Weekly Photo Challenge: Nighttime

No exotic locations. No great landmarks.  Just nighttime as seen from our deck tonight through a 30-second exposure.

Night time horizon
Looking southeastward from our deck. Little Rock’s city lights are glowing in the distance. Stars sparkling on the right.

And other visions in the night that we liked:

Tarantula hawk

Tarantula hawks are both beautiful and gruesome. Their black bodies have a mesmerizing blue iridescence visible in bright sunlight, yet their curled antennae and orange wings make them seem somewhat cartoonish. Make no mistake, these wasps, while docile, have a sting that is described as “blinding, fierce [and] shockingly electric.” Their mode of reproducing rather ghoulish as well, with larvae eating its live tarantula host from the inside out until it emerges as an adult.

Tarantula Hawk wasp.
BOTTOMS UP — Tarantula hawk wasp worked hard to get every drop of nectar from this snakeroot plant.

A nice kind of blue

Dayflowers have an incredible ultramarine blue color, so rich, so deep, it’s hard to capture in pixels. This year’s moist and relatively mild Arkansas summer seemed to be just what these wildflowers needed and hundreds of them were singing the blues yesterday morning.

Blue flower surrounded by green.
Dayflower on the south slope of the mountain.
Dayflower group.
Hundreds of blue dayflowers in the shade of a sprawling sumac.

WordPress Photo Challenge: Endurance

The bridge over War Eagle Creek opened to the hoof-clatter of horse-drawn vehicles. More than a century later, the wood and steel bones of this one-lane bridge shoulder the foot- and tire-treads of tourists and neighbors alike. It’s a performance that speaks to this week’s theme: “Endurance.”

Steel span bridge over a creek.
WAR EAGLE BRIDGE — Has been standing for more than a century in Northwest Arkansas. It spans War Eagle Creek, which still drives a paddle-wheel grain mill. (Taken July 27, 2014)
War Eagle Mill by the creek.
THE MILL — The mill at War Eagle as seen from the bridge. The mill wheel is obscured by a plywood wall. The old ways endure at the mill, which still uses stone disks to grind grain.

Still, Benton County, Arkansas, officials are scrounging around for the $300,000 it will need to strengthen the bridge. Last spring, inspectors found rusting pins in need of replacement.

Learn more about War Eagle Mill at www.wareaglemill.com.

Other feats of endurance from this week’s challenge:





A little wind, a little luck and a random shutter speed created this shot of a spider holding the Sept. 8 super moon in its grasp.

Spider appears to hold moon in his legs.
He’s got the whole moon in his grasp. Orb spider hanging outside the window. with the Ouachita folds and forest in the background.

Ghosts and empty sockets

Humans tend to see human qualities everywhere: in images, behavior, even the night sky. Anthropomorphization is one of those things that defines humanity.

Mud dauber wasp nest.
EMPTY — This unusual mud dauber nest was symmetrical, with holes at about the same level, giving it an eerie skull- or masklike appearance. It, along with three or four other wasp nests, was discovered under the bonnet of our truck.
Mud dauber nest.
Another view of the same image above, showing its “‘other eye.”