DP Photo Challenge: surprise, take 3

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Praying mantis devouring Monarch caterpillar. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Now this was a surprise! I’ve always thought of praying mantises (manti?) as kind of cute. Until I saw this one enjoying lunch.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Surprise

DP Photo Challenge: Surprise, take 2

Close-up shot of praying mantis on photographer's arm. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The surprise is that the photo was in focus, given how I was holding the camera while coping with a praying mantis climbing my arm. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

After witnessing a praying mantis snacking on the last (yes last) Monarch caterpillar the other day, I’ve taken to patrolling the milkweed plants and surrounds to protect the remaining chrysalis and new butterflies from these cute, but lethal beasties.

Daily Post Photo Challenge | Surprise

Another butterfly update: with video

Ready to fly. Close-up shot of one of fourteen monarch butterflies that emerged from it's cocoon in our garden today. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Ready to fly. One of fourteen monarch butterflies that emerged from it’s cocoon in our garden today. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

The Big T’s monarch rescue programme is proving to be incredibly successful. Over the last few days about twenty five butterflies have emerged; fourteen of them today.

Here’s a video I made this afternoon; just a few of the hatchlings getting ready to take flight and leave us forever. Apologies for the slightly out-of-focus bits.

Regular random: five minutes with some cool fluffy stuff

Close up shot of burst milkweed seed pod on black background. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Burst swan plant (milkweed) seed pod. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Photographically, the swan plants in our garden have proved to be the gift that keeps on giving: caterpillars, chrysalis, butterflies and now the plant’s decaying seed pods.

I’ve become quite a fan of photographing objects on a black felt background, and I think it works especially well with the slightly other-worldly fluff balls that emerge from the pods.

This week, as well as posting these images for Five Minutes of Random (the RegularRandom challenge), I’m adding a YouTube clip. I’ve had this song — Mud and Stardust — looping in my head ever since I took these photos.

Regular Random is a weekly photo challenge hosted by Desley Jane at Musings of a Frequently Flying Scientist.

Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge: macro

YOu can never have too many flowers. Double-exposure shot flowers in colour and black & white. Image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

Flowers as symbols of hope, and of loss. Double exposure image: Su Leslie, 2017. Edited with Snapseed.

In my largely ever-green part of the world, autumn is not denoted by an increase in colour, but a gradual sense of its loss.

Sandwiched between tropical cyclones Debbie and Cook, New Zealand is experiencing a few days of sunshine. For the people of Edgecumbe in the Bay of Plenty these days are being spent salvaging what they can from their homes after the Rangitaiki River burst its banks last week and flooded the town, and preparing for the terrible possibility that the temporary repairs won’t hold in the coming storm.

Written for Sally D’s Mobile Photography Challenge at Lens and Pens by Sally.

Six word (and shot) Saturday: catching the last of the light

Sunset, boardwalk at Hobsonville Point, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2017

Sunset, Hobsonville Point, Auckland. Image: Su Leslie, 2017