Thursday, June 19, 2014

Meanwhile, On The Other Side Of The Yard...

It was just a few days ago that I posted about our potted Trichocereus spachianus, which bloomed in the midst of about the driest Spring on record...  Then last night, the queen of the back yard, our Cereus repandus threw out 3 blooms in one night!  Spectacular stuff!  It is amazing to note the differences in the species when it comes to the flowers.  The former potted cacti had buds showing for weeks before finally showing signs of blooming.  The Cereus repandus just showed a bud a mere 8 days before blooming last night!  On 9 June, it was a mere bud just over 1cm long, shown at left.  By last night it had transformed in the about-to-explode bud shown at right.  The viewing angle is similar in both views, both taken with the Canon 100mm macro, but of course, backed up significantly to get the entire bud in at right...  The potted Tricocereus bloom also opened a round sunset, while the "Peruvian apple" blossoms only fully open well after darkness.

I started out shooting a frame every 2 minutes, intending to do a time-lapse of the blooming, though it would be difficult to do better than the one done a couple years ago...  The flowers are huge - something close to 7" diameter!  The shot at left was taken when finally wide open something close to Midnight...  Of course, I had to do a focus-stacked shot, assembled from 14 frames taken at slightly shifted focal positions for increased depth of field.  Shown at right, the close-up shows nearly everything in focus.

Another big difference from a couple nights ago were the surprises found when doing the regularly-exposed shots all night - pollinators showing up to do their job!  I had 2 cameras exposing until the shutter blew up on one of them, and caught some very nice shots of Rustic Sphinx Moths.  While I had caught a couple back when doing the time-lapse before (a couple months later in mid-August), the pictures taken last night show their incredible probiscii - as long or longer than their considerable wingspan! The shot at left shows the best overall shot of the moth, likely resting while feeding on nectar.  At right shows one likely coming in for a landing or hovering with the incredible proboscis.

Similarly, if you can tolerate one more, another is coming in from a different angle, but shows a similar long proboscis...  It is always incredible to watch the short-term changes as these flowers open and close up again by sunrise.  Don't know if I'll assemble the time-lapse, but if we get more buds later in the summer, you can bet I'll be out looking for camera prey like these moths again too!

No comments: