Portraits of Wildflowers

Perspectives on Nature Photography

An unaccustomed backdrop

with 28 comments


You may remember how on December 8th I spotted a bright red balsam gourd fruit hanging on a prickly pear cactus pad. As I walked to the end of that photo session a different red came into sight, namely that of our Subaru Outback. After I got close to the car I noticed that a tiny fly, probably no more than a quarter of an inch long (6mm), had landed on it. I approached using my macro lens with a ring flash around its far end. The flash got within inches of the fly, which despite the closeness obligingly stayed put while I took five pictures from varying angles. Bugguide.net so far has provided no more identification than that this is a member of the family Muscidae, known as house flies—even if this tiny one was outdoors.



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If you want recent examples of how close academia in English-speaking countries has been coming to the dystopian society George Orwell described in his novel 1984, you need only read the January 4th article “Reaping Postmodernism’s Violent Whirlwind.” The author, Prof. Frances Widdowson, was fired from her position at a Canadian college for raising questions like “How should researchers deal with the historical circumstance of some indigenous groups pushing earlier inhabitants out of their territories?” In the article she gives details of her own harrowing experience with mob mentality. She also recounts what happened to a physics professor at another institution. In that case, his university paid an outside “expert” psychiatrist to diagnose the professor. Not surprisingly, the paid psychiatrist concluded the professor was “mentally deranged, dangerous, and deserving of forcible removal from the university”—despite the fact that the psychiatrist never even met with the professor. That’s all too reminiscent of the way the communist dictators in the Soviet Union used to have political dissidents locked up in insane asylums.

People, wake up to what’s going on! You can read the full article on the Minding the Campus website.


© 2023 Steven Schwartzman





Written by Steve Schwartzman

January 15, 2023 at 4:26 AM

Posted in nature photography

Tagged with , , , ,

28 Responses

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  1. interesting fly shot and insane and scary about the Canadian professor’s firing


    January 15, 2023 at 6:09 AM

  2. It’s horrifying that the professor was treated that way. Scary to think of how the world is going…

    Ann Mackay

    January 15, 2023 at 6:57 AM

    • Yes, it is horrifying. People who have escaped from dictatorships and come to the United States and Canada are appalled by the way those two countries are quickly becoming more like what those refugees escaped from.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2023 at 7:04 AM

  3. Very crisp photo of a housefly. Looks interesting on the red background.

    Alessandra Chaves

    January 15, 2023 at 7:30 AM

  4. I’m not sure if, without context, I would have identified the background as belonging to a car. What the macro lens did to the paint is interesting all on its own. It looks more textured than I’d expect. The fly, of course, looks like a fly, although more of its body’s details are clear than when I’m chasing one around the house.


    January 15, 2023 at 8:28 AM

    • Subaru calls this color “crimson red pearl.” It does have a textured appearance, as you pointed out. Few of us ever look at our car’s paint as closely as a macro lens lets us do.

      I’ve never known the kind of fly that one chases around the house to oblige the way this one did by holding still. I think it was still in the same place when I drove away.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2023 at 9:48 AM

  5. An ordinary housefly with its translucence captured your interest. I am sure you were happy to have such a cooperating insect produce such a great macro.

    Peter Klopp

    January 15, 2023 at 8:33 AM

    • Yes, I was happy to have such a cooperative little subject. At 6mm, “little” was the operative word. Without a macro lens I couldn’t have done anything here.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2023 at 9:54 AM

  6. AS for Prof. Frances Widdowson, it was not clear from the article that the reason she was “fired from her position at a Canadian college” was simply that she raised the question “How should researchers deal with the historical circumstance of some indigenous groups pushing earlier inhabitants out of their territories?” I have not investigated the case further but the article is not very enlightening as to other reasons why she might have been separated from the institution. I am aware that some pretty unfair firings have taken place in academia, but each is its own case and we need to be cautious about drawing conclusions from limited information.

    Alessandra Chaves

    January 15, 2023 at 8:49 AM

    • That one question per se wasn’t the reason for the firing, as you suspected. I hadn’t dug into this more deeply, but I got the impression that Prof. Widdowson has more generally criticized the way “indigeneity” in Canada has become a secular religion. As a result, academia treats her as a heretic rather than as a scholar with a different viewpoint. I see now from the article at


      that she also criticized Black Lives Matter, which makes her a double heretic from the woke religion.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2023 at 10:02 AM

  7. Outback?! I would have guessed it to be a 1972 Vega.


    January 15, 2023 at 11:47 AM

    • From your comment I assume a 1972 Vega used a similar red paint.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2023 at 1:37 PM

      • Yes. Do you not remember? Root Beer Brown was also popular.


        January 15, 2023 at 2:24 PM

        • So was green, I think. A friend had a green one named “Volvox”

          Lavinia Ross

          January 15, 2023 at 3:34 PM

          • I do not remember many that were green, although I do remember one that was green. Pintos were commonly green. Heck, that was shortly after green was a very popular color for all cars.


            January 15, 2023 at 6:52 PM

  8. That fly looks rather handsome on the metallic red background.

    Lavinia Ross

    January 15, 2023 at 3:33 PM

  9. It’s actually kind of handsome in its way, the red carpet treatment helps with that. Neat shot.

    Robert Parker

    January 15, 2023 at 3:34 PM

    • That’s a good way to put it: the red carpet treatment. You and the commenter a minute before you described the little fly as “handsome.”

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 15, 2023 at 3:46 PM

  10. Portrait photographers excel at showing subjects in the most flattering way possible. You have done so for the fly by using your considerable technical skills.
    Using that lovely red backdrop was genius on your part.

    My current Outback is silver and has been a fair background for several insects.

    Mr. Orwell has been proven to be frighteningly prescient in many ways.

    Wally Jones

    January 16, 2023 at 11:25 AM

    • I’m probably not entitled to claim genius on this one, as I didn’t plan it. I can get credit for noticing the tiny fly and having the right equipment to photograph it close-up. From what you’ve said about your own Outback and insects, you can likely claim the same credit.

      The main thing Mr. Orwell got wrong was the date of his novel. When it comes to the substance, he was prescient indeed.

      Steve Schwartzman

      January 16, 2023 at 11:43 AM

  11. that’s a healthy looking fly.


    January 16, 2023 at 10:38 PM

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