Spring is hiding this April – lurking in the melting mounds of snow that shrink at the edges of parking ramps, under the brown grasses and leafless trees, in the cold rain that falls more often than not. Now wildflowers are blooming – yet. Few insects take to the air. A few green buds hint at what is coming.
Late last week, though, the sun shone brightly and temperatures rose enough to melt most of the remaining snow – except in the shaded places. I went to the Allegan Forest to see if I could coax out some glimmer of the hidden season with an infrared photography session. What better way to search for something hidden, than to look with invisible light? Or so goes my logic, or whatever.
At least the melting snow let me get at areas that have been difficult to reach these last few months. First off was a visit to the vernal pond – more like a vernal marsh – off 48th street. Beginning in a few weeks and then for the rest of the summer this place will be full of all sorts of dragonflies. This is the time of year when the marsh is the most flooded – this shot below shows (in graphic infrared hues) the flooded out and trampled down grasses that will rise up 4 or 5 feet out of the marsh by late spring. By July or August I’ll be walking through the area shown here – the marsh will shrink down to just a small wet area (the heart of the marsh) by the end of the summer.
But surely dragonfly larva slink through the icy waters, even now, dreaming of the days when they will take to the air…qq I also visited some areas north of the river – along the bluffs rising above the flooded flood plains below. In particular I explored a steep embankment off 125th street – which is a rutted two track at that point. The steep slope faces due south, and the first hepatica leaves, and even a few flower buds, were poking out of the dried leaves. The micro climate at this place makes it green up earlier than anywhere else that I visit, so in a week – maybe two – the hepatica should be abundant elsewhere.qq Here’s another infrared shot from the same area – this one of a pine tree, somewhat close up, though not a close-up. Not much to say, but I like it.
All of these photos were taken with the Pentax *ist-D and an RM90 IR filter.
I also experimented with Rollie IR400 during this trip, shooting alternatively with an R72 IR filter, and a standard #25 red filter. The first time out with this film was not so successful – none of the shots with the R72 filter came out well, and the shots with the standard red fitler show little IR effect (though as a standard B&W film it looked fine.) The shots with the R72 filter were metered at ISO 25, and were bracketed one stop plus and minus. In hindsight, I realize that I should have metered at ISO 12 or even 6 – so I’ll be back to try again. I also underdeveloped the film – which did not help things.
Well – let’s hope I got all the mistakes out of the way on this first try. With 4 more rolls in the fridge, I’m eager to give this film another try. In the meantime, here are some other digital infraed images from this spring: