The European Honey Bee

European Honey Bee Apis mellifera

Too often we consider this our most important bee without considering that it is a species introduced back in the 1600s. This is the generalist commercial pollinator bee that lives in colonies. The male worker bees have a barbed stinger but die after stinging.

Too Cute to not appreciate for all that they do!

Raptors and Rehabilitation

Amber – Great Horned Owl Bubo virginianus
A Place Called Hope

One day there was an invite to join some photographer groups while they were taking images of the Ambassador Birds at A Place Called Hope. So, never one to say no when opportunity knocks, off I went. I took a lot of snapshots as I didn’t want to get in the way of those paying for this opportunity. What a lovely two days! I was so grateful for being able to look these amazing beings in the eyes, see their different expressions, observe their movements, and watch their reactions to the audience and cameras all aimed at them. They were the center of everyone’s attention and what actors they were! Yes, look closely as there are curious looks, angry glares, and even fearful flinches. You need to be able to see in order to do so.

What is Amber trying to convey?

It was Amber, the Great Horned Owl that I seemed to connect with. Owls are a favorite anyway so seeking out an owl came naturally. Her expressions drew me in and enticed me to get to know her just a little bit better. I quickly become aware of the personality she has and her desire to share a bit of herself with us, her audience. An actor entertaining her admirers. Not all wildlife have the inclination to entertain but connecting with those that do becomes an enlightening experience.

Something in the sky that Amber does not like!

The simple invite for images has turned into a major project with exhibits in Beacon Falls, Seymour, Derby, Ansonia, Guilford, Branford, Hartford, Waterbury, and twice in New Haven. The exhibit at the Ives Gallery in New Haven was the largest with 60 images and I had an awesome review in the New Haven Independent! by Brian Slattery. He said it all so well! Ives Gallery Gives Sanctuary to Raptors.

The many faces of Amber
The many faces of Amber
The many faces of Amber

If you are interested in my curating a solo exhibit please contact me: I have a variety of options from one image of each of the 15 birds to 4 each. Some of the exhibit options can include an image of a wing or tail feather in a shadow box. All of the exhibits come with some educational information making them perfect for nature centers or libraries. They also work well as an exhibit in a cafe or workplace. Depending on location and availability, some of the openings have included a couple of APCH raptor visitors! Stop by my website to see some of the images of the fifteen raptors that have been in the various exhibit: SophieZylaPhotos; Raptors & Rehab

The many faces of Amber

To learn about the work that A Place Called Hope does, schedule a photography visit, host an event, have raptor ambassadors to your party, or donate to help the birds visit their website: A Place Called Hope

For a sampling of photo exhibits and images available for showing at your venue visit: > Photo Exhibit & Gallery Images:

World Views: Insects and People

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Metallic Green Bee

This year I discovered Jacob’s Ladder. Actually I bought the plant and once the flowers appeared, followed by lots of insects, I fell in love. Just over a foot tall with an abundance of flowers to entice the honeybees, bumblebees, carpenter bees, mason bees, cuckoo bees, Halictid bees, Andrenid bees, Giant Bee Fly, butterflies, skippers, moths, and aphids – of course! Not to shabby an assortment for those tiny flowers.

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Strong back light

Jacob’s Ladder turned out to be rather pretty when I photographed it against a light box. The details and colors were pretty and a bit elegant for this dainty native wildflower.

Polemonium reptans
Jacob’s Ladder
Ultraviolet Light
What many insects, birds, and mammals see

The Visible Spectrum humans see is very limited in range compared to what other species see. Human sight is in the 380 to 740 nm range while bees are between 300 to 600 range. The ultraviolet light I used was rated at 365nm.

It is always a surprise to see what the plants will look like under ultraviolet light as there is no way of knowing until the image is on the computer. I wore protective yellow eye goggles and had to use a best guess as to how long to shine the UV light and leave the shutter open for.

Flowers in Cyanotype

Aquilegia canadensis, Eastern Red Columbine

British botanist and photographer, Anna Atkins, learned cyanotype printing from a family friend, the inventor of the process, Sir John Herschel. Atkins created albums and a book of her prints for use as a scientific reference. The New York Public Library had an exhibit of Atkins’ book and prints from October 2018 – February 2019. It was amazing to see them all.

Today converting an image into a cyanotype is an easy process if you have the proper computer programs and some time to play with them. The images of the Eastern Red Columbine were originally intended for use as part of my World Views: Insects and People, ultraviolet photo exhibit. I rather like these versions as something just a little bit different.

Eastern Red Columbine under Ultraviolet Light as seen in the world of insects, birds, and mammals. The glass glows green due to the Uranium in the glassware.

This image was taken with an ultraviolet light so that the viewer can have an idea of what the world may look like to the insects that would be attracted to the flowers and in turn pollinate them.

Eastern Red Columbine with strong back lighting and front lighting.

This was done to indicate how little we actually notice the plants in our landscapes and also to entice you too look closer at some of the details.

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