Photos from the US Botanic Garden in DC

Should you find yourself in DC, the US Botanic Garden should be on your list of places to visit. It’s right next to the Capitol so if you want a break from the buildings and the politics, step inside to look at the flowers and the plants, they’ll make for a welcome change.

And if you should find yourself in DC during winter time and you have children, then you should definitely visit, because they put on quite the toy train show there, every winter. I even recorded a video of it for you, which you can see in this post.

Enjoy the photos, there are 50 of them below!

Water colors

Today’s post: water colors, and I mean that literally. 🙂

Ripples

Ripples

Ripples

Ripples

Ripples

Ripples

More details

I love macro photographs and I’m glad to see that you do as well, judging by the wild success of my last published set of photographs on this subject. So why don’t I give you more of what you want? 🙂

Details, details, details

I love photographing details. It allows for so much creative freedom — much more than when photographing whole subjects.

Details on film

Here are several details captured on 35mm film. I love how film is readily nostalgic whereas digital photographs have to be edited heavily in order to make them so. I think what that says about digital sensors is that there’s plenty of work still to be done to them. Because to me, unless I feel a photo, it’s just a snapshot.

A few details

Here are a few macro photographs taken around my office a few years back. You’ll see a pair of jeans in one of the photographs. I used to love those jeans; they were the most comfortable pair of jeans I ever owned; and they were made by Donna Karan.

Details of things in our home

You know how you get an urge every once in a while to grab your macro lens and go nuts photographing things? Well, this was one of those evenings when the macro bug bit me. It’s stuff I found in our home, way back in 2006. Enjoy!

A fallen feather

How often do we find a fallen feather on the ground and we take it for granted? We tend to forget the miracles that occur around us daily, flight being one such grand miracle of life, enabled by a little thing like this.

The birds we seldom notice, unless they muck up our freshly washed cars, are able to do something no human being has been able to do so far, without the aid of an engineered mechanism. They’re able to take flight, freely, and soar high above the ground, surveying all they can see, while humans are stuck on the ground.

These seemingly simple feathers are what make it happen (in part). Except they’re not so simple. When you look at them under a microscope, you begin to see all sorts of mechanisms that help interlock each fiber (or barbule) together. They’re rightly called some of “the most complex integumentary appendages found in vertebrates” (see this for more).

For quite a lot of our history, feathers were used as writing instruments, as stuffing for pillows and quilts, as decoration on clothing, in artwork and if legend is to be thought true, in the artificial wings constructed by Daedalus. So I think it befitting that we take a moment to admire the beautiful design of this instrument of flight.

The plaster bagworm

We found this tiny little striped bug in South Florida, USA. It had a silken brown cocoon which it dragged behind it. It was a tiny little larva with minuscule legs, and its cocoon had two entrances. It would hide inside, then emerge out of either end to begin moving along.

I’ve never seen a bug like it, and would love to know what it is. Updated 6/4/10: it’s a plaster bagworm, and that wasn’t its cocoon, but its home — and it’s a pest. Thanks Andrew!

The larva of the asian ladybug

We found this strange-looking bug in our garden in Southern Transilvania, Romania. It’s about 1 cm in length, with small hairs that grow out of bumps on its back. It’s got six legs, and it moves fairly fast.

I found out, thanks to beansmail, that it’s the larva of the asian ladybug, also known as Harmonia axyridis.

The mole cricket – with better video

Back in May, I wrote about the mole cricket — one of the pests that we have to deal with in our garden — and I posted a short video clip.

Last week, I had the chance to shoot footage of another mole cricket that my wife caught in our garden, and this time I used a camera that could record video in macro mode. The result is definitely worth it — at least I think so. You can see the mole cricket in all its nasty, creepy splendor. Let’s hope you won’t get nightmares. Just think, this little monster can fly. One of them could land on your face at night…

Enjoy!

Flowers, upclose and personal

Over the course of a few days, I recorded macro footage of flowers, then picked the best sequences, edited them and set them to a nice, soothing soundtrack. The end result is this — a short video that should get you nice and relaxed. It goes along nicely with my video of garden insects, also filmed in macro mode.

You can see the video at blip.tv, Vimeo and YouTube. There are a few photos that go along with this as well.