Roda’s Critter Connection: Eastern Carpenter Bee

Although most children are afraid of bees, I was that little girl chasing them with my camera, from flower to flower.  My passion for bees started at a very young age. To this day, I find myself following large bumbles, throughout the gardens.

eastern carpenter bee in flight

I feel bless to have a carpenter bee (xylocopa virginica) nest in one of our retaining wall.  Although most would panic, I am filled with joy! These huge bumbles are just fabulous! They feed on pollen and nectar, while nesting in tunnels and in dead wood.

Look at those eyes!

There are no queens in the colony.  The dominant females are responsible for reproduction, foraging and nest construction.

A female eastern carpenter bee

It looks like the Miss Kim Lilacs are a hit with these fuzzy friends!


 BEE the change you wish to see in the world.

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You




Roda’s Critter Connection

I believe I can safely say that Spring has sprung in west Michigan! The high for today is a beautiful 70 degrees.  WOO-HOO!  I can’t think of a better way to celebrate Spring…butterflies.  Although they are not awake outside yet, they are still flying about at our local botanical garden.  After the snow last week, I found myself pulled to the tropical room, for another visit with my fluttering friends…

Tiger Longwing – Heliconius hecale


Small Postman – Heliconius erato


Hecale Longwing – Heliconius hecale


Orchard Swallowtail – Papilio demodocus


Blue Morpho – Morpho peleides   (The master of disguise!)


Blue Morpho – Morpho peleides



Remember, it is never too late for a little transformation…

Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…


Each Monday, grab your camera and join me by sharing your favorite critter.  Remember, no critter is too big or too small!


When Fashion & Nature Collide: April Edition

Here in Michigan, we are ready to pack up our winter coats and pull out our Spring wardrobe!  But, Mother Nature has not been on our side and does not seem to want to let go of Winter, just yet.  It looks like our temperature will reach the 50s this weekend, so it is time to pull out my sandals and put away my smartwool socks, for a few months.  I can hardly wait! Feeling confident and comfortable, in my clothing, always makes me feel extra fabulous! As I always say, JUST BE YOU!

Nature is a constant inspiration for not only my art and photography, but in my daily life. Nature is inspiring! Just walk outside…the smell of Spring…a bird’s love song…it doesn’t take much and my senses explode! Mother Nature’s inspiration is endless… we just need to slow down and take the time to notice.


On the third Wednesday of each month, we celebrate the beautiful collision between nature and fashion. Keep in mind, my focus will be to share a detailed background of my critter photography, featured in the current edition. I highly recommend you visit the other three posts, from The Arty Plantsman (botanical photography), LisMorePaper (Artist) and 3C Style (Fashion) to present you with “When Fashion & Nature Collide” in its entirety.

With that being said, I hope you enjoy the second edition of…

When Fashion and Nature Collide

April Edition

Critter Photography Features

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Damselfly – Damselflies are one of my favorite critters to capture in the garden.  They are truly fairies in disguise!

These beautiful insects are of the suborder of Zygoptera, in the order Odonata.  They are very similar to dragonflies, but are smaller in size. When at rest, most species fold their wings along their body.  Damselflies eat small, soft-bodied insects like aphids and mosquitoes. Bonus!  These stunning creatures are found on every continent except Antarctica.

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda


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Asian Lady Beetle – This small beetle  (coccinellidae) ranges from 0.8 to 18 mm in length and is commonly yellow, orange or red, with black spots on their wing covers.  This species is native to Asia, but became established in North America, in attempt to control the spread of aphids and scale insects. What a gardener’s friend!  These adorable little critters are welcome in my garden any day!

Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda



White-Tailed Deer – These medium-sized deer (Odocoileus Virginianus) are native to the US, Canada, Mexico, Central America and South America. The deer’s coat is grey-brown throughout the fall and winter and then turns reddish-brown, in the spring and summer.  This deer can be identified by the white underside of its tail.  The white- tail deer will raise its tail, signaling that a predator is near. The males regrow their antlers each year, beginning in the Spring.  They will then shed their antlers, once all females have been bred, between December and February.

The white-tailed deer lives in forests, but can easily adapt to life in a more open space.  They are almost entirely herbivores, but will eat small critters, if necessary.  We have a large white-tail deer population in our area.  This photo was taken from the upper deck of our home.  These beautiful creatures enjoy snacking on our gardens.  Even with protective fencing, they will scale a 6 foot fence, if hungry enough!


Fashion Inspiration by 3C Style, Photography of 3C Style by Marie-Claude Viola, Nature Photography by Roda


For a look at the big picture of “When Fashion and Nature Collide”, don’t forget to visit the rest of the team:

Darren –
Dominique –
Lisa –


Mark your calendars! You won’t want to miss the 3rd Edition of “When Fashion and Nature Collide”, on May 16th.

“There is something magical about being nestled among a field of wildflowers or resting on a fern covered forest floor, waiting for gifts from Mother Nature. For me, it is not just about photography…it is about being one with magnificent creatures, up close and personal.”
~ Roda


Love Yourself…Embrace Yourself…Just Be You…

*For more nature inspired photography by Roda, visit…

©Growing Self & Nature’s Lens, 2017. Unauthorized use and/or duplication of any material without express and written permission from this site’s author and/or owner is prohibited. Excerpts and links may be used, provided that full and clear credit is given to Growing Self & Nature’s Lens with appropriate and specific direction to the original content. All photographs belong to Growing Self & Nature’s Lens.