Insects and Arthropods
My eldest son and I are constantly on the lookout for opportunities to take pictures of fascinating insects. Fortunately for us Somerset provides many habitats for a wide range of species.
There are too many beetles to learn. Like bumblebees they are hard to photograph as the spend most of their time looking down. Spot them while mating and you have lots of time to take their picture.
Butterflies: Blues, Coppers and Hairstreaks
Although these beautiful symbols of the British summertime are becoming increasingly rare, the Mendip grasslands and Somerset Levels still provide photographers with opportunities for capturing their stunning colours.
Butterflies: Brown Butterflies
Each year I take a day trip to Bentley Wood in search of the Purple Emperior - typically coming back with lots of pictures of White Admirals. However, I have spent hours looking for White Admirals on the Levels despite being so easy to find at Bentley.
Fritillaries are beautiful. Most of my picture are taken close to home at Priddy Mineries. I need to travel more if Ir'm going to photographer a wider range of fritillaries species.
Skippers are most fun of all the butterflies. I love skippers!
Butterflies: Whites and Yellows
I may love skippers but my favourite butterfly is the orange-tip. It signals the arrival of a season full of butterflies. They are often easy to approach - never flying far before returning to the same group of flowers.
The area around Priddy Mineries and Somerset Levels are full of damselflies during spring and summer. From the photographer's point of view the main problem is to photograph them early enough in the day, before they fly away.
Dragonflies got be back into photography. They are still my favourite insects - although I do seem to be taking more pictures of butterflies recently.
Not too many pictures of flies. I guess most of these pictures were taken while waiting for something else to happen. But they are hard to avoid, and some are very interesting. I seem to escape the worst of their bites - they prefer the other members of my family.
I do not know much about grasshoppers and crickets. But I'm learning slowly. At least they easier to approach than most insects.
Often over-looked, day-flying moths can provide as much interest and colour as their butterfly cousins.
Spiders and other Arachnids
One day I was driving my son back home from Priddy Mineries when a large spider fell on my lap. I slammed on the brakes, opened the car door and threw out the spider. This was very amusing to my son. Not so for the driver of the car behind. Since then I have began to appreciate spiders - including the many dangerous ones we saw during treks in the Australian outback!