Milky Way and Palm

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The Milky Way is visible to the naked eye from our garden right now, so I thought I’d point the camera up and see what it would pick up.

Ok, not exactly award winning Astro-Photography but it goes to show how little light pollution there is here in the hills of the Algarve. I look forward to getting out in the coming days and weeks looking for some good locations for shots.

If you look close, you’ll even spot a shooting star! Due to the high resolution of the stars, it’s much better to look at the photo on my Flickr Page

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Milky Way and Palm - D810, AF-S 14-24mm f/2.8 @ 14mm, f/2.8, ISO3200, 20sec - {Flickr Link}

Conehead Mantis at Night

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I was in the garden tonight and spotted something in the corner of my eye on one of our up-lit Palm Trees.

It was a female Conehead Mantis (Empusa pennata) busy catching all the pesky mosquitoes that we currently have.

I loved the way she would look at me when I approached her and also the way the LED light was lighting her. So a quick run for the camera, 50mm and a tripod and took the shot below.

The Conehead Mantis grows to around 10cm long (the male slightly smaller), this one was around 7cm. This is easily recognised as a female due to the male having feathered antennae.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Conehead Mantis - D810, AF 50mm f/1.8 @ 50mm, f/8, ISO400, 1.3sec - {Flickr Link}

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Dinosaur In The Garden?

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At first glance this may look like a Triceratops, but it’s a Male European Rhinoceros Beetle. It’s easily identified as a male, the female doesn’t have the “horn”.

I spotted both a Male and Female in the garden tonight and the Male was silhouetted by a garden light. So I quickly grabbed the camera from the house and took this silhouette photo.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
European Rhinoceros Beetle (Male) - Oryctes nasicornis - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/7.1, ISO400, 1sec - {Flickr Link}

I’ve not seen any during the daytime but Wikipedia has a great page for reference – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/European_rhinoceros_beetle

Bee Eater Nesting Is Underway

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I was up with the sun this morning at just after 6am (yes is gets light quite late here in Portugal in the summer) and went for a look at how the Bee Eater nests are doing.

When I arrived, I was lucky, there were no Bee Eaters present (above ground anyway), so I hid myself away under a tree (and camo netting) and waited.

Soon enough I was surrounded by Bee Eaters sitting on a nearby electric cable bringing food back to the tunnel nests. They look like they’ve struck gold and found Hornets and they were busy whacking the sting against the cable to break it off.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
European Bee Eater with Hornet - D810, AF-S 500mm f/2.8 @ 500mm, f/6.3, ISO200, 1/1600sec - {Flickr Link}

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Summer Sunset Colours Return to the Algarve

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June is upon us and the African weather influence has well and truly arrived in the Algarve. Here in the Serra, the temperatures are now consistently above 30 degree Celsius (86 Fahrenheit) every day.

This warm african weather also brings the amazing colours at sunset (and indeed Sunrise). I look forward to getting out at both Sunrise and Sunset to capture some great scenes.

Here’s a quick photo I snapped this evening, a silhouette of the very common Blue Gum Eucalyptus Tree against a stunning sky.

{Click image for a higher resolution, click Flickr Link in caption to view photo on Flickr}
Blue Gum Eucalyptus Silhouette Sunset - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/8, ISO200, 1/400sec (Metering set to Matrix and a -1EV Exposure Adjustment to give the silhouette) - {Flickr Link}

The Blue Gum Eucalyptus covers a lot of Portugal, however, it’s not natural here. It was introduced from Tasmania (yes, these are the ones you see Koala’s hugging) in the 1850’s and as it self-seeds and grows very quickly, it covers large areas.