I am falling behind…not because I am not posting every day, but because I am taking too many photos 🙂 Not a bad problem to have. Of course a string of rainy days might cure that, but for now, I am going to group this set taken at the same location on the same outing: I rode my trike out to Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains near home here in Maine, to see how spring was coming along. We have the Plains landscape on the way into the pond at 24mm equivalent (all with the Sony Rx10iv, this one with HDR, and the rest with my birds and wildlife modifications to Program), a Northern Water Snake (one of the largest I have ever seen) at 465mm, Dogwood in bloom against a stand of white birch at 24mm, two Painted Turtles sharing what appears to be a tender moment (but probably was not really) at 600mm, and Eastern Pine Elfin at 600mm and about 3 feet (this is a tiny butterfly, about 1/2 inch across). In leaner times I might have stretched this out over 5 posts, as each shot has an interest of its own. (I did already post the Elfin to some of the Butterfly groups on Facebook, but it belongs here too, in the context of the the visit to Day Brook Pond.)
Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine. This shot is actually form last week, but I want to post it before Trout Lily season passes us by altogether. You really have to get down low to fully appreciate the blossoms of the Lily, or Adder’s Tongue as it is also called. Someone posted a photo recently of a pure white Trout Lily…something I have never seen. According to Google the white flowering Trout Lily is actually a different species, but I do appreciate our little yellow troops on the floor of the Maine forest when they arrive in early spring. Sony Rx10iv at 78mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 100 @ f5 @ 1/1000th.
Trout Lily (aka Adder’s Tongue): Emmon’s Preserve, Kennebunkport, Maine, USA — I rode my eTrike out to Emmon’s Preserve on Monday, in part to see if the Trout Lily was in bloom. I have always called this early spring flower of the Maine woods Trout Lily, but a few years ago, I found that it has another, maybe more common name…Adder’s Tongue. By whatever name, the drooping yellow and orange blossoms above the dark spotted green leaves are one of the first delights of spring in Southern Maine…but, you have to be on your toes to catch them. Two weeks ago, the leaves were not even showing above ground. 5 days ago, I only found a few unopened buds. Yesterday, two favored patches in sunny spots in the forest were in full bloom. Some of the more shaded clusters are just poking up, but as the weather is staying above 50 degrees for a few days, they will quickly develop flowers and bloom…and then there well only be the clusters of patterned leaves close to the ground (marked like a trout) for the rest of the summer. Sony Rx10iv at 78mm equivalent. Full time macro on the ZEISS lens got me to within inches, and the flip out LCD allowed me to shoot from ground level looking up at the drooping flower. For a shot like this the movable spot focus is ideal as I can just tap the touch LCD over the flower and get precise focus. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. As you see, this shot was taken in the natural dappled shade of the forest floor. ISO 100 @ f3.5 @ 1/250th.
Maple blossom, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — not an actual macro shot…this was taken at 1200mm equivalent from just about closest focus distance (maybe 4.5 feet) with the Sony Rx10iv’s Clear Image Zoom. I find that if there is enough detail in the image, and limited background, Clear Image Zoom works very well. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
Maple Blossom, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — it is that time of year again, and you are going to have to endure a few maple blossom shots 🙂 These tiny flowers form on the very tips of the maple twigs wherever there are maples. I actually met a researcher at the Wells Estuarine Research Reserve the other way who is doing a year’s long study of the flowering of maples on the Reserve. My study is less formal, but I rarely, if ever, miss photographing the blooms when they are at their best. Our yard is full of big maples and a few of them have drooping branches that put the flowers within reach. Take note of the complex structure of the flower, and how the burst out of the buds that you first see on the branches. The flowers are indeed tiny. Depending on what device you are viewing the photo on you are probably seeing the flowers at twice life size, as you would view them from less than arm’s length. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent (with a bit of Clear Image Zoom added so maybe 800mm equivalent). Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. It was an overcast morning so the light was somewhat flat…not bad for close up photography.
Eastern Gray Squirrel: Kennebunk, Maine, USA — I looked out of my window yesterday afternoon, peaking between the blinds, and saw a squirrel on the maple branch above me. He appeared to be eating the maple blossoms…I have been watching the maple blossoms since they were just tiny red beads on the branch tips. Maple blossoms are one of my favorite things about spring. They are so beautiful, and so unlikely. I suspect the vast majority of Americans do not know that maples flower, and certainly do not know how beautiful the flowers are. Our blossoms are not quite ready to open into full flowers yet, but they have made a lot of progress the past few days. I certainly did not expect to see the squirrels eating them. A google peruse this morning shows that it is common behavior…to the extent that are recommended “cures” to keep squirrels from decimating ornamental maples in folk’s yards. We have so many maple trees here in Southern Maine, and even in our yard, that it would take a plague of squirrels of biblical proportions (as they say) to do much damage. Much as I appreciate maple flowers, if the squirrels prefer them to my sunflower seeds in season, I say “let them eat flowers!” Anyway, I got my camera and spent a while watching and photographing the squirrel getting into all kinds of greedy postures among the maple blossoms. Each of these three shots tells its own story, and together they tell a tale. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos. ISO 400, 250, and 250 @ f4 @ 1/500th.
I continue with my experiments in iPhone nature photography. I have changed the name of the series from “Nature Phone” to “Nature Phonography,” which is, I think, a more “clever” sounding moniker for when this eventually becomes a book 🙂 (No really. Not the clever part but the book part is definitely in the cards, once I learn all I can about phone photography in nature.) So this is the catkins on the bushes beside the Mousam River at Roger’s Pond Park here in Kennebunk, and indeed they are plumping up for spring. A good sign if you are as winter weary as I am, and eager for warmer days to be outside. Here I am experimenting with the Sirui portrait, short telephoto lens, which is a 60mm equivalent. My Moment thin case, which has a bayonet mount that works with my Sirui lenses and is much more elegant than using the Sirui clips or telephoto mount, came a few days ago, and this was my first time out with it. I had tried the “regular” Moment case which was a tight fit for the Sirui lenses. Evidently it was a tight fit for the Moment lenses as well since one of the “selling features” of the new Thin case, besides it’s considerabaly lower weight and bulk, is an easier mounting experience. I used the Apple Camera app and 2x digital zoom on the iPhone SE 2020. I find that if you keep the digital zoom to 2x or under, it is difficult to see any decrease in image quality at all. That gives me a 120mm moderate telephoto lens for close-ups of flowers and bugs. I am eager to try it on dragonflies. (And if I had a phone with a built in telephoto, it would extend my range ever further.) The lens is excellent and I am very happy with the results so far. This could easily pass for a shot with my Sony Rx10iv. 🙂 Auto exposure and focus. ISO 20 @ f1.8 @ 1/423rd. Processed in Pixelmator Pro.
Continuing with my adventure into phone photography, yesterday I was experimenting with the Sirui 60mm add-on portrait/short telephoto lens…mostly to see how it would work for dragonflies, butterflies, and flowers. This is Carol’s Valentine’s Day Calla Lily, by the light of a north window on a subdued day, using the Vivid HDR extension in the ProCamera app (but set to a “natural” rendering, not vivid). I am liking this lens on the iPhone SE. 🙂 My experimentation so far has convinced me that the Sirui lenses work better without a case on the phone…or as I have, you can modify the case so the area around the camera is bare. ProCamera gives me all the controls I am used to on my Sony. The only thing it lacks is user defined shooting modes (presets), so I am still looking at other photo apps. ProCamera also has extensive editing features…but I am finding it easier to AirDrop the photos to my iPad Pro where I can see them closer to full size and work on them in Polarr. iPhone SE 2020, Sirui 60mm lens, ProCamera Vivid HDR. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
There is a poem for this.
It is the season of the Aster in
southern Maine. We must have
a half dozen species in flower
just now, everywhere from road-
side to deep woods. Of course
it begins with the big showy
New England Aster…purple petals
radiating from a bright yellow center,
but we also have the Tall White Aster,
which is (you guessed it) tall and white
with those same yellow centers,
and the then the spidery petaled
Large Leafed Wood Aster, the tiny
flowered White Wood Aster, and
the low growing Blue Wood Aster,
very like the white, but colored
like the New England. And then
we have at least two species of
Goldenrod, the Seaside and the
Zigzag (and yes that is its name),
So an abundance of Asters here
in southern Maine, getting on for
late September, to keep us company
as the leaves turn red and we slip,
as gracefully as we can, into fall.
Sony Rx10iv and Sony HX90V. Various focal lengths. Program with my standard wildlife modifications, and the HX90V shots in intelligent auto. Processed in Apple Photos.
White Wood Aster, Kennebunk Barrens Nature Conservancy, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — September in southern Maine is certainly the season for Asters. There are at least 6 different Aster species in bloom right now…and they are all over, in every kind of habitat. These are, I am pretty sure, White Wood Asters from the Kennebunk Plains, and what looks to be a Honey Bee. You can see that the Bee is harvesting pollen and is already heavy laden just by looking at those bright yellow leggings. 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos.