A new 10X magnifying lens has put me up close and personal with the way that plants bud out and flower. I can now witness tiny insects traversing the minute mountains and valleys of an amazingly alien and technicolor world.
Insects massively outnumber us and will probably outlast us, and yet we have a very limited idea about how they view this world we currently share. Their experience is so different: going through such multiple discrete stages of life from egg to larva to pupa to adult, and in most cases completing that arduous series of transformations in the cycle of a single year.
For me, picking up this compact lens and observing native pollinators going about their business on a flower makes them seem a little less incomprehensible. I feel a real connection when they bury their heads into mounds of pollen because I love to breathe deeply when I push my face into the blooms of a lilac bush. Flowers have amazing power to draw both humans and pollinators.
We were told at an Integrated Pest Management for Vineyards workshop we attended recently that in order to properly tend our vineyard, we will need a 20X lens to monitor the many pests and stay in step with what is happening as our grapes leaf out and fruit. One of the many tasks I’m looking forward to as we plant and tend our vineyard is regular magnified missions.
These lenses take a little practice. They offer such a narrow focal length that some slow and careful maneuvering is required to enter this tiny territory, but the effort is well worth it. We found our lens online at Kooters Hand Lens Magnifiers for Geology and Earth Sciences.
One thing I like about a hand lens is that it comes on a lanyard, so I take it along on any outing. If I leave it behind, I usually regret it.
My love affair with the lens prompted Doug and I to give each other a macro lens for our camera as a mutual birthday present, and the pictures here are my first foray into “official” close-up photography. It’s allowing me to record and share some of the beauty I’m discovering through the hand lens.
These photos were all taken while walking down our drive to get the mail.
This magnified awareness makes it a little harder to mindlessly swat the random ant traversing what must seem to it a very strange and arid expanse across my kitchen counter. (I do, though.)
Categories: TALES FROM OUR 44 ACRES