Close Ups From a Distance

Place:  Shaw Nature Reserve, Franklin County, Missouri

Date:   October, 2015

Most nature reserves in Missouri are owned by the state; Shaw Nature Reserve is owned and operated by the Missouri Botanical Garden, a 501(c)3 charity.  I found their reason for establishing the reserve to be pretty interesting and I think Wikipedia’s link to Shaw Nature Reserve has a better paragraph explaining it’s origination than the one on the Garden’s web site.

With regard to this trip, it was a warm, sunny Sunday but the municipal pool (our primary activity any day of the week during the summer) was closed for the season.  What to do … we decided to go somewhere where we could walk around.  I suggested Shaw Nature Reserve because it’s only about 25-30 minutes away.  We had gone there about this time the year before and I was disappointed with the photos from that trip so this would be a chance to make up for it.

The prior year I had taken my, what else, Sigma 105mm macro lens.  I guess because it was late in the season there were no flowers to speak of.  That meant no flower macros and despite my efforts at turning sticks, leaves, and stones in the flower beds, no insects.  I did see and photograph a stunning blue bird.  No, not a blue jay or our state bird the Eastern bluebird.  This blue bird was pretty far away and high in a tree and no matter how much I tried to sneak up on it it would fly off and keep about the same amount of distance from me.  I could “feel” my wife behind me watching me making an idiot of myself trying to get a closer shot.  The Sigma 105mm macro is also a mild 158mm telephoto on the D7100 but that was much too short a focal length for this occasion.  I ended up with a really lousy shot that I didn’t keep it except to send a copy to the Missouri Conservationist magazine for identification.  They told me it was an indigo bunting.

This time would be different.  I would be ready.  I planned on no flowers and looked forward to finding that same indigo bunting and capturing it, along with all other sorts of wildlife, with my Nikkor 80-400mm telephoto zoom.  On my Nikon D7100 that lens is similar to a 120-600mm telephoto zoom on a full frame DSLR.  If that indigo bunting sneezed I was going to capture the spray coming out of its nostril holes.

I’ll cut to the chase here.  Did not see the/an indigo bunting or any other birds, foxes, rabbits, or squirrels.  Well there were some robins but I have more wildlife in my little suburban, postage stamp backyard than that nature reserve did that day.  There were flowers in bloom and the flowers had bees.  I took close ups of the flowers and the bees with my mighty telephoto zoom since I was so freaking prepared this time.  I’ve probably asked this before, and it is strictly a rhetorical question, but can a photo really be a close up if the lens won’t allow you to get any closer than 6 feet away from the subject.

Before we get to the “close ups” here are a few warm up shots.  I like this weather vane because it has a lot going on.  There are flowers, a hummingbird, a butterfly, and at least one other thing I can’t make out from this angle.  Another thing I like about it is if you know how to read it, it tells you which way the wind is blowing.  I’ve yet to find a user’s manual for one let alone operating instructions or a FAQs sheet; however, if you are clever and use one enough you’ll discover that one can also determine from which direction the wind is coming.  Additionally it if there is no wind you can determine which direction the wind was blowing before it died out.  It’s a pretty marvelous piece of technology that requires absolutely no batteries and is on 24/7.


The reserve has a cool little rustic pagoda on the edge of a pond.  Unfortunately the water was kind of low and a bit scummy so some of the charm was lost as I walked up to it.


The furniture matches the style of the pagoda and appeared to be handmade.  That or they got it at Cracker Barrel.


Okay, lets get to the “close ups”.  This is a BIF (bee in flight) carrying pollen saddle bags.


Cropped for a closer view.


As is almost always the case where there are flowers, there are skippers.


Another BIF, possibly a bumble bee looking for more pollen.


Looks like it spotted a good flower and is dropping down for a landing.


How many times a day do you think a bee does this?  Just a wondering – another rhetorical question, unless someone actually knows the answer.


Skippers on some strange flowers.


Thank you for stopping by.


All photos taken with a Nikon D7100 and a Nikkor 80-400mm telephoto zoom lens.

8 thoughts on “Close Ups From a Distance

  1. I’ve been to Shaw once, but earlier in the year. It’s an interesting place to be for sure since part of its purpose is to be “undeveloped”. Over by the house seemed the best place to go for someone like me who didn’t go there often.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I’ve only been there three times. The very first time was several years ago and it was winter so all we did was drive around what little roadway there is. The past two times we limited our adventures to just around Bascom house which is probably the same one you are referring to. The pdf map for the reserve show some potentially interesting trails and if we go again, which we probably will, I think I’ll print out the map and check out at least one of the trails.

      Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks Donna. As I write this the Central time zone about 6 hours into winter. The good news is that everyday is one day closer to spring and one day farther away from winter. To think that years ago when I lived in California for two years I did miss the seasons. Of course I was decades younger then. 🙂


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