Yesterday was a pretty good day. I gambled on the weather, and fortune smiled on my wager. Plus, I got in a first round of wildflower photography. Woodland wildflowers are one of my favorite subjects. The Botanicals section of the main website holds a sampling of these beautiful little flowers. These plants eek out their existence in a unique environmental niche. Their habitate is the forest floor, and emerge for a few short weeks in early spring when the still leafless trees allow the sun’s rays to fall directly onto the forest floor. They burst forth out of the leafy mulch that covers the ground – usually starting to emerge just as the last vestiges of winter snow are melting. Spring beauty, Hepatica, Bloodroot, and Trout Lilies (a.k.a. Adder’s tongue) are the first to emerge. Later comes the Trillium Wild Ginseng, Marsh Marigold, and Wild Geranium. Along with the wildflowers come the first stirrings of insect life – native bees and wasps, midges, and spiders. The shot above shows these flowers in their native setting – pushed up from the dry leaves that cover the forest floor, nestled between the roots of a large tree. Each wave of wildflowers quickly gives way to the next. Depending on the weather, they can come and go in a matter of weeks or days. Last year I missed the first round of wildflowers. This year I’ve been more vigilant, and have been visiting favorite spots at least weekly, looking for the first blooms. Yesterday I wandered into a favorite nature preserve. Wild garlic was up, but far from its full reign. After looking around for a while I saw only a few traces of wildflowers, and concluded that they were not yet out. So instead of wildflowers, I packed up the medium format 6x7 camera and started shooting landscape shots in B&W. The leafless early spring setting didn’t present a lot of obvious shots. So far I’ve only developed one of the 4 rolls shot, but here is a preliminary out take from the day’s landscape effort. After a few hours, in early afternoon, the temperature reached a tipping point, and I suddenly noticed an abundance of hepatica all around me. As the temperatures rose, more flowers burst onto the scene, and I shifted over to the *ist-D digital camera and started working on the Hepatica. As always, the spring breezes kept the flowers hopping and bouncing, making getting a clean shot a constant challenge. But now and then these little dime sized flowers would hold still enough to allow their portraits to be taken. For the final round of shots, I was treated to a crab spider, resting on a Hepatica bloom – waiting, no doubt, for an unwary bee.
Today the temperatures dropped precipitously, and a cold rain lashed down in the morning, followed by an even colder misty drizzle. I developed a couple more rolls of the B&W film from yesterday, and plan to work with it in the next few days.
Technical details for photos shown: Color photos taken with Pentax *ist-D, SMC A* 200mm macro. B&W photos taken with Pentax 6x7, 67 SMC 55mm f4, and Efke 100, developed in Rodinal 1:50.
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