Wednesday, October 27, 2010

Milkweed Tussock Moth

This little gal flew past me in a field at Valley Forge. I tracked where she landed, set up my tripod and took her portrait. Click on her nose for a good look at those beautiful antennae.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Leaf on Leaf

No bugs today - I'm afraid they have gone into hibernation. Makes me sad, but I will keep on searching. In the meantime, here's a leaf on a leaf.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

National Geographic Moment (Beware - Gruesome Material Below)

Yesterday I witnessed yet another National Geographic Moment.

This is not for the faint of heart. The spider webs were everywhere at Valley Forge and each one had a big fat orb weaver spider hanging head down, claws out, waiting for the vibration of a little critter that by mistake found himself caught in the web. I was taking photos of the spider in the first photo, when a vibration hit the web. A cousin of the grasshopper in the second photo had hopped his last hop. The spider quickly made his way down to the grasshopper and wrapped part of the web around his prey and then (this is the National Geographic Moment) - the little orange spigots that are found on the front of the spider's abdomen began to spout a thick web of silk (click photos three and four.) Using his claw, the spider guided the spout around and around the grasshopper. At the end, the spider bit into the grasshopper and rendered him powerless. (I didn't actually see this part, but since it's what's supposed to happen, I thought I would throw that in too.) The spider then walked back up the web, turned himself around with face down, and left the grasshopper entombed for a meal later in the day. Ugh.... it is a cruel world out there.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

A Few More Pictures from Adrian and Christina's Wedding

Here are a few more pictures from our weekend. Ken and I with BAD HAIR in Port Washington where Ken lived 30 years ago; Yumiko and Jackie (Anna's grandaughter); Kitty and Peter in the Russian church on one of the few pews; Mr. and Mrs. Rodzianko on one of the other few pews; Peter texting Alex in the church; and Mrs. Rodzianko, Anna and Aurora (Anna's niece).

Monday, October 18, 2010

Adrian and Christina Get Married

Back when Ken, Yumiko and I were living in Tokyo we met a young man who was stationed on a ship in the Sea of Japan. His name was Adrian Rodzianko. He is the nephew of my brother Peter's wife Anna. We fell in love with Adrian over the year we were in Japan. He is just a fine, fine person. One day his fiance Christina came to Tokyo from New York and Adrian brought her to
visit us in our little apartment. She was beautiful and funny and they made a great couple. We were thrilled to get an invitation to their wedding which took place on Long Island this past weekend. Here are a few photos taken from way behind a lot of people in a very crowded little Russian Orthodox church.

Friday, October 15, 2010

Finalist in September's Contest

My photograph entitled "Halloween's Coming" is a finalist in the September "Better Photo" contest. I knew it was worth slogging through all those spider webs in Valley Forge Park.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Hippie Nursery Web Spider

It was a wet cold morning - a great time for spiders in Valley Forge Park. I got there a little before nine and they were EVERYWHERE. It was even a bit too creepy for me, but deep down inside I was thrilled to see all those spider webs lined with thousands of little drops of water. I saw one big fat spider after another waiting for her prey in the middle of each of the webs. I was carrying a big blue camera bag, and put the bag down on the ground, so I could set up my tripod and start taking pictures.

In one web I saw a grasshopper had just gotten caught. A big orb weaver spider walked down her web, put out her claws and began turning the grasshopper around and around as she spun silk fibers trapping him in the web. You can see the orb spider and grasshopper on the home page at When I was finally finished, I went to retrieve my camera bag and there on the top was a big, beautiful nursery web spider. Take a look at his wonderful expression. With that mustache and beard, I'm sure he was a hippie in his younger days.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Izumi and Yumiko Kono

Two Beauties - Izumi Kono and Yumiko posed for a few portrait shots. Izumi was visiting from Tokyo. We loved her visit.