Posts in Category: forest

Maine! Focus stacked fungi

One of my excuses for buying the Olympus OMD EM5Miii and the 12-45mm zoom was so that I could do focus stacked macro without taking the 100-400mm zoom off my OM-1. I have a December trip to Costa Rica that features at least 2 macro photography outings. 🙂 And I have not done much real macro while using the Sony RX10iv as it did not lend itself to really close work (and did not have in-camera focus stacking anyway). For those who do not know, focus stacking takes 8-10 exposures, automatically moving focus by a set increment, and then combines those images in the camera to produce an image that has much greater depth of field than a normal exposure…so that macro subjects in particular where depth of field is a real issue, can appear sharp from the very front to the very back. These are a few mushrooms I found along the Bridle Path in Kennebunk last week. I have a little, light weight Sirui carbon fiber tripod that I bought for this purpose exactly, and it works really well. Olympus OMD EM5Miii with the 12-45mm zoom at various focal lengths. Program mode with focus stacking. The only issue is the mosquitoes working this close to the ground for any length of time 🙂

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.

That birch…

This might be another story about Japanese Barberry, which provides the red understory here, but the photo is really about the birch tree…which I have photographed in every season. The ultra-wide lens makes it look less substantial than it is in person. It is s a big birch tree, and standing alone in the middle of a mostly maple forest at Laudholm Farms as it does, it is very impressive. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.

Understory Autumn

The leaves are all pretty much off the maples and birches, leaving the understory to carry on autumn alone. This is a mass of Barberry…Japanese Barberry, and unfortunately invasive and well established along the trails at Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve at Laudholm Farms. Or maybe not so unfortunately, as it turns out. Tom’s of Maine is currently studying the plant to see if they can make an old herbal recipe for throat care from it, as our ancestors did from the once native Common Barberry. We still have isolated clumps of Common Barberry, but after a concerted effort by the CCC to eradicate it as a “wheat rust” host, and the success of the Japanese Barberry invasion, there is not much left…certainly not enough to harvest for a throat spray. It is Barberry root that contains the active ingredient, so maybe Tom’s will solve the Barberry problem at Laudholm over the coming years. They have already funded the removal of thousands of plants and their replacement with Mountain Laurel and Red Cedar (depending on how wet the soil is). Maybe in 10 years this autumn understory color will be no more. We can hope. And untold thousands of throats will thank us (or Tom’s at any rate). iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.


The sun was already behind this bank of oncoming clouds by the time I was on my way back to the car on my last hike at Laudholm Farms. I have never known exactly if those farm buildings just down the hill from the big yellow house and barns that is now home of the Wells National Estuarine Research Reserve were part of the original Laudholm Farms, or just a neighbor. When looking at the photo this morning the word that came to mind was “bucolic”…so of course I had to look bucolic up to make sure I was using it right…and because that is just me. (I used to have difficulty looking up the spelling of words in a dictionary, which, as a hopeless speller, I spent a lot of time doing before spell-check was a thing, because I would get literally lost in the words. I would get caught on a definition (often not the definition I was looking for) and have to trace back all its associations and roots…and that of course would lead me to the discovery of new words, which I would have to explore, etc. I could loose a half hour between “thistle” and its spelling. Any day.) So bucolic. “Ox keeper” or “ox herd”…by extension “shepherds” and “herdsmen” of all sorts. And by further association, the countryside in an idealized fashion. The way we would see it in a painting or in this photo. The beauty, the quaintness, the charm, without the awkward barnyard smells and the stinging wind in our face and the chapped lips…if you know what I mean. The sanitized version of country life. So yes, the farm seen from the hill under the racing clouds over the cleared fields and against the backdrop of the forest with its fall colors is bucolic. iPhone SE with the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos.

Alwive Pond

I posted a few shots of the Red Squirrel I encountered on the way out of Alwive Pond Preserve, but I did not post any photos of the pond itself. 🙂 iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Apple Camera app with Smart HDR engaged. Processed in Apple Photos. Alwive Pond is part of the the Alwive Pond Preserve, maintained by the Kennebunk Land Trust, in Kennebunk, Maine, USA. (There seems to be some dispute as to how to spell “Alewife”. Kennebunk Land Trust, the owner of the property, spells it Alewive, which is also the name of a road in the area. The State of Maine spells it Alewife and that is how it is on Apple and Google Maps…except that the Department of Inland Fisheries spells it Alewive when referring to the fish. ?? Apparently I am the only one who spells it Alwive.  It is, by the way, when referring to a human, a female brewer, or the wife of a brewer, as in ale wife…when referring to fish, it is a species of herring that runs up rivers and books in the spring, and is harvested with standing cone shaped nets…we see them in the spring here in Southern Maine on some of our rivers. )

Cheating on Red

Red-Squirrel, Alwive Pond Preserve, Kennebunk, Maine, USA — So this is totally cheating. This is the same Red Squirrel I posted twice already (different pose in a different section of the tree, but still from the same encounter). The problem was that the background was totally washed out…I mean so white that I could not recover any detail in it. Still, I like the pose so I thought, lets have a little fun with it. I took it into Pixomatic for some MagicCut work, refined the results, and pasted in another forest photo, taken with the iPhone at Laudholm Farms. Adjusted the brightness and contrast to make it fit better. Took the result back into Polarr and worked on it some more. Finished it off in Apple Photos. It is not perfect, but I put as much time into it as I was willing to give this morning, and it makes for an interesting image (and an interesting exercise). I think 🙂 Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed as above. Just for fun.

getting surreal at Laudholm Farms

As I have said a few times before, it is being a very strange fall here in southern Maine. Still no frost in the third week of October, and the trees are struggling with the change…exposed trees, alone in the field, or on the edge of the forest are turning late and we are not getting the reds of a normal year…and inside the forest many leaves are just turning brown and falling. Still you find scenes like this one…taken into the sun as patches of sun and shadow raced across the field, spotlighting the colors. The sky was so intense I had to tone it down to keep the image from looking too surreal. iPhone SE with Sirui 18mm ultra-wide lens. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.

Looking into Autumn

Looking into Autumn, and into the sun, down another long alley of marsh, this time just over the hill from the Kennebunk town line on Rt. 9. I really like the perspective of the Sirui 18mm ultra-wide for this kind of of shot, especially since it is wide both ways…vertically as well as horizontally. It gives the scene a very natural look. At least to my eye. The high contrast light picks out every detail, and the Apple Camera app’s Smart HDR renders the range of light effectively, producing another memorable image of fall. Or that is what I think. Processed in Apple Photos.

Flag of fall…

Just above eye-level in forest along the stream above Day Brook Pond on the Kennebunk Plains, where the trees are slowly turning in our frostless fall, this small shoot on the trunk of a large maple, caught by the sun behind it, appears as the flag of the fall that is still coming…the banner of autumn. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Apple Photos. ISO 160 @ f4 @ 1/500th.