Lotsa Little in the Garden – What are They Up To?


Little things are absolutely everywhere, so come with me for my macro therapy. I call this the little world in my backyard, and there is more to be seen than can ever be seen. Stuff rarely seen too.

I shoot macro when I need to slow down, relax and take a breather. The need to slow down and be aware of my surroundings. It really is like therapy. It teaches me something about what I am shooting and a bit of spirituality as well. I reflect on life and the way in which it lives in my small wilderness.

It is humbling. It is also an unwelcome feeling of dominion knowing I make a place for these creatures too. I look at it as sharing, but I also control and mold the environment as well.

RedAdmiral_Ceratina _SmallCarpenterBee

Although I like to travel and see more of what the world offers, I still wonder at what is happening on my small piece of this planet. In fact, as much as I like shooting wildlife and places requiring lots of travel, I have to say I find a lot of wonderful subjects right at home.

So What Does Happen When We Choose To Notice?


The fly above was blowing a water bubble that grew and grew. There are many theories on flies blowing bubbles that I found when researched, and I may do a post on it sometime. So to prove my point, nature in the small realm is really kinda cool.


This ant above and below was hauling a pill bug back to its nest and traveled over fifteen feet of concrete pavers in the hot sun. It got to the end and with all its might, pulled the heavy load over the edging. I had to run in for the camera when I saw its long and harrowing travel.


Actually, the world is magical.

It is constantly offering so much to us and for so little in return.


Augochlora Sweat Bee

It is funny how we crave the proverbial “grass on the other side of the fence”, yet whine when we have to cut it on our side.

Walt Whitman said,”To me every hour of the light and dark is a miracle, every cubic inch of space a miracle.”

The grass lays a stage for the flowers to perform, so I look at grass as not the evil many think. Critters live in grass too. Most, homeowners want to kill, but some we kill and wish we didn’t. Fireflies which we rarely see anymore can rest in grass during the day. So it makes leaving it grow longer a good thing environmentally.


I may have a few words on fireflies too. I miss them from when they were plentiful.


Observing the insects going about their business in my tiny urban Eden reminds me of another great thought.

“There is no delight in owning anything unshared.” The Seneca


I used my Nikon Micro-Nikkor 105mm f2.8 lens for these images and handheld the camera.


If you recognize the small parts of any of the plants, you know these insects are small. That is a single Viburnum berry above the resting tiny spider in the image below. The next post, this tiny hunter gets a meal.


The tiny ant is looking for nectar in the unopened flower buds of Trumpet Vine. Next post he enlists help from his small army.



Little bee.

The rose below is a carpet rose standard and you all know how small each individual flower is on a carpet rose. The tiny Sweat Bee is dwarfed by the rose flower.


I recently learned a new way of thinking in the art of making a photograph. It has an element of looking closely at your subject and seeing it with fresh eyes.

Some kind of Bumblebee. I think only honeybees and bumblebees have pollen baskets.

Some kind of Bumblebee. I think only honeybees and bumblebees have pollen baskets.

It is called Contemplative Photography, a method for seeing the world in fresh ways, revealing a richness and beauty normally hidden from view. One makes images based on fresh perceptions, rather than preconceptions and rules.


“It is an expression of the pure visual nature of reality as it unfolds in front of us in the moment.” It sounds a bit new age and is much headier than I can explain, but it has a lot to do with “mindfulness” and seeing in varied ways.Β 

I have been doing this type of photography or at least trying without knowing it had a name. In my tab Garden Moments, I say, “A simple moment where you pause, stop and choose to remember. It is where you look at what is around you just a little differently, appreciate the simple, cherish the ordinary, praise the uncomplicated.”


Each little insect has its own beauty of form, not to mention the contradiction of what is pretty and that which is not.


Robber Fly I think.

Not that this amounts to a hill of beans, but it helps build a purpose for what I choose to photograph anyway.



My purpose was seeing the unseen. These insects are very small, much smaller than typical bees and flies. The wasp above is like a giant compared to the rest of our actors.


Hover Fly

Besides being tiny and hard to photograph, many of these insects are hard to identify as well. Some I am guessing on but I did read where many resemble another and even the experts need more than a photo to make a positive ID.

Long-legged Fly

Long-legged Fly


Golden Fly maybe in the family Tachinidae.

I get amazed by the small. Big trees, big mountains, big oceans, and of course the big sky are what makes us feel small in a vast world.


Mydas Fly I think.

Each insect has a purpose and so does each flower.


Lotsa Little Part 2 is coming up with prettier photos. Like I said there are so many insects, ones we don’t see because they are just so tiny. Others big and beautiful, they all make up the world of magic that is a garden.

About Garden Walk Garden Talk

I love to photograph, paint, draw, design, garden, travel the world, and pass on a few tips and ideas that I learned through experience as a Master Gardener and architect. I am highly trained in my field and enjoy my work each and every day. I garden in Niagara Falls, NY in zone 6-B. Find me at: http://gardenwalkgardentalk.com
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37 Responses to Lotsa Little in the Garden – What are They Up To?

  1. bittster says:

    Amazing how much is going on out there when you really look! Great photos too, I can see how this type of photography really makes you slow down and examine every tiny thing.

  2. Lovely Macro shots

  3. amazing pictures !

  4. barbie says:

    How fantastic our small world is!! I sometimes feel that we should live in this world to really appreciate Mother Earth and we would not treat her so bad! We should be gentle giants and tread lightly ….. thank you for this great perspective. The Hover fly is my favourite! A good insect!

  5. Astrid says:

    Hello Donna
    Your “bug” pictures are astounding! Great photography!! I looked at the pix twice and will now probably go back and go through them once again. (THEN I’ll head into the backyard with my camera). Stay cool – it’s probably hot and muggy in your area too.

  6. Yay! I was thinking of having a “Fly-day” this week too! Great minds ‘n all. πŸ™‚

    PS. Your little bumblebee is actually an Andrenid. They don’t have pollen baskets, but they do have scopa on their legs that attract a lot of pollen. And the little bee above is a Megachilid.

  7. A.M.B. says:

    I love the shot of the fly blowing a bubble! I had no idea that the firefly population has decreased. We still seem to have a lot of them in my yard, but maybe there aren’t as many here as it seems.

  8. Pat says:

    Fabulous shots of the often unnoticed or unseen.

  9. yourothermotherhere says:

    I miss all the fireflies and butterflies too.

  10. It truly is a magical world, Donna and you’ve captured it beautifully!
    πŸ™‚ xx

  11. Wow, these are such great pictures. They remind us to slow down so you can see the many things that are happening. I really love the picture showing the butterfly (red admiral?) and tiny pollinator appearing to stare at each other, but so many of these are fascinating.

  12. Indie says:

    I love the photo of the fly blowing a bubble! I always say it’s a whole ‘nother world when you look closely. I am afraid for this world, as well, in this era of pesticides. I’m sure it doesn’t take much to harm some of these tiny little creatures.

  13. pattycakemimi says:

    Macro photography has opened my eyes!

  14. Barb says:

    You are truly a fabulous photographer, Donna!

  15. Phil Lanoue says:

    What an amazing world in miniature and you have captured it so well!

  16. Donna, these are crazy ridiculous!!! Margie

  17. Fergiemoto says:

    Wow, those macro shots are awesome!
    My favorite one is your second image with the two insects – what an amazing shot!

  18. Carolyn says:

    What a fun post, Donna. And you are so right! The world is magical… and what better place to look for the magic than in our own backyards. Thanks for a delightful read.

  19. Great insect photos especially the ant dragging the much larger pill bug, amazing.

  20. Nobody does it better, Donna! I find the observational, backyard posts the most rewarding, too. But I’m lousy at capturing moving objects. Part of the problem is me, and part of it is my camera. I think it’s time for an upgrade again. My digital with a 22X optical zoom is fine with plenty of light, but not so much with low light–like a shady backyard.

  21. catmint says:

    dear donna, just when I’m thinking I couldn’t love your posts and shots any more, you go and post this one! I’ve read that book, reviewed it on my blog. It profoundly influenced my way of being and seeing, but I still can’t transform my perceptions into photos. I got enormous pleasure from looking at these photos.

  22. ZielonaMila says:

    Amazing photos, fantastic observations:) Greetings

  23. Julie says:

    I love your macro photographs they are fantastic and very inspiring. Its so true too that taking time to observe all that minute detail is a great way of unwinding. Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  24. Bill S says:

    Stunning photos as usual Donna, thanks.

  25. Karen says:

    Terrific photos! Your macro lens captured an interesting world.

  26. Patty says:

    You always open my eyes with these types of posts.Some of the flower buds are quite interesting in form.

  27. MJ - Oakmoss says:

    Incredible work and commentary. The world of insects is mind-boggling, being the most populous of all Animalia. Thank you for a peek into your insect world.

  28. Great insect photos!

  29. The world of the little insects is so fascinating. I agree that it takes time to stop and observe and be mindful of what is going on down there. One of my observations this summer is what big worms I am finding in our soil. Since we have had so much rain I am able to dig more in our normally rock hard clay. There is such a fascinating world in the soil! Your photos are great. As I am still learning with my macro lens sometimes I get frustrated trying to capture the little. Your photos are great!

  30. Donna, I kept thinking about your Macro Part 2 post today so I went back and searched for Part 1, which somehow I missed (even though I subscribe). I’m so glad that I did! I thoroughly enjoyed your observations and research. I didn’t know that growing your grass a little longer is better for the environment, so thank you for the tip! I’m sharing this post, too, with my fellow photo students on Facebook. Major kudos!

  31. I like these photos because I have many of the same insects in my garden but I rarely get to see them up close unless they wander into a photo.

  32. Pingback: Fly-day | standingoutinmyfield

  33. I love standing in the garden and watching what is going on…I agree so much flying around me…I was even out early today catching bees sleeping on flowers….

  34. These are stunning macros! I can’t believe you hand-held them. You must have steady hands and the ability to suspend all bodily pulses! Unless I’m shooting blazing fast, I need my trusty tripod. I envy your mobility. And I so agree that macros let you see the world in an astonishing way. There are other dimensions out in the garden that are too often hidden from us. Your wonderful, magical photos are proof of that.

  35. Oh wow what an amazing post, both photographically and you have summed up exactly what Ive wanted to say too. People miss so much, everything has a purpose and to see wildlife behavior brings the image to life. Dont just capture the creature but its world too and it will have more meaning and youve nailed every image on here, they really are really beautiful :-). You have captures moments in time that show the insect at its best.

  36. choppy123 says:

    One doesn’t realise until you see them in their full glory, how beautiful they are, mother nature at her best, captured beautifully of course by you and your camera πŸ™‚

  37. You’ve just made insect “critters” so interesting that I am going to have to roam my garden in macro mode. An excellent post.

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