possible, eventually, by practise.

In the end, the end of finding out what doesn’t work, for me – what I don’t want, nature or life presents and I receive with a final single motion of the press of a button. Relaxed is the focus.

To take a single step in the right direction, against the pressure of mind, to capture a masterpiece of nature.

What I do is present pictures of that, images of the masterpiece nature is.

© Mark Berkery ……. Click a picture for a closer look
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