Moth Monday Cheats

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

First of all it’s Tuesday, and second of all this is a Sachem Skipper, which, depending on whom you talk to, isn’t a moth at all, but rather a butterfly (or maybe not–read on). However the real moths are getting rather thin on the ground around here as winter approaches, and unless I take a trip to warmer climes sometime soon, Moth Monday may have to go on hiatus until Spring.

Black-spotted Orange Butterfly
Sachem Skipper, Atalopedes campestris, Hodges #4049
Prospect Park, 2009-09-20

However the real taxonomic story is a little more complicated. Perhaps noticing all publicity the American Museum of Natural History got by demoting Pluto from planetary status, the Los Angeles Museum of Natural History put up signs in its live butterfly and moth exhibit telling visitors that there is no scientific difference between butterflies and moths.

Moth Monday: One From the Vaults

Monday, October 19th, 2009

Moths are getting a little scarce around here right now, especially on a cold rainy weekend like we just had, so here’s a Straight-toothed Sallow caterpillar from a couple of summers ago at Ridgewood Reservoir recently identified by Tom Murray:

Straight-Toothed Sallow, Eupsilia vinulenta, Hodges #9933
Ridgewood Reservoir, Queens, New York, June 9, 2007

I’ve never seen an adult, but you can see some pictures at BugGuide, Butterflies and Moths of North America, and the Moth Photographers Group.

How Much Government is Too Much?

Friday, October 16th, 2009

Kenneth M. Duberstein, a chief of staff in the Reagan White House says in the New York Times today, What’s going on here is not simply health care and the public option. In light of the auto bailout, the bank bailout, the stimulus package, the public option fight is a surrogate for how much government is too much.

Actually looking at that list, it’s pretty clear where the Republicans stand on this important question. As long as the government’s helping out big business, Wall Street, insurance companies, and auto dealers, it’s not too much. But as soon as it starts trying to help individual folks trying to get by, then it’s too much and they’ll fight tooth and nail to stop it.

Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS DO USM

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

This weekend I took the Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS DO USM out for a spin. The DO stands for “Diffractive Optics” which makes the lens a little sharper and a lot more expensive than the regular Canon EF 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 IS USM lens. There were some nice photos like this Yellow-rumped Warbler:

However, it’s still not sharp enough for my taste, as seen when you zoom in:

Moth Monday Repeats Itself: Chickweed Geometer

Monday, October 12th, 2009

Chickweed Geometer was one of the first moths I posted here, but these days I have much better camera equipment:

yellow-tan moth on white flower
Haematopis grataria
Floyd Bennett Field, Brooklyn, 2009-10-04


Where are the EF-S L Lenses?

Sunday, October 11th, 2009

One of the promises of the EF-S lens mount was that the lenses could be smaller, lighter weight, and cheaper than full frame lenses. What happened?

While there are a dozen or so EF-S lenses on the market, and they are indeed smaller and cheaper than their full frame cousins, they’re all pretty low-end lenses. All the DO and L-series lenses are full frame lenses, which means I’m carrying a lot more weight than I’d like (and I could really feel that this morning at Jamaica Bay).