I went back to the best field of Lupines I know of within ebike range of home to see how it was developing. The field is back in between the inland fringes of Kennebunkport and Arundel, about a 20 mile round trip ride. I visited a week ago and wondered if it was still a bit early or if the bloom was weak this year. No worries! The field is now in full bloom and spectacular. There is, as in any extensive stand of lupin in Maine, a variety of shades of lupin…from this pure white specimen to deep indigo, to the more reddish-purple than blues. There are a few well grown maple trees in the foreground of the field, and the dappled light only adds to the beauty of the display. Sony RX10iv at 580mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr. Of course, I had to work around the 3 other photographers who had discovered the field and were visiting at exactly the same moment I was…one couple was from Ontario Canada. Popular field! Popular flowers.
Near the bike-rack, right where I see them every time I go to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters in Wells Maine, there are a few stands of giant Jack-in-the-pulpits growing…the largest plants of their kind I have ever seen. This is one of them. The tallest blossom is about two and half feet off the ground. Giant! Sony RX10iv at about 150mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
“If your eye is generous, your whole being is full of light!” Jesus
Here along the coast we will not have Wild Iris for another 2 weeks at least, but just a few miles further inland they are all over the place…in roadside ditches, and along wet swales in hayfields and on the edges of meadows near ponds. Maybe there are that many more this year as we have had a wet spring. I found a boggy pasture edged with pines that must have had 5000 Iris in bloom. Quite a show. Evolutionists will tell you that wildflowers got their form and color due to the evolutionary pressure, not to say competition, for reproduction and pollination. It is not so much that I don’t believe it could have happened that way, as that I find it much easier to believe that the loving creator just likes flowers…loves flowers. There are so many and so many different colors, different forms…from a simple round of petals to the ornate structures of the iris and orchids. Form may follow function, but, to my way of thinking, and my generous eye at its best, part of the function of flowers might just be…well…to be beautiful. If that is naive…or even “simple minded”…then I proudly claim naivety and simplicity as legitimate aspects of the generous eye. The generous eye sees the glory of the creator in everything. How can you not see it in the Wild Iris?
The Jack-in-the-pulpit is a strange plant, and relatively rare in southern Maine (or at least rare in the places I frequent). I have seen them several times at Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve) but the stands I knew are apparently gone now. This one is growing on the edge of what used to the frog pond at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters. There are several there that I am watching. This is an early bloom. There are some giants there that should bloom over the next week or so, and I hope to catch them. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
As I mentioned in my previous Lady Slipper post, I do know of a few scattered and more isolated areas where the Pink Lady Slipper blooms here in Southern Maine, besides the reliable clumps along the trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquaters. There are always a few along the edge of the pond on the Kennebunk Plains…and these are the only ones I know of that are growing in full sun (at least part of the day). This an in-camera HDR shot with the Sony Ultra Wide, 18mm equivalent lens on the Sony a5100…and it puts the Lady Slipper in context. The flower is about 8 inches from my lens, and I used selective focus to focus on it, but the extreme depth of field of the ultra wide renders a scene rich in texture and detail. It would make an excellent 16×20 print to dominate a wall! Processed in Polarr.
Yesterday I biked down to the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Headquarters trail to check on the Pink Lady Slipper orchids, which were just budding out the middle of last week, several weeks late. There is a large patch on the inside (land side) of the trail right behind the buildings, and there is a small patch below one of the overlooks where they maintain an opening onto the marsh view. The ones on the inside were still in bud, but at least two of the flowers on the sunnier marsh side had opened. There are more to come, clearly, in both spots and if we get a few warm days here they will all be open. The first blooms to open this year are pale compared to other years. Only time will tell if that is the trend this year, or just characteristic of the early bloom. The Lady Slippers are wonderful, ornate, delicate blooms…endangered due to habitat loss, and protected. I know of a few other more isolated spots where they bloom in the area, but the ones along the headquarters trail are certainly the most reliable and accessible. Sony RX10iv at 365mm equivalent. In-camera HDR. Processed in Polarr.
Yesterday was a day for looking for wildflowers. I took my ebike out to the headquarters trail at Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge to see if, despite our ridiculously late spring, there were flowers in bloom. The Hobblebush is, of course, still in bloom, but then, that sometimes blooms in February. The Lady Slippers, generally a safe bet for Mother’s Day, are just budding out. Late indeed. However the Two-bead Lily are past, so they apparently bloomed on schedule. ?? I found the Rhodora above in a road-side ditch on my way to Rachel Carson, and the Wood Violet, Blueberry, and Painted Trillium along the trail. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and assembled in Framemagic.
When I visited southern Portugal in December a few years ago, my guide assured me that if I returned in the spring, I would find the fields full of wildflowers…and that promise figured largely in my plans for our April trip this year. I was not disappointed. The Portuguese practice a form of agriculture which includes a rotation of crops, grazing, and fallow fields…and the fallow fields, not to mention roadsides, hillsides, orchards, cork groves, hedgerows, and riversides, are indeed full of wildflowers in the spring. I photographed well over 70 species. I have only begun to identify them (and may have already mis-identified some). Here is first small sample. The English name is on each photo, but you will probably have to view the photos full screen to read it. Some of the most interesting wildflowers I found are proving the most elusive to identify. The situation for wildflowers seems to the same as the situation for birds in Portugal. The only resources I could find were English language, published in England, by Englishmen (and women). It would certainly be possible to spend as much time in the Alentejo and Algarve studying the wildflowers as you could spend on the birds…which is to say a lot of time! All photos taken with the Sony RX10iv and processed in Polarr.
Sometimes the beauty is in the small stuff…and in the small details. In all the great flower show of the beginnings of an Anza Borrego Desert superbloom, this tiny flower caught my eye. I think it is Bristly Fiddleneck, but there are several possible Fiddlenecks that grow in the Anza Borrego, and I would not be too surprised if it were one of the others. 🙂 I am not an expert. I found it coming back down the Hellhole Canyon Trail at Anza Borrego Desert State Park, near the end of our March 4th flower adventure. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Macro mode. 1/1000th @ f5 @ ISO 100. -.3EV. Processed in Polarr.
Hiking back down Hellhole Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park in southern California, on our March 4th wildflower excursion, we found this little natural still-life all set up and waiting. The big cholla stump and the short cholla with the Common Phacelia twined around it, against the backdrop of the Anza Borrego Desert canyon landscape and the Ocotillos standing tall…something for the eye in every corner. In-camera HDR. Sony a51000 with 16mm prime and UWA converter for an 18mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr.