345: Up

Up at the county fair

Last week’s The Daily Post Weekly Photo Challenge was Up.  I’m a little late to the party, but I’m hoping it will be considered fashionably late and my tardiness will be excused.

While we were at the county fair last weekend, I made it a point to look up.  I like to use new photos for these challenges when I can, but won’t balk at using something from the archives if necessary.  (A hint of things to come?)

A theme or challenge is a good way to get me to stretch a bit, creatively speaking.

Last year, as part of a NaBloPoMo theme (it should be noted NaBloPoMo has been around longer than the WordPress PostADay challenge, and I was glad to see WordPress acknowledge that), I spent a whole month looking up.  You can start here if you’re new to the Bogs blog and are curious as to how that worked out.  It was fun.  But I also have admit it wasn’t too challenging as I’m frequently looking up.  The main challenge was to avoid posting a month of cloud photos.  The main highlight was getting Freshly Pressed for this post.

I looked up at all sorts of things, from statuary in a cemetery to city buildings to geese flying overhead.  Two of my favorites from that month are The Star Barn (because I had an opportunity to get close and photograph it rather than just look at it from the highway as we passed by), and In Flight (the pelican will explain why).

Although I did spot some other “up” things to photograph at the fair, I concentrated mostly on the Ferris wheel.  I like Ferris wheels as long as I’m on the ground looking up.  I don’t mind too much riding on one either, as long as the person I’m with doesn’t rock the gondola (too much).  The biggest wheel I’ve ever had the pleasure of being on was the London Eye back in 2000 when M and I lived in London for a good part of a summer.  Ferris wheels, like hot air balloons and fireworks, are what I think of as sky flowers.  Or flowers in the sky.  Take your pick.

The day after the fair M and I were out back flying kites with our oldest granddaughter.  It was very windy that day due to Irene.  A big gust came along scaring Emma soon after she had control of the kite.  It almost picked her right up off the ground.  One of the nice things about being a grandma is that I’m well grounded.  Emma spent the rest of her kite flying time hanging on to me, and I’m happy to report that she wasn’t swept away with Irene’s winds.

On my walks around the pond lately I can look up and see all the berries on the bushes surrounding the pond.  It looks like the birds have already been at them.  I’m not sure what kind of berries they are.  Anyone else know?

Viburnum berries

The heat and humidity continue unabated.  I think these past two days have been the worst of the summer.  I did not want to go outside.  Yesterday evening the air was filled with clouds of gnats.

The white spots that make the photo look grainy are the swarming insects.  I didn’t let them deter me from going for a short boat ride around the pond.  Boat season will be over soon, and the pond is in need of aeration.  It’s looking yucky (as my oldest granddaughter would put it).  It needs some rain and wind to freshen it up.

Today's view of the pond

Today’s walk around the pond is not for the squeamish.  Whenever I walk through the meadows, I know there are lots of eyes upon me…

There are a lot of praying mantids scattered about, and I’ve gotten good at spotting them.  Today I found one that had just captured its lunch.

It’s a yellowjacket which, frankly, I’m glad to see somebody out there is eating.  In a few more weeks the yellowjackets will be everywhere.  Eating or drinking can be hazardous when they’re out and about.  I was once stung on the tongue by a yellowjacket that had crawled into my beer can while we were on a picnic.  I didn’t see it in the can, took a sip, and yow!  So you can see why I am not a fan of the yellowjacket.  I realize they have a place in nature’s grand scheme (they are predators of some pest insects).

The next photo is a close-up so if the previous photos bothered you, don’t look.  I’ll wrap this up now so you won’t have to scroll any further.  Thanks for dropping by the Bogs and joining me on my walk today.  I hope you’re having a great weekend.  🙂

37 Comments on “345: Up”

  1. Kel says:

    some awesome ‘skywatch’ photos here Robin
    but I’m particularly drawn to the praying mantis eating the wasp
    curiously wondering how come it doesn’t sting him (and why I think the praying mantis is a ‘him’)

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Kel. 🙂

      I noticed that the praying mantis is eating the wasp head first, away from the stinger, although how he captured it without getting stung is beyond me. I tend to think of it as a ‘him’ as well.

  2. Joceline says:

    WOW. I was enthralled by your ferris wheel shots and then I saw the praying mantis ones. Incredible. Thank you for today’s lovely wander.

  3. milkayphoto says:

    LOVE your ‘UP’ photos! So colorful and creative!

    JEALOUS you have Praying Mantis! I’ve only seen a few in my lifetime and that was waaaay before I was a photographer. Also, once as a child, I got to see a ‘Walking Stick’ insect. Those are pretty cool, too. I believe the Mantis is male based upon the dark coloration of the body.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Tracy. 🙂

      Good to know about how to tell the sex of a praying mantis. I’ve found the praying mantis can be difficult to see until you do see one. It’s a little like finding sand dollars on the beach. At first you don’t see them anywhere, then you accidentally or with help find one. After that, they’re everywhere.

  4. loren says:

    I got to agree that the Praying Mantis shot is the real knockout here.

    I’ve never seen one in the wild, though I read that some of the ones people have released have survived here in Pacific Northwest.

  5. ElizOF says:

    WoW! What an amazing selection… I love all the things you captured while looking up; especially the full range of colorful items.
    That praying mantis fiesta above is remarkable and your up shots rock!
    TY for sharing them… 🙂

  6. dragonfae says:

    The shots of the mantis are really cool Robin … and being allergic to insect stings, I’m happy to learn they eat stinging critters (I didn’t know about that).

    I think the plant with the white berries is probably a Gray Dogwood (Cornus racemosa). Check out this page: http://www.arborday.org/treeguide/TreeDetail.cfm?id=238 If you click the “+More Photos” link under the picture they have a close up of the leaves and berries. 😉

  7. I second dragonfae on the berries…I’ve heard them called ‘Doll’s Eyes’, which I find just slightly creepy…
    Haven’t seen our mantids yet – should be any day now. Love the one eating the yellowjacket. They’re my one concession to bug sprays…Hubby was so badly stung a few years back, it took a course of steriods to bring the swelling under control. Not an experience we want to repeat…

  8. What a great post, Robin! Your ferris wheel photos are wonderful. Who would have thought that looking “up” would lead to such fabulous pics?

    It’s been incredibly hot here, as well. Stay cool this weekend!


    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Kathy M. 🙂

      It finally cooled off here. It looks like what’s left over of Lee will be bringing us all more rain soon. Stay dry. 🙂

  9. Karma says:

    I find your mantis shots fascinating! I, too, am glad that something eats yellow jackets! I could use a few of those around here. I only see them from time to time and I am not sure I know the difference between a mantis and a walking stick – color maybe?
    I was taken aback by the swarming insects by your pond! Yikes! Icky gnats were swarming my dogs and me yesterday for part of our otherwise very pleasant walk.
    For once your weather does not seem to be following suit here; it has been warm but pleasantly not humid.
    I hope you enjoy the rest of this Labor Day weekend.

    • Robin says:

      Thanks, Karma. 🙂

      The gnats were really terrible for a few days, looking almost like snow in some of the photos I took. It’s cooled off now and I didn’t see any swarms when I was out and about today, I’m happy to report.

  10. Barbara Rodgers says:

    I love your praying mantis pictures! We had one in our garden last year and she kept the cricket population in check so we didn’t get as many crickets coming into the basement. It seems they will eat just about any insect, a great method of biological pest control. 🙂 You can buy mantis eggs in some garden centers.

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Barbara. 🙂

      We have so many mantids around here that I don’t need to buy the eggs. I’m often amazed when I walk through the meadows at how many there are. We have a few than hang out near the house too. As you mentioned, they keep the cricket population in check.

  11. You sure did capture a great selection of images for the “up” theme, but I have to say I love your shots of the praying mantid… and also that I’ve learnt something too, as to the difference between a mantis and mantid… All interesting stuff… 🙂

    • Robin says:

      Thank you, Brian. 🙂

      I really need to sit down and research the difference between a mantis and mantid. I confuse them all the time.

      • Robin says:

        errr… I mean… I get confused about the two. Although it is entirely possible I manage to confuse them as well. 😉

        • Karma says:

          Okay, now I’m really confused. Mantis, mantid.. I thought at first that maybe one was plural and one was singular, but they are actually different species? Throw those walking sticks in and I’m really muddled!

          • Robin says:

            lol, Karma! I’m not sure either. I thought the same thing. Then I started looking into it and now I know that I don’t know. 😀

          • Karma says:

            Okay this is what I found according to National Geographic: “The praying mantis is named for its prominent front legs, which are bent and held together at an angle that suggests the position of prayer. The larger group of these insects is more properly called the praying mantids. Mantis refers to the genus mantis, to which only some praying mantids belong.”

          • My research came up with this explanation.. from good old Wikipedia… Most of the species are in the family Mantidae. Historically, the term mantid was used to refer to any member of the order because for most of the past century, only one family was recognized within the order; technically, however, the term only refers to this one family, meaning the species in the other 14 recently established families are not mantids, by definition (i.e., they are empusids, or hymenopodids, etc.), and the term “mantises” should be used when referring to the entire order…. Have no clue which family your particular praying wotsit is in though… lol…

  12. Christine Grote says:

    Yeh. I think that is one of the reasons I find preying mantises so creepy.

    I’m with you on the yellow jackets. They ruin perfectly good picnic opportunities.

  13. carlaat says:

    The sky, the ferris wheel, the praying mantis, the berries – loved it all!

  14. Great color in those Fair pictures… and what a gorgeous sky!
    The one with the gnats looks like it’s snowing.

  15. Robin says:

    Thank you, Brian, for all the info. I am a little less confused now, although I couldn’t tell you which family my praying whateveritis belongs to either. 😀

  16. Dana says:

    The praying mantis shots are pretty incredible. Even as a vegetarian, I’m happy to see that yellow jacket being eaten! 🙂

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