Posts in Category: wildflower

Cedar Waxwing among the Apple Blossoms

Cedar Waxwing: Magee Marsh Boardwalk, Oak Harbor, Ohio, USA, May 2022 — There is almost always a crowd of photographers under the apple tree that blooms in May along the Magee Marsh Boardwalk. There are often birds among the blossoms, and it makes a very attractive setting. I have photographed a dozen species of warblers there, as well as Baltimore Oriole and, of course, Cedar Waxwing. The Cedar Waxwings eat the apple flowers, and there can be many in the tree at once when they come through. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5.6 @ 1/1000th, minus .7 EV. Difficult lighting.

Wild Iris at the Pond

I photograph this scene almost every year…some years I have been traveling and missed Iris season altogether, and some years I just get the timing off, but most years I manage at least one stop by the little pond along Rt. 9 between the end of Brown Street and the Wells Town line, while the Iris is in bloom. Some years I hit it on a sunny day with amazing clouds behind the trees. Some years, like this one, the sky is mostly overcast and the light subdued. It is always beautiful. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm equivalent lens. Processed in Apple Photos.

Wild Iris

Wild Iris (Blue Flag Iris): Kennebunkport, Maine, USA, June 2022 — It is wild Iris season in southern Maine. I see them first in the ditches along roads, and then they spread out across wet fields in the creases where water collects. You can see the royal blue patches breaking the green from way across the fields. Close up they are beautifully ornate, with that touch of yellow on the petals setting off the deep, almost purple, blue. I found these at the edge of huge wet field which is cut for hay later in the season, in one of the drainage ditches, near Emmon’s Preserve in Kennebunkport. Sony Rx10iv at 65mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th. Minus .3 EV exposure compensation.

Antidote to ugliness…

I offer this collage of May forest flowers as an antidote to all the ugliness in the news today. Take hold of hope. Take hold of beauty. Take hold of love. Sony Rx10iv. Program mode. Processed in Pixelmator Photo, Apple Photos, and FrameMagic.

Lady Slipper Orchids of 2022

Lady Slipper Orchid: Kennebunk Plains Sanctuary, Kennebunk, Maine, USA, May 2022 — We interrupt our coverage of the warblers and song birds of Magee Marsh in Ohio and the Biggest Week in American Birding to bring you breaking news from the woods of Maine. The Lady Slipper Orchids are in bloom. I went to Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge where they grow along the loop of trail behind the current headquarters buildings, and found them almost too late, and then yesterday took my eTrike out to the Kennebunk Plains to check the extensive stand in a hidden spot in the woods there. Again this year there were well over 500 orchids in bloom, all along the bank where it rises from the stream. The dappled light and shade provide lots of options for photography. These Lady Slippers are among the most healthy I have ever seen (unlike the ones at Rachel Carson which seem to be more faded each year)…intense pink verging on purple depending on the light…tall and stately, and sometimes half a dozen to a bunch. It is an amazing and an inspiring display of this threatened flower. Sony Rx10iv at 68mm (the macro) and 97mm (the wider view). Program mode with HDR. -.3EV. Nominal exposure: ISO 100, f3.5 @ 1/160th and 1/200th.

Maine spring edition: Trout-lily

Trout-lily, Wells Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — It is Trout-lily time of year again. I have been watching the distinctive leaves, dark green with brown mottling, emerge slowly in likely spots, but these are the first I have found blooming this spring, in a warm sheltered spot along the boardwalk in the Maple Swamp at Laudholm Farms. Trout-lily (or Adder’s Tongue) is a nodding lily and you have to get right down on the ground to shoot up under the blossoms for the full effect. Times like these I am very thankful for the articulated LCD on the Sony. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv. One at 97mm equivalent, two at 79mm, and the last one at 600mm for a telephoto macro. With the Sony’s full time macro you have to experiment with close focus distance and focal length for the best image scale…or back off and shoot at 600mm. Processed in Pixelmator Photo and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f4 @ 1/400th to 1/800th.

In Milkweed Time

Laudholm Farms, Wells Maine, USA — Monarch butterflies are struggling in North America, largely because this plant is struggling. If Laudholm Farms is anything to go by, Milkweed is struggling even where an effort is being made to make space for it. I remember the Milkweed meadow at Laudholm being thick with Milkweed when they first set it aside…but this year there were only a few plants that made it all the way to pods. I am not sure what is going on. On the other hand, it seemed to be a good year for Monarch in Southern Maine. I saw quite a few on the Kennebunk Plains during the Blazing Star bloom. Anyway, I have been fascinated by the silky fluff of Milkweed seeds and the leather hunks since I was a boy. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.

Bumblebee in the Turtlehead

Someone gave us a few Turtlehead plants many years ago, and they have grown into 4 substantial clumps in the shade of the trees along either edge of our yard. Turtleheads are more commonly a flower of the stream-side. We have the white variety growing wild along the Kennebunk River not from from home. They are such a strange flower, closed in on themselves and not very inviting, but the big bumblebees we have here in Southern Maine seem to like them, and are very busy forcing their ways into the throat of the turtle and back out again laden with pollen. I was out with my iPhone for some macro and semi-macro shots. This one was taken with the Sirui 60mm portrait lens on the Moment thin case at about 2x digital zoom with the standard Apple Camera app. Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.

Sundew!

Sundew, Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, Maine, USA — As promised, we are here today to celebrate Sundew! Sundew is another carnivorous bog plant. Instead of drowning its prey, as the Pitcher Plant from yesterday does, the Sundew has little sticky spikes on open pads that attract insects. The insects get stuck and the nutrients are absorbed. You can see a couple in the shots here. A tiny back beetle, and small green caterpillar of some sort. Sundew is hard to see, even in a bog full of it. The little sticky, spiky, pads are often all that rises above the level of sphagnum moss, though the first shot above shows more of the plant, and those pads are less than 1/4 inch across. In good light you look for the glitter of the crown of tiny sticky beads of gue on the tips of the spine. And then you get in really close for a photo. The shot that shows more of the plant was taken at 600mm with my Sony Rx10iv from about 3 feet (and that was an exceptionally large plant), but the other two are from my iPhone SE with the Sirui 10x macro lens attached. I had to get down on my knees and elbows and bend over the edge of the floating platform, to get the phone within about 1/4 inch of the plants for those shots. Then I had to get back up…not easy at my age. The things we do. 🙂 Still, I would do it again, just for the privilege of seeing and celebrating the strange and wonderful carnivorous, bog dwelling, Sundew plant!

Pitcher Plant

Hidden Valley Nature Center, Jefferson, Maine, USA — I spent the day with the Holbrook Travel group at Hog Island Audubon Camp yesterday, and presented an afternoon workshop on nature photography. One of the highlights was a visit to the bog platform at Hidden Valley Nature Center in Jefferson. I have never seen a better display of Pitcher Plant. (We also found lots of Sundew plants, which I will feature in another post.) Pitcher Plant is a carnivorous plant. Insects are attracted to the water in the pitcher and then, because of the structure of the plant, can not climb back out. They are digested in the pitcher and the nutrients feed the plant. They have a strange flower that is mostly bract. We have them in the remnant bogs in Southern Maine, but nothing like the display at Hidden Valley…just that much further north. Photos with the Sony Rx10iv at various focal lengths for effective framing. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.