Monday, 20 April 2020

Lockdown Day 28 - Macro photography in the allotment

 I have been taking photos since childhood. My Dad is, and my Granddad was, a keen photographer and I remember watching my Granddad editing Cine films on his own equipment and my Dad told me that when he was at home, my Grandad had a dark room in the attic where he developed his own photographs.

Whilst I can't afford a DSLR and long range lenses, I have recently got a Kodak Bridge Camera, but before that I have been using a small Canon digital camera which has quite a decent macro setting on it. (A long time ago I had a Praktica SLR film camera with a 70-210 lens and 28-70 lens with macro on, but getting film is difficult now and costly)
Whilst the newer Kodak camera is much better resolution and features, I still sometimes take the mini Canon one to the allotment for photographing the crops, flowers and the insects that come into the allotment.
 We've had a lavender bush for some time in the allotment and to be honest it is getting past its best now and needs replacing. However, it is a magnet for bees and butterflies and indeed moths on an evening. Getting a good shot of bees is quite difficult unless they are sleepy and they never stay still for long.
 Hoverflies are common in the allotment and we try to make sure there are flowers for the pollinating insects in general there. Obviously, the fruit trees have blossom in Spring, but we also leave a few dandelions and poppies and let a couple of leeks and parsnips go to seed. We also grow stocks, nasturtiums, marigolds and cornflowers and the courgettes and pumpkins, beans and peas also set flowers in summer.

Hoverflies, wasps and ladybirds are very good for getting rid of aphids.

Even just an ordinary fly is fascinating close up with the multifaceted eyes and luminescence on the wings. Greenbottles are also quite dazzling close up.

We grow organically and believe that working with nature, not against nature is the way to healthy crops, and everything has a balance, with predators there for the prey. Our soil is teeming with worms and centipedes though we also have millipedes and ants which are less attractive, but they all fit into the same ecosystem. There's leatherjackets and other bugs for the Robins and Blackbirds and there's spiders and a whole range of other species too. It has unfortunately been some years since we have had grasshoppers. Blue Tits forage for tiny insects and Dunnocks unobtrusively potter around the bushes. We often get Wrens and the Mistle and Song Thrushes have bred in the allotments over the past few years and last year the blackbirds raised three broods in the hedge that surrounds the allotment.
The first photo, of cabbage white caterpillars is not something to be welcomed though as they can decimate any brassicas left uncovered - I do squish them if I see them, but would never use chemical controls as these would have unwelcome side effects and our allotment flourishes without them.

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