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Visitors to the Hibiscus by Todd Henson

I’m continually fascinated by all the life we so often overlook. We plant flowers and watch them grow, admiring their beautiful buds, but we often miss the small insects that make these plants their home or feeding ground.

One afternoon I decided to photograph the hibiscus flowers, but quickly began noticing the little bugs crawling over the plants. So I pointed my macro lens at the insects and continued shooting, having a great time exploring their closeup world.

Long-legged Flies

A Long-legged Fly on an hibiscus leaf.

Top down view of an iridescent, metallic looking Long-legged Fly.

I caught movement on the leaves of an hibiscus and noticed a fly, but different from typical house flies. These are Long-legged Flies, and are considered beneficial by gardeners as they feed on some of the pests in gardens, such as spider mites and aphids. I love their iridescent metallic sheen. Even flies can be beautiful.

Spotted Cucumber Beetles

A Spotted Cucumber Beetle with hibiscus pollen on its legs.

A Spotted Cucumber Beetle eating the hibiscus pollen off its front legs.

Facing the Spotted Cucumber Beetle.

Next up I found a Spotted Cucumber Beetle feeding on hibiscus pollen. Grains of pollen were all over its legs, and a couple pieces were even stuck to its antennae. This beetle is considered a garden pest as it eats the leaves of many agricultural plants. In this particular case, though, perhaps it may help pollinate the hibiscus.

Notice the yellow grains of pollen of the hibiscus flower.

Looking closely inside the hibiscus you can see the grains of pollen.

Versute Sharpshooter Leafhoppers

Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper on an hibiscus leaf.

Moving in closer to the Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper.

Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper on the edge of an hibiscus leaf.

Last up was a very interesting insect, a Versute Sharpshooter Leafhopper, with stripes of green, orange, and cyan. They get the name leafhopper because of how they hop around the leaves. The sharpshooter part is apparently due to the small holes they create when plunging their mouthparts into leaves to extract the sap. Because of how they feed and what they feed on they are considered a garden pest.

I hope you’ve enjoyed this short excursion among the insects frequenting the hibiscus in the garden. What sorts of insects have you found around your flowers and garden plants? Are they beneficial or pests?


Good Evening Rose of Sharon by Todd Henson

A Rose of Sharon bud just beginning to open.

The day was winding to a close, the sun slowly setting and evening fast approaching. A few small rain drops fell, landing on leaves and petals. The Rose of Sharon was blooming, some fully open, some just beginning.

It was a beautiful evening. The light was soft, with just enough falling on the flowers to handhold my camera and capture a few frames. I used a Lensbaby Velvet 56 to create a nice soft feel to the edges of the young flower, keeping the central portion in focus but allowing it to quickly fall off to a pleasant blur.

I brought the lens in very close to the flower, filling the frame, and choosing an angle that would minimize any distractions in the background. Such a light and bright flower in an otherwise low light area resulted in a very dark background. It helped that the background was at a distance from the subject. This is very useful for isolating and focusing on a subject.

If you’d like to see more from the Lensbaby Velvet 56 you can read about my first impression of the lens, see a pair of Dianthus flowers photographed with the lens, and view a bumble bee sheltered inside an open Rose of Sharon.

The resources below contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.

I first learned about the Lensbaby Velvet line of lenses through Kathleen Clemons in her CreativeLive classes.


Dianthus Duo by Todd Henson

A pair of dianthus photographed with the Lensbaby Velvet 56.

My folks grow many beautiful flowers throughout the year. This year they have several variety of dianthus, such as those in the photograph above, with their deep and rich colors. I love the patterns in these flowers, and it’s always nice when there’s a little dew, or in this case a few rain drops on the petals (granted, they are very small).

I photographed these flowers with my Lensbaby Velvet 56, a lens I’ve been having a lot of fun with. It can create such nice and soft out of focus backgrounds. But it’s also capable of capturing sharp details in the subject. This photograph demonstrates both the sharpness and the soft blur.

If you’re curious about this lens check out a previous post where I shared more of my thoughts on the Lensbaby Velvet 56.

The resources below contain affiliate links and I will be compensated if you make a purchase after clicking on my links. This is at no extra cost to you.