Vide-Ohs: Now that’s a Spider! – Sapphire Tarantula

These Sapphire Tarantulas Are Losing Their Home

This true blue beauty is a gooty sapphire tarantula at the Dallas Zoo. Native to the forests of Gooty, a small town in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, these spiders’ bright coloring comes from tiny hairs that line their body. They are quick and extremely venomous—a single bite can leave a human in excruciating pain that can last over a week. Sadly, due to deforestation, the species is currently critically endangered.


Apparently collecting tarantulas or perhaps spiders in general is a hobby. Who Knew?!

The video below will provide some of the history, care and husbandry of the Sapphire Ornamental (Poecilotheria metallica) tarantula. The video explains all about arboreal enclosures, how to feed the tarantual and what other general care this particular species needs. I am not being factitious here, but there is so much to know if you want to own one of these arachnids!

I have/had no intention of owning or collecting spiders and when the video said: “Be sure to have a catch cup handy every time you are opening the enclosure,” that was enough warning for me.

PS – Don’t be turned off by the hard driving, pounding music at the beginning of the video. If you like this topic, the video will be very interesting!



I am not totally unfamiliar with tarantulas. We saw one in Peru that was not doing well as it was clinging to the side of a cabin.


And this beauty was found in our courtyard only a week or so after we had moved to Cave Creek, Arizona. I think it was quite pretty. We relocated it to the back yard. Interestingly enough, we saw this within a week of moving into the house in the desert and haven’t seen another one since; in more than ten years!


Arachnophobia anyone?


More Vide – Ohs

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All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged #please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2021 –

Photography: This I Learned is True

“I guess I’m trying to say, grab anything that goes by.
It may not come around again.”

— John Steinbeck —


I am not a professional photographer. I am a hobbyist. I enjoy beautiful photography and the beauty to be found in the “vision” of others. We can all visualize the same vista, but the gifted photographer can find the ultimate beauty in the scene. This is very difficult. Having said that by way of introduction, this post is about something quite different.

Most of my photography is of the landscape or scenery genre. What this means is that we often spend a full day hiking in remote locations to see things that many will never see. My joy and pleasure is to capture a photograph that will, in some way, bring that beauty to those who view the photograph.

Here is the truth that I have learned by being a photography enthusiast. If you have a camera with you and you enjoy photography. When you come across a scene that calls to you, stop everything and take the picture.

There have been many times in my past that I said to myself: “I don’t want to stop now. I will take that picture on the return trip.” It may be a variation of this theme, but it has happened a significant number of times.

This is the truth that I have learned. Most of the time that scene will not be there when you return. The clouds will move, the light will change, your mood will change, your vision may be altered and the picture you envisioned will remain a vague memory.

Having regrets is a terrible thing and I have a good number of photography regrets of pictures I wished I had taken when I had the opportunity. When the vision appears – when the moment strikes you – stop what you are doing and take the picture. Even if it turns out to be a disappointing capture, you will reduce the number of regrets you have for those photos that might have been. There is little or no downside to this. You will have some very good memories and a perhaps a few remarkable pictures because they encase your vision; your idea of beauty.

Case in Point

We visited Yellowstone National Park. This was a bucket list trip for us and we hiked all day every day. There was no time to waste and no time to be tired. We waited for this a long time so no matter what, we awoke early and went on our way!

When we arrived at the Mammoth Springs area of Yellowstone, we were only five miles from Gardiner, MT. We knew from others that there was a great pizza place there and a variety of stores: supermarkets, hardware stores, pharmacies, etc.

After a day at this location, we received a warning from our car that the battery in our fob needed replacement. Our Subaru has no manual override for starting and we had fears of being stranded in this remote location without a way to start the car. It is the fob or nothing. Obviously this made us a bit nervous so we took one afternoon off to headed to Gardiner.

Just as we were leaving the park with Gardiner in plain view a few blocks away, we came upon the Roosevelt Arch. This is a wonderful tribute to Theodore Roosevelt who was a national park visionary. I was worried about finding a replacement battery for my fob and I really was anxious to see which vendors in town might have it. I was very focused on that issue.

On the other hand, the cloud pattern was interesting and the sky was blue. I forced myself to pull over to take a picture of the arch. There were people standing in the way, but I waited. I cannot claim that I wasn’t distracted, but I didn’t want to miss this opportunity.

Although I would not declare this is a great picture or one of my best photographs, it has been very popular on various websites. More than anything else…it has helped me avoid another photography-related regret.

To summarize my photography truth , don’t wait to take a picture. Carpe diem when the moment strikes! There is a reason a scene resonates with you. Don’t wait. Take the picture and avoid the regret of what might have been.


Capture time: 12:21 PM
Capture date: Sept. 13, 2018
Exposure: 1/640 sec @ f/9.0
Focal Length: 18mm
ISO: 200
Camera: Fuji X-T2
Lens: XF18-55mm, F2.8-4 R LM OIS
Edited in Lightroom

See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE



All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2020

Begin Your Photography Journey

Puento Nuevo - Ronda Spain
Photograph of Puento Nuevo (New Bridge) in Ronda, Spain

In a previous post, Photography: A Pathway to Creativity, I wrote about how my photography hobby has led me down so many creative, interesting and fulfilling paths. I encourage everyone who may have the slightest inkling to become involved with this dynamic hobby/vocation to do so. Many who have an interest might fear getting starting because they think they lack sufficient knowledge.

Let me tell you, there are plenty of people who are willing to help and guide you. And the good news is that some of the best offer free or very reasonably priced advice and resources, but I don’t want to get ahead of myself here.

Let’s talk cameras…

When digital photography first arrived circa 1989, the quality of the photos were rather poor compared to film cameras. Today, digital cameras have vastly improved an I recommend starting with a digital camera.

There are certain advantages:

  • No cost for film
  • Once captured digitally, pictures can be enhanced with software
  • Storage of images is easy and takes up relatively little physical space
  • Most digital cameras are light
  • Results of the capture are immediate which allows time to correct exposure, composition, etc. if necessary

The question then becomes which camera should I buy if I am just starting out?

Let me just begin by suggesting that almost any digital camera from a recognized brand will render very good to excellent pictures. When starting out, there needn’t be an investment of large sums of money. My first “real” digital camera was a Nikon D3300 which I still use. I have even sold some images captured with it.

Here is a good article to get you started:

The best camera for photography in 2020: top cameras, whatever your skill level!

NOTE – The Nikon D3500 would be the replacement for my D3300 mentioned above.

If you are interested in a particular camera and want a second opinion, you can check out a couple of other review sites. Ken Rockwell for example, has this to say about the Nikon D3500.

“The Nikon D3500 is Nikon’s newest, lightest and least expensive DSLR. It’s only $450 brand new, complete with a fantastic 18-55mm AF-P VR lens. As you can see at the Sample Images, this lens is all you really need: it’s super sharp and does just about everything well.”

You can check out other cameras at Ken’s Website

Another good independent website is DP Review – click on the Reviews tab or the Cameras tab to investigate some options.

I am not recommending or suggesting the purchase of the D3500 or any other particular camera. I am just mentioning it because I am familiar with Nikon’s “beginner” cameras and I have been satisfied with them.

Some will say that gear (type and make of camera) is not important. Well, I disagree with that to a minor extent. It doesn’t matter within a range. Developing the necessary skills is the most important aspect of photography. If I gave a beginner one of the very expensive and top rated cameras, they would have difficulty capturing an excellent photograph with it. I daresay that having a “beginner” camera with some of the necessary skills would probably yield better results.

One of my favorite photographers to follow online who produces much valuable information for free is Scott Bourne. Here is a link to one of his more recent blog posts about the important skills for photographers.

Five Steps Toward Mastering Photography

Once you have purchased a camera, read and studied a bit, the excitement begins!

This is an article just for those starting out in photography. It will give you some idea of how to approach taking pictures and explain some of the key concepts.

7 Key Photography Tips for Absolute Beginners


One last word of guidance if you are interested in photography. Reading and studying are good as far as they go, but to learn the skills necessary you have to get out there and make pictures! Keep your camera with you whenever you can safely do so!


See more photography posts HERE and visit Jeff’s Instagram site HERE



All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged, please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross – 2018 –

Photography: A Pathway to Creativity

It is hard to explain how fascinating and interesting photography is for me. I have discovered that it is one of the most flexible creative outlets. Most people I meet don’t appreciate the depth and variety of photography and related graphic art forms. For now, let’s not discuss whether or not photography is a true art. In my opinion it is!

This is a photograph I took at Europa Point in Gibraltar. It was a beautiful clear day with one of the bluest skies I have seen. On a day such as this, onlookers can see Morocco across the Mediterranean Sea. It is the closest point between Europe and Africa.

The lighthouse juxtaposes beautifully against the surroundings of the ultra blue sky and Mediterranean Sea. I find it very striking.

The above photo stands alone as a nice rendition of the scene, but perhaps it would be even better if rendered more like a line art painting or drawing.

There is software available the allows the photographer to express his or her artistic vision in a variety of graphic formats. This is a hybrid of photography and painting albeit via digital manipulation.

Perhaps the artist’s real concept of the scene lends itself more to a watercolor.

The landscape has such contrasting colors of lights and darks. Would a black and white interpretation be interesting?

With a bit more training and skill, the photographer can add a slightly different yet compelling artistic vision of the lighthouse.

I have tried to explain how photography has opened my creative flow and I believe it can do the same for others. If you are trying to find a tool to unleash your imaginative powers and that can develop into a passion, you might want to pick up a camera and start creating!


One of the beautiful aspects of digital photography is that the photographer can see the results very quickly. There is no film to send to the developers. A version can be seen on the camera’s LCD immediately (in most cases) and a true rendition later on a computer.

Once I retired, I began to apply myself to photography. It has always been of interest to me and now it has grown into a serious hobby. I am not a professional, just a photography enthusiast.

So…where is Gibraltar and Morocco?

Map Via



Original Photo

File Name: 000029_Europa Point Lighthouse, Gibraltar_0971.tif
Capture time: 12:30 PM
Capture date: May 14, 2018
Exposure: 1/350 sec @ f/5.6
Focal Length: 44mm
ISO: 200
Fujifilm X-T2
18-55mm f/2.8-4 R LM OIS

Edited in Lightroom & Photoshop


Check out Jeff’s Instagram account for more interesting photos!

Read more photography posts HERE



All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged #please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2020

Photography: My Shot – Earthen Details

“The devil is in the detail.” — Gustave Flaubert


Not only is the devil the the detail or details, as a photographer I find inspiration and beauty in the details. I am not the best photographer and have little hopes of attaining that title. I enjoy photography for many reasons, but let me address just one.

A significant benefit I receive from my photographic hobby is learning to see. We all look at a multitude things every day; perhaps millions of things if we could count them. But how many of us actually “see” those things at which we are looking?

Photography has given me an appreciation for taking my time to look at an object or a scene. I now search for the details; the small things that make the location or item special. The picture below was taken at Cathedral Gorge State Park in Nevada. If you are going through that area, I recommend it as a very picturesque and worthwhile stop.

While at Cathedral Gorge, I hiked among the canyons created by the eroding clay hoodoos. They were very intriguing in their other-worldly appearance.

This specific grouping of hoodoos served as a collection point for a number of tumbleweeds and these earthen structures created a chimney-like opening where they piled one on top of the other to make an amazing composition.

What struck me was the beautiful coloring and the synchronicity of the two natural aspects, i.e. the eroded clay hoodoos and nature’s tumbleweeds. They came together to form a wonderful, natural image – nature as artist!

I love the textures of both the formations and the tumbleweed. The brown tones bind them together to create, what in my opinion, is an artistic rendering.

Seeing the opportunity, however, doesn’t necessarily mean a photograph is going to successfully capture it the way it appeared to the observer and therein lies the beauty, the challenge and the motivation of photography.

I can’t think of a better hobby for people seeking to express their creative souls than that of photography.




File Name: 0000199-Tumbleweed plays among the hoodoos – Cathedral Gorge, NV
Capture time: 9:55 AM
Capture date: June 13, 2019
Exposure: 1/30 sec @ f/13
Focal Length: 20mm
ISO: 125
Camera: Nikon D3300
Lens: 18-55mm f/3.5-5.6

Edited in Lightroom


Check out Jeff’s Instagram account for more interesting photos!

Read more photography posts HERE



All original content on this blog is copyrighted by Jeffrey B. Ross with ALL Rights Reserved. While reference links back to are appreciated and encouraged #please acquire approval for any reproduction of original content from this website.

©Jeffrey B. Ross 2014 – 2020

Losing Our Marbles, But Having Fun

Jelle Bakker is an apt name for someone who creates a machine that leads us to believe we are losing OUR marbles. Similar in fascination to those domino chain reactions many of us love to watch, this is a virtual “Marble Tsunami” which I believe is called a Knikkerbaan.

I don’t know why so many people enjoy watching this type of controlled mayhem, but we do!

As Jelle says in the about page from his website:

“My biggest passion is making Marble Machines and Rolling Ball Sculptures, the marbles speeds through the tracks hitting bells, chimes, nails, woodblocks. My Marble Machines differs from other ones because of a cacaphony of sounds produced from the marbles and moving parts like tipovers, seesaws, levers and unique track parts like jumps, loops, funnels, pinball courses and more. My Marble Machines commonly made from wood.

My biggest milestone was setting the guiness record for the Longest Marble Run in 2009, unfortnately, it’s now broken by someone else. In 2012 i start building my first international project outside of the Benelux in the MAD Museum in Stratford upon Avon (UK), after it’s succes a second machine from me is now exhibited inside the darkroom, a Rolling Ball Machine with glowing balls lit by uv-LED’s.”

Read more about this cacophonous hobby at jellekknikkers: the marble master