Saturday, 4 June 2016

War and Peace in a French field

I'm a member of the photography club of Droue sur Drouette, a small group of mostly men (a scattering of women at best) who are mostly retired. I joined because I've always been interested in mastering my camera in the manual mode. I also joined for some social contact which is not very frequent for me. At our fortnightly meetings I get to stretch my French competence as I try to understand photographic terms in French, all unknown to me, so it's good for my vocabulary-building.

On this occasion we went 'out into the field', literally, looking for insects. My camera is OK as Nikon reflex digital cameras go but this is one area where a much more expensive lens would have given me more impressive results. Never mind, I like getting out into nature and capturing anything interesting that I find. Some members wanted to find wild orchids. We did find some. Other members wanted to find butterflies but frankly, there weren't many. Spring has been cold and slow. Here's what I found:processionary caterpillars, 'unison' cater[illars, orchids, escargots and some bugs in various vacant plots.

Behind the Bleury cemetery I came across some bizarre caterpillars. The first set provoked stern warnings from my French colleagues not to touch them, too dangerous. Really? Those weblike cocoons were dangerous? Very, certainly fatal for curious dogs. At best they'd end up getting their tongue cut off to save their life. Dangerous for humans too. You can see them in the photos, hanging out in their hammock-like nests. At any moment a gust of wind might have split open the hammocks so I didn't linger.

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Further on I found a different type of caterpillar but no-one knew what they were. I found my reaction to these ones very strong. I felt menaced, spooked even. They moved with a pulsing movement which was like some random heart-beat. I don't know how they knew when to be still and when to jerk. I found them unnerving. Check out these synchronised crawlers in the video I took.

Elsewhere things were more peaceful; snails, moss, butterflies. Nothing exciting but at least they weren't scarey.  The most peaceful of all were the orchids and other plants. War and peace can be found almost side by side in a French field.