Focus Stacking and a Moth

We found this really neat moth on our porch several days ago. It had already departed. It was in immaculate condition, and seemed the perfect opportunity for some focus stacking effort. As usual I used CombineZM for the processing, and my Nikon D40 with el cheapo Phoenix 100mm f/3.4 macro lens. Combination of about 20 photos, if I remember accurately. Anyway, for those of you who use CombineZM, the produced the following was the weighted average method.

I will award 5 points to anyone who can identify the stacking artifacts in this picture.

Really Big Bee

This morning I had the door open to enjoy some late spring fresh air. We had a visitor enter the house. She is perished, alas, but she is also the largest bee I have ever seen. Tip-to-tip, unfolded, she is just over an inch long without including her stinger. She sounded like a humming bird.

She spent the day at the clerestory windows, except for one short descent down the wall. At sunset she alighted on my infant daughter’s monkey toy which is weirdly orange. Perhaps she was desperate for nectar. I noticed that she was no longer at the clerestory window from the staircase, but it took my dog sniffing wildly in her vicinity for me to notice where she’d gone. The next picture has a millimeter scale. It is hard to appreciate her size since she is curled inward.

Look again at her stinger and the drip of juice on it. I understand bumble bee stingers are not barbed which means that they can sting multiple times and that they do not die after stinging. On the other hand, they are not particularly aggressive.

I have tried to identify her species, but do not have a good key available. I got some help from Fortune Favors the Bold, where the closest match is Bombus fraternus. Please post an identification or a link to a good key if you know of one.

Dogs on the Roof

Oh, the things you’ll see.

After dinner yesterday I was looking out the kitchen window, and lo, there were dogs on the roof of the house across the street. Two medium sized, confident, bold, and clearly well-loved dogs. The story evolved a little, but I’ll never tell it better than the pictures.