Macro

Ufumene Game Lodge

A favorite destination for our family is the Ufumene Game Lodge. Ufumene is located in the Eastern Cape (South Africa) on the Cradock side of the Olifantshoek pass. The lodge is very family orientated, whether the kids go horse riding and the adults go for a long tranquil walk, its a place to relax and get yourself recharged.
The following photos are a collection of some of my favorites from the area surrounding the lodge:

Mother and Child. Newly born giraffe. Such serene animals.

Giraffe mommy and baby

 

This is a macro shot of a Lavender flower. I shot this with a 500mm Sigma lens with a 25mm extension tube attached so I could get in really close.

Lavender macro

 

On receiving my new Canon 7D mark II, the first thing that went through my mind was; how much noise am I going to get with a starscape. This was a 30 second exposure with an ISO of 4000.  I was truly impressed by the minimal noise that I got in this shot.

Starscape at Ufumene

 

This is an Hadeda Ibis, a pretty common bird in the Eastern Cape.

Hadeda ibis

 

One of the landscape picture I took of the surrounding area around Ufumene Lodge

Mountains At Ufunmene

 

One of the many birds of prey in the area.

Raptor

 

A beautiful sunset at Ufumene. Everyday has a unique sunset.

Sunset at Ufumene

 

One of the great animals to see when visiting Ufumene, is the Sable Antelope. They are magnificent animals.

Sable Antelope

 

The Cape Sparrow is one of the many birds you will encounter at the lodge. Ufumene is a birders’ paradise.

Cape sparrow

 

Another landscape over the small dam outside the lodge. It can really produce some stunning effects

Sunrise at Ufumene

 

Road to tranquility.  Another landscape shot with touch of HDR

Mountains At Ufunmene

 

Another shot off the dam. Love the clouds.

Dam at Ufumene

Close-up of a Rain Spider – Palystes superciliosus

What makes people so scared of spiders? Is it their appearance? Is it a fear of being bitten? Or is it just that someone said that spiders are bad and that you should not get near them.
Well here is a close-up of Palystes superciliosus, a common rain spider of the Huntsman spiders of South Africa. Believe it or not, this spider was so placid and probably would not have harmed a fly!
Here is a link to some more information on these spiders:

Rain Spider - Palystes superciliosus

Here is the rest of this beautiful spider. They are pretty harmless, but the bite can be painful due to the size of the fangs (chelicerae) and the venom they possess, which is not medically significant in humans. They normally won’t bite unless stressed or threatend, but will probably warn you by raising its front legs. Awesome spiders.

Rain Spider
And another angle:

Rain Spider - side view

Flatties – Family Selenopidae

Here are a few shots of the Wall Crab Spider, often known as the Flattie spider. Flatties comes from the Family Selenopidae. The wall crab spiders  are members of a group of families collectively called crab spiders because of their laterigrade (sideways-moving) legs. This family consists of about 175 species in four genera, of which Selenops is the best known. The family is primarily tropical with the genus Anyphops confined to Sub-Saharan Africa and the genus Hovops confined to Madagascar. The spiders are very flat and are commonly found on walls or under rocks. They are very quick and very difficult to capture and their coloring makes them often quite difficult to see. All of this family have eight eyes.

This first Flattie was photographed at Ufumene Game Farm, in the Eastern Cape, South Africa.

flattie spider on rock

The next two photos are the same spider, just a very close macro of its face. It is sitting on top of a drum skin.

flattie on a drum skin

 

flattie macroThanks to Wikipedia for some of the information used here.

 

Burnished Opals – Chrysoritis chrysaor

Here is a small collection of some Burnished Opals taken in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. They were a taken with a Canon 7D camera with a Tamron 90mm VC lens. These are some of the most stunning butterflies in my humble opinion and believe me, they are not easy to shoot with a camera!

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

The males of this species grow to size between 22mm and 27mm whilst the female have a slightly wider range of between 23mm and 30mm.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

The distribution of the Chrysoritis chrysaor is widespread in South Africa, but mainly in the east. It is also found in fynbos up the west coast of the Western Cape, in Nama Karoo or Western Cape and Eastern Cape, in the valley bushveld near Port Alfred, Kwazulu Natal, Free State, South Mpumalanga and Gauteng.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

Burnished Opal’s flight period is all year round at the coast, but peaks in November and February at high altitudes.

Burnished Opal - Chrysoritis chrysaor

It’s habitats include the following; Coasts, flatlands, mountains, hillsides and rocky slopes. Their larval foodplants include; Tylecondon paniculatus, Cotyledon orbiculata, Zygophyllum sessilifolium and Zygophyllum retrofractum, Acacia karroo and Rhus spp. The larvae is associated with Crematorgaster nr liengmei ants.

References: Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

Chrysoritis chrysaor -- Burnished opal -  Besembos Goue-opaal

Limestone Sugarbush – Protea obtusifolia

The Protea obtusifolia or the Limestone Sugarbush belongs to the Proteaceae family. Other names for this include the Bredasdorp protea, limestone protea and limestone sugarbush. This is the white form of this Protea and they vary from white to vivid shades of red. The leaves on the rest of the plant are dark green, elongated and leathery. They grow upwards of two to four meters in height and usually takes the form of a large, roundish shrub.

Protea obtusifolia

Protea obtusifolia is a vigorous, robust species forming a rounded shrub and is easily raised from seeds. It  is a relatively long-lived, large bushy evergreen shrub and does well as a screening or informal hedge plant. It produces beautiful, long-lasting cut flowers during the winter months, still looking good after 20 years. Unlike most proteas it thrives in clay and alkaline soils. It is equally at home in acidic ‘fynbos’ soils. It is also tolerant of coastal conditions and withstands salt-laden winds. It is drought tolerant and requires little supplementary watering when established. It requires protection from frost.

Photo taken at the van Stadens Flower Reserve near Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

References: http://www.plantzafrica.com

 

 

A Collection of Stinky Stink Bugs

Over the past few years I have collected various macro photos of different bugs. A number of those bugs smell pretty terrible when disturbed or threatend. Here are a few of those stinky insects:

Green Stink Bug (Family: Pentatomidae)

Green Stink Bug

Brown Stink Bug (Family: Pentatomidae)

Brown Stink Bug

Another Brownish Stink Bug (Family: Pentatomidae)

Light Brown Stink Bug

Twig Wilter Bug (Family: Coreidae)

Twig Wilter Bug

An Eastern Cape Harvestman

We recently went on an outing with The Spider Club of Southern Africa to a place outside Port Alfred called Riet River. Part of the outing was to go to a place nearby called Pig Island. I am not too sure where the name Pig Island came from although it was an interesting and very informative outing to say the least. Whilst on a walk of the area, we came across this little critter, the harvestman. What an awesome looking arachnid.

Harvestman are sometimes called Daddy Longlegs. It is an arachnid related to the spider and has the usual eight legs. They are from the class arachnida and order Opiliones (formerly known as Phalangida). Unlike a spider, a harvestman has long, stiltlike legs and a segmented abdomen, but has no silk glands. They can also run pretty fast. They do not have venom glands or fangs. Harvestmen have tiny mouthparts that allow them to grind up their food which consists of insects and plants. Harvestmen do not bite which means they are totally harmless to humans. Some harvestmen can, however, give off a bad odor from their stink glands if they are disturbed.
Harvestman

Small Chameleon

A got a little bit of luck for a change with a friend of mine calling me up to take a macro picture of a green crab spider. It just so happened that this little reptile was hiding in the same gooseberry bush as was the spider. It’s very seldom that I get the opportunity to take a picture of a chameleon as they seem to be so scarce in this part of the world. I will add to this post the name and maybe species of this chameleon once I find out.

small chameleon

Garden Inspector or Commodore – Precis archesia archesia

The Garden Inspector or the Garden Commodore is from the genus Precis. This genus consists of robust, medium-sized and brightly coloured nymphalines. These are similar to Junonia (the Pansies), but they don’t have eye spots and great difference in colour and markings of the wet season form and dry season form. Their flight is fast and agile; often found sitting on the ground opening and closing their wings. They are fond of flowers.

Eggs are laid on Lamiaceae ( The mints, taxonomically known as Lamiaceae or Labiatae, are a family of flowering plants ), are bulb shaped, green to yellow, with 10-16 prominent glassy longitudinal ribs and sometimes 25-40 cross ridges.

Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia

 

The wingspan of the male ranges from 45-50mm and the females range is from 50-60mm. They look pretty similar, but the female’s wings are rounder. The dry season form colours of Precis archesia archesia are brown , maroon and blue and the wet season form colours are brown with cream to buff postdiscal bands.
Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia

 

The distribution: Savanna, grassland and forests from Western Cape (knysna area) to the Eastern Cape and up to Kwazulu-Natal, Free State, Gauteng, Mpumalanga, Limpopo and NW Provinces.

Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia

 

Habitat: Forest Edges, parks and gardens, hill tops, hillsides, rocky slopes and gullies.
Flight period: All year round
Food Plant: Plectranthus spp. ( a genus of warm-climate plants occurring largely in the southern hemisphere, in sub-Saharan Africa, Madagascar, India and the Indonesian archipelago down to Australia and some Pacific Islands )

Garden Inspector or Commodore - Precis archesia archesia

 

These photos were taken at the van Stadens Flower Reserve outside Port Elizabeth in the Eastern Cape of South Africa.

Most of this information was supplied from Steve Woodhalls book “Field Guide to Butterflies of South Africa

 

 

A Collection of Ants

Over the years, I have taken many macro shots, some being ants. Here are some of the shots  have taken mostly with a Canon 7D with a Raynox DCR250 filter attached to give a little amplification.

3mm Ant with its lunch

Ant with lunch

 

 

Less is more ( an entry for a local competition )
less is more

 

3mm Ants having a morning chat.

Ants having a morning chat

 

A really upset ant taken at Koffylaagte Game Lodge in the Eastern Cape of South Africa. This ant is commonly known as the Bal-byter ant (Camponotus fulvopilosus)

Bal-byter ant

.