Category: "Wildflower Photography"
Here are few more wildflower photos from April, 2014. Click on the images for larger files.
Dutchman’s Britches has emerged as the spring progresses:
Hepatica seems to have come and gone very quickly - one last straggler:
Marsh Marigold is out in the wetlands:
Lastly - a stack focused composite of leaves emerging in early spring - from early in April:
All images taken with Pentax K-3 DSLR and A* 200mm macro lens.
The winter that wasn’t has transformed to the exceptionally early spring. Crocuses in my yard are out in force - I had hoped to get an “Ah Spring” shot of a honey bee in the flowers, but so far I have not seen any honey bees this spring. So instead I went down to Cass County, Michigan to see if the hepatica had emerged yet.
It’s very early, but to my surprise there were a few hepatica out. Harbinger of spring was also out in force while skunk cabbage shoots and flowers (which smell like rotten flesh) were just starting to poke out of the ground.
A few photos - first off, Harbinger of Spring (click for a larger image):
And then some blue hepatica and white hepatica:
I don’t expect that I’ll have much opportunity to photograph wildflowers this spring, so I thought I’d post a some older shots form a few years ago. I recently upgraded my medium format scanner from an Epson v500 flatbed to a dedicated Nikon 8000 ED, and have been rescanning some medium format images. Here are three shots of a spring woods with trillium in bloom. I don’t remember when I took these shots (I guess 2006 or 2007) but they were scanned this year and re-worked.
Yesterday I visited the Dowagiac Woods for the first time this year. The wildflowers are in full bloom – late in their progression even. The False Rue Anemone, Wood Anemone, Spring Beauty, Bellwort, and Trillium are out in force. Hepatica has come and gone.
Photographing spring wildflowers has been a project for the last few years. I’m letting it go this year – too many other commitments and a desire to do something different. But two weeks ago I did pause on a river bank in the Allegan Forest, and snap these two shots of Hepatica, poking out of the sandy soil.
And that’s it for 2010.
I still have tons of wildflower shots that haven’t made it onto this blog. Here’s another shot of wild columbine, from May 2009.
Continuing on with the wildflower round up - Jack in the Pulpit. I don’t run into these flowers as often as I used to, and it seems to be even rarer to find one in good shape for photographing. This one is from May 1, 2009.
The 2009 spring wildflower season is all but over. But every year I learn something new that helps me with future shoots. This year’s revelation is a simple one – watch for the pollinators. In those early days in spring when you’re not sure if the wildflowers will be out or not, check to see what bees, flies, and other pollinators are flying around. If they are out, the flowers are out. Of course.
Here’s a native bee in a trillium flower:
The spring wildflower season has passed, but I have quite a few images here that are waiting to be posted. So… It’s time for a Wildflower Roundup. Ummm - not the herbicide, but rather some wildflowers shots, with little commentary, from the last few months.
This was taken in mid may - a fine time for May Apple. It’s easy to miss the lavish flowers that these plants bear, since they are hidden under the large umbrella like leaf.
Here are a couple of shots, taken in the Allegan Forest.
Hiking around the Allegan Forest earlier this week, I trudged down the remnants of a small two track that was cut into the side of hill along the Kalamazoo River. I guess people used to drive down there to launch small boats, but the DNR did a good job of dumping tree stumps at the start of the road, and it’s been unused for years.
Now the hillside is full of wildflowers. Earlier in the season I stopped by this spot to photograph some hepatica. This week the hill is covered with May Apple, the last few blooms of Spring Beauty, Canada Violet, and the green and waxy leaves of Hepatica.
Here and there were some wild columbine plants – pretty large and full of blooms. A splash of sunlight caught the front boom on this pair of flowers in just a little more light than the one behind it. It’s wonderful when things work out.
Forty Two. I just took a look at the “pending uploads” directory on my computer, and found 42 images prepped and ready for upload to this blog. There are lots of hepatica and other spring flowers, a few shots taken on the road last fall, one or two curiosities.
I’m beginning to see a flaw in my plan for this blog. As things start to pick up, the supply of photos will continue to grow. Heck, if I just post four images a week, I’ll still be busy through July. I could stop photographing things altogether, and just sail along with the supply on hand. I’d continue on like a freight train with the brake lever pulled, propelled only by momentum and inertia, the planned destination now irrelevant.
Well, maybe the answer is more quicker shorter posts that kick out images faster. So in that spirit – a shot of Bellwort taken the week before last. This drooping spring flower is easy to miss, and like the nodding trillium requires a really low angle approach to be photographed.
As May progresses, I lose interest in the woodland wildflowers and find myself drawn to the oak savanna. I don’t know why.
This dry and barren place comes to life more slowly than the fertile lowland forests. Maybe it is the sight of the first spring dragonflies on the wing. Maybe it is the fading redbud and the fresh dogwood. Maybe it is the weird creature – coyote? fox? dog? - that charges across my path as I wander into the woods…
But the Allegan forest still calls. Some days I just drive around in my car, listening to the radio, bumping along two tracks till they end with barriers made out of tree stumps, torn out of the ground, roots and all.
The lupine is blooming now. It started last week, it’s probably peaking now, and in a few weeks will pass.
I trudged around the woods today, toting the trusty Pentax LX packed will Rollei IR 400 film, hoping to get the IR effect in a few shots. The weather did not cooperate as a dense bank of clouds rolled in shortly after I started shooting. No matter – I shot the film and then turned my attention to the lupine.
I’ve shot this wildflower before, and have found the leaves and foliage to be as interesting as the flowers. But I never studied the immature flowers – the nascent buds building up strength, waiting to open. There’s always something thing new, waiting to be seen.
The Rollie film is hanging in my shower as I type - drying. Maybe something for a future post…
Spring ephemerals carve out their environmental niche in the early part of the season. They flourish in the early days of spring, when sunlight streams through the leafless trees and hits the ground with full force. As trees leaf out and sunlight is cut off from the forest floor the wildflowers retreat for another year.
As the season progresses, the flowers change. I visited some favorite places last Friday, and found the forest floor to be full with trillium, nodding trillium, wild ginseng, and bellwort. Wild Geranium and Jack in the Pulpit are just starting to appear. Hepatica and bloodroot are long gone. Marsh marigold and anemones are fading. Another year, and another turn…
Trillium grandiflorum is one of the last spring flowers to really carpet the forest floor. Large patches of these flowers fill the moist soil of the spring forest. Their large, white, showy flowers really catch they eye.
Nodding trillium is less common. It has smaller flowers that droop down below the plant’s three part leaves. You can wander right by it and not notice, and to photograph it you have to get really low to the ground.
This spring has been a wet one, and the trials I normally travel through the woods were muddy and washed out. Photographing nodding trillium, which requires getting very low to the ground, is a real exercise in “wet belly photography.” I leave the woods with several memory cards full of photos – and a jacket and jeans full of mud.
Spring is great!