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.
I took a short ride on my trike yesterday, and an even shorter walk out into the forest along the way to see what I could see and to play with the Sirui lens set on my iPhone SE 2020. I have the Moment thin case, so mounting the lenses is just a twist. I got out the 10x Macro lens for its first real world test. I was surprised at the depth of field…much greater than I expected, but still shallow enough to isolate a subject against its background. You need to be able to get really close to your subject. This not a “telephoto macro.” The main trick is to keep out of your own, and the phone’s shadow. Overall I am impressed. This lens is going to be a lot of fun, if I can remember to use it. 🙂 A bit of moss with a pine cone embedded from beside the trail made a vivid macro still life. iPhone SE 2020 with Sirui 10x macro on the Moment thin case. Stock Camera App on Auto. Processed in Apple Photos.
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.
The Sumac plumes are bright red this week. I found this one along Water Street here in Kennebunk just beyond the Roger’s Pond turnoff. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm equivalent. Macro at the long end of the zoom in program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
Something a bit different today. Along the back side of the loop at the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge Visitor Center, there was a land slippage on the high bank over Branch Brook last spring that took an overlook and part of the trail with it. One of the tall spruces that was on the edge of the bank is now down near the river, leaning against the back and out over the trail. It did not survive the fall, and is now slowly turning brown. They will get to it with a chainsaw one of these days soon, but for now it is like a rich bronze casting over the trail, especially in afternoon light. I moved in close and tried several different compositions out at the long end of the zoom, in an attempt to capture the effect. Sony Rx10iv at about 440mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications (which I also use for macro). Processed in Polarr and Apple Photos.
A friend drove up from Concord to visit for the day yesterday and I took him to Saco Heath…the southern-most peat bog of any size in Maine…protected and maintained by the Nature Conservancy. Over the past 3 years they have completely renewed the boardwalk across the bog, and upgraded the trail, so it is a pleasure to visit. The Sheep-laurel is in bloom, but there (as in Southern Maine in general) it is not looking good this year. The blossoms are small and bit weathered looking. However the Pitcher Plant was also in bloom and there were lots of them, way more than I have seen in past years (at least near enough to the boardwalk for photography) and they were looking very healthy indeed. This is one of the larger specimens…about 3 1/2 inches across. Sony Rx10iv at 600mm optical with some Clear Image Zoom to fill the frame. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. Processed in Polarr.
The damsel and dragonflies are finally out in some numbers at our local hotspots, at least on days when it does not rain all day. Yesterday was one of our warmest days so far in the high 70’s (today will reach the 80s) and I found several species active around the drainage ponds at Southern Maine Medical Center. This pair of Green Darners landed right in front of me, on the outer surface of the wall of cattail reeds that now surrounds the pond (and makes dragonflying there a challenge). Sometimes you get blessed though. Sony RX10iv at 600mm equivalent. Program mode with my custom birds and wildlife modifications. 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.