You may recall my reporting the spontaneous demise of my almost-2-year-old Pentax Optio W-90 while I was in North Carolina, on a wonderful hike with my brother just a few weeks ago. Briefly, it refused to turn on for a day, then worked for part of a day, and then didn’t again. So I sent it in for diagnosis and heard back that it would take $163 to repair it. A quick online search led me to the delightful knowledge that, for only $30 more, the successor to the W-90 could take its place. I ordered my new GW-1 while we were in northern Minnesota and it was waiting for me when we returned home the day before yesterday. There was so much to do after our absence that I didn’t really get to test-drive it until today. It has been very windy, however, which is a mixed blessing: On the one hand, it does make the 86° F afternoon more tolerable but, on the other, all the flowers—and the small folk who live on them—are not holding still for more than a second or two at a time before they resume their activity, bobbing around like kids in a swimming pool. But I am a patient fellow, and I sat down with my tripod and concentrated on some new flowers that CD planted a few weeks ago, some delightful mini-snapdragons (ok, I admit—not really all that fierce, but they are dragons, after all). It took me the better part of an hour to catch a couple at momentary rest. The largest of the flowers was barely 3/8 of an inch in its largest dimension.
While I was watching for complete cessation of motion, another speck of movement caught my attention on an adjacent plant. It turned out to be a tiny jumping spider, smaller than a BB, so I set my sights on this even more difficult subject. Being as careful as possible not to alarm it with any gross, sudden movements, I eased my way in to within range. I couldn’t get close enough for the super-macro setting, which will focus to 1 cm, but settled for the regular macro, zooming in at 5x optical magnification. Focusing was a real challenge until it left the leaf it was on and started to navigate a nearby blade of grass. I still couldn’t get very close, and there was still some motion thanks to the restless breeze, but I’ll share two shots with you. I turned one upside-down so its position looks more natural. I’m not sure about its taxonomy, but it could be a young metaphid (Metaphidippus sp.). (Whatever its name, surely you’ll grant me a nod that—for a little gnat or aphid or similar creaturelet, this would be a fierce hunter, indeed.
It’s supposed to reach 108° F tomorrow, so it will probably be quite breezy again, but I have high hopes for some fun in the sun if it’s not too bad. I am so eager for a calm, slightly-drizzly day!