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.
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.
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.
We hiked part way up Hellhole Canyon in Anza Borrego Desert State Park when we went wildflower hunting there in early March. This is a mixed stand of Parish’s Poppy (yellow), Wild Canterbury Bells (purple), and Biglow’s (or maybe Red-stemmed) Monkey Flower (pink). Simply wonderful! In-camera HDR. Sony a5100 with the Sony 16mm f2.8 lens and the UWA converter for an 18mm equivalent field of view. Processed in Polarr.
We arrived in Borrego Springs late Sunday, after sunset, but we could not resist driving up Di Giorgio Road beyond Henderson Canyon Road to were the pavement ends to see the wildflower fields of the first of the superbloom. These shots were taken in the fading light. Brown-eyed Primrose is one of the most common Anza Borrego Desert wildflowers at lower elevations. Desert Lily can be found in isolated patches off Di Giorgio Road, (Coyote Canyon) and we found them the next morning out along S22 near Arroyo Salado Campground. I am sure they are other places as well. We found Evening Primrose wherever there were flowers. And finally a mixed stand of Brown-eyed Primrose, Sand Verbena, and maybe one of the popcorn flowers? Sony RX10iv at 600mm and 400mm equivalents. Macro mode. 1/250th @ f4 @ ISO 100-250. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
It is time to share some desert wildflower closeups from our visit to the Anza Borrego Desert in southern California. These flowers were all found within a few feet of each other on the hillside between S22 and Truckhaven Trail just east of Borrego Springs (there is actually a pin there on google maps, with some photos of the wildflower bloom, courtesy of desertusa.com). They are, clockwise from the upper left, Desert Sunflower, Sand Verbena, California Chicory, and Desert Pincushion. Sony RX10iv at 600mm. Macro mode. 1/1000th @ ISO 100 between f5 and f6.3. Processed in Polarr and assembled in FrameMagic.
I got caught up in photographing the dried flowers and seed heads along the Canyon Trail at Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge in New Mexico last week. For one thing I was testing the Macro Mode on my RX10iv, which I had just happened on while teaching a Point and Shoot Nature Photography class the day before. My theory is that if there is a specially designed mode for a particular situation, we owe it to ourselves as Point and Shoot photographers to see if it works. No point in doing it the hard way, if there is an easier way that gets the same results. This is the seed-head of Cliffrose, which grows on dry hillsides all through New Mexico. It is also called, locally, Navajo Diaper. I always assumed, when I lived in New Mexico, that the Navajo somehow used the feathery seed-heads to line their cradle boards, but a bit of research this morning informed me that it is the shredded bark of the plant that they use, and that they weave it into a mat. Still, I have always loved the feathery delicacy of the seed-heads, and the beauty is, I think, particularly visible in this image. Sony RX10iv in Macro mode at 600mm equivalent. Processed in Polarr.