Favorite Travel Quotes

"Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness, and many of our people need it sorely on these accounts."
-- Mark Twain
Innocents Abroad

"Stop worrying about the potholes in the road and celebrate the journey." -- Fitzhugh Mullan

"A good traveler has no fixed plans and is not intent on arriving." -- Lao Tzu

Photographing Backyard Bugs


Kelsey with leaf bug, which she located from its "chirping" sound.

©Bert Gildart: “It sounded like a bird chirping,” said Kelsey, one of my wife’s grandchildren and a person whom I always enjoy seeing. “It fell out of a tree right beside me and that’s how I found it.

“I could hardly see it.”

Appropriately, the insect Kelsey was referring to is called a leaf bug and the more we examined it the more interesting it became.

As you can see from the photo, they blend almost perfectly with their surroundings, and in fact, from some angles can’t be distinguished from the real leaves around them. Biologically, they are also interesting for if an individual loose one of its limbs, next time it  molts it will  have a new one.

Because of these various characteristics, and because they are harmless to people, some keep leaf bugs as pets.


Though the leaf bug was a new creature to Kelsey (and to me as well) not so the praying mantis (look, it’s praying!), which is spelled with an “a” even though it preys on insects. Kelsey knew exactly where to find the model for my photographs. She also knew it was a desirable creature to have around.


Amazing how creatures evolve with features that serve to protect them from predation, in this case "protective camouflage.


People who garden organically encourage the presence of praying mantis because they help reduce undesirable insects from building up.  Each year they consume large numbers of insects. Likewise other creatures prey on the mantis, most commonly the bat. The mantis, however, has developed a technique for foiling bats.


According to an on-line encyclopedia, mantises, when flying at night, are able to detect bats through echolocation. When their built in radar warns them of an approaching bat, they will stop flying horizontally and begin a descending spiral toward the safety of the ground, often preceded by an aerial loop or spin.

Preying Mantis-1

Praying mantis, spelled with an "a" for reasons that seem obvious.


Though the several insects included here can be difficult to photograph the task is simplified with high-powered electronic flash units, which enhance depth of field. (See strobes). Still, you’ve got to have someone with an interest in the outdoors and Kelsey (and the Connelly family in general) certainly do have that. Right now it’s bugs, and Janie and I are learning much more about this fascinating world – and the stories that can be told about them through photography.




*Chicken Alaska and Mike Busby’s Pedro Dredge




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