American Goldfinch: York County, Maine, USA, September 2023 — Though it looks like it might be an exotic, this plant is growing, thriving in fact, in a display of native plants at a local reserve…It is Joe Pye Weed, and it is the perfect setting to show off the bright yellow of this fall Goldfinch. As you can imagine there is an interesting story behind the name of the plant. It is named for the Joe Pye, who, legend has it, was a New England tribal medicine man who treated typhoid among early European settlers with native plants…though not, probably, the Joe Pye Weed…though it has been used to treat fever, among other ailments. It is a great host plant for bees and butterflies, and, apparently the Goldfinches enjoy it as well. OM Systems OM-1 with ED 100-400mm zoom at 1600mm equivalent (2x digital tel-extender). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Pro. ISO 250 @ f6.3 @ 1/640th.
Common Eastern Bumblebee: Laudholm Farms (Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve), Wells, Maine, USA, September 2023 — At least three species of bees and one of hoverflies were out in great numbers in the Goldenrod at Laudholm Farms on a sunny afternoon…all busy harvesting pollen. This Bumblebee is well on the way to carrying a full load. OM Systems OM-1 with the ED 100-400mm zoom at 800mm equivalent from just over 4 feet. Program mode with my custom bird and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Pro. ISO 200 @ f6.3 @ 1/800th.
Ground level on a small stand of emerging Indian Pipe (Ghost Pipe, Ghost Flower) This is a hand-held focus stack from the OM-1 and the 12-45mm f4 Pro. Program mode. Processed in Pixelmator Pro.
I can’t let Northern Blazing Star season pass without properly celebrating it, so here is another Blazing Star shot. About one in a thousand (just a guess) Blazing Star plants produce white blossoms. I have no idea why…whether it is in the plant itself or in the soil, or some combination of the two. The plants appear otherwise healthy and identical to their purple counterparts. OM Systems OM-1 with ED 100-400mm zoom at 585mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Pro. ISO 200 @ f7 @ 1/800th.
I love the extreme color contrast between the Goldenrod and the Northern Blazing Star this time of year…though as I have mentioned before you have do some looking to find the two close enough to include in the same frame. This was taken with the OM Systems OM-1 and the ED 100-400mm zoom at 246mm equivalent. Still with my custom bird and wildlife modifications. Processed in Pixelmator Pro. ISO 200 @ f6.3 @ 1/800th.
Our first August in Maine I was driving out past the Kennebunk Plains in August and saw the Northern Blazing Star show for the first time. It was like this, dense and lush and covering the plains…and I have not seen it like this since, until this year. It has been good, and beautiful, in past years, but not like this! And under a perfect August Maine sky. Sony A5100 with the kit 18-50mm zoom at 24mm equivalent. Intelligent Auto. Processed in Pixelmator Pro and Apple Photos.
Northern Blazing Star against Goldenrod, Kennebunk Plains, Kennebunk, Maine. — Both Northern Blazing Star and Goldenrod are in full bloom on the Kennebunk Plains right now…but they the stands rarely overlap. I had to look long and hard to find two plants close enough to put them in the same frame, but who could resist trying? The color contrast is just too wonderful. I offer it as a celebration of Sunday! Sony A5100 with 18-50mm zoom at 45mm equivalent. Auto.
Northern Blazing Star: Kennebunk Plains Nature Conservancy, York County, Maine, USA. — It is the season of Blazing Star on the Kennebunk Plains. The Plains are one of the few remaining sand-plains in the Northeast, and are managed for several rare and endangered species…the Northern Blazing Star chief among them. Blazing Star is a fire-dependent plant, and the Plains are burned on a regular rotation to keep the population healthy. This time of year the Blazing Star is host of a wide variety of insect and bird species as well, and it is right now that the the Plains are perhaps the most alive. This year’s crop is notable for its height…all the plants are very tall, taller then average by almost a foot, and they have blossoms all down the stalk. If the weather holds the last of those won’t bloom until the first week in September, making for an exceptionally long bloom. I have been tracking and photographing the Norther Blazing Star bloom on the Kennebunk Plains for over 20 years now. Every year is different. OM Systems OM-1 with ED 100-400mm zoom at various focal lengths for framing. Program mode with my custom birds modifications (yes they work for plant macros as well…not need to change mode.) Processed in Pixelmator Pro.
I am not sure what is happening with the Wood Lilies this year? I found only 2 plants in bloom where there are generally hundreds out on the Kennebunk Plains Nature Conservancy. I will check again this week but I am not hopeful…as the plants I found were in full bloom already. Wood Lilies are particularly hard to photograph as there is so much dimension to them, and every part is interesting and deserving of correct focus. This is an 8 deep focus stack, and again, hand held. (For those who do not know…when focus stacking the camera takes however many exposures you tell it to, varying the focus for each one, and then combines them in-camera so that every part of your subject looks in focus. It is particularly effective on close-ups. This produces a image that is much closer to what your eye sees…but it might look a bit strange in a photograph, as we expect to see the narrow plane of focus of the camera. 🙂 OM Systems OM-1 with 100-400mm zoom at 246mm equivalent. Program mode. Nominal ISO 200 @ f5.6 @ 1/640th.
Grass-pink Orchid: Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms, Wells, Maine, USA — I always go check for the Grass-pink Orchids too early…before they bloom…and then, sometimes miss them…getting to the little remnant bog at Laudholm Farms too late. This year I caught them (though there were no Rose Pagonias, the other orchid of that bog). The OM Systems OM-1 does in-camera focus stacking, and the 100-400mm zoom focuses to just over 4 feet at 800mm equivalent…making the system pretty amazing for flower macros (or close-ups at any rate.) I know from past experiences with other cameras (I have been photographing these Grass-pinks for many years now) that it is very difficult to get a close up of the flower with every part in focus in the same image. The flower is just too three-dimensional. Focus stacking (hand held here…and a tripod would not have helped as there was breeze and the flowers were moving) gives us the depth of filed needed. It took a couple of tries because of the breeze, but it is hard to fault the results. 770mm equivalent (to frame the flower from closest focus). Equivalent exposure ISO 200 @ f6.3 @ 1/640th.