Spring has been building momentum as the days get longer and warmer, and with it the succession of spring ephemeral wildflowers continues to unfold. Visiting the woods last Friday revealed several newly emerging species. Spring Beauty and False Rue Anemone are blooming in abundance, literally carpeting the ground in some places. The Trout Lily has commenced blooming and is present in growing numbers, Marsh Marigolds are abundant and even a few Trillium have begun to flower. Meanwhile the hepatica are growing scarce and the Bloodroot flowers are becoming less common.
Here's a photo of Spring Beauty - Claytonia virginica (click on the image for a larger file):
Spring Beauty - Claytonia virginica
Hepatica is fading. A few weeks ago it and Harbinger of Spring were the only flowers in the woods. Now, the once abundant Hepatica is almost gone. Here is a white Hepatica bloom:
Trout Lily - Erythronium americanu - is now emerging and will probably peak in the next few days (at least at this particular location.)
Trout Lily- Erythronium americanu
Trout Lilies can be challenging to photograph - the flowers are beautiful but nod down from a fairly short stem, just a few inches above the ground. To get a clean background behind the flower the camera has be placed very low to the ground - actually aimed slightly upwards to put some distance between the flower and the background (which is inevitably a cluttered forest floor.) I've been keeping tabs on a small hillside that hosts a few Trout Lilies and would also allow the camera to be positioned beneath the flower - lower on the hillside - to help get the right angle. This year I arrived when one of the few Trout Lilies on the hill was blooming.
The lily was in bright and contrasty full sunlight, only slightly shadowed by the bare tree branches overhead. I used a diffuser, propped up by a handy stick to soften the light. Here's a cell phone snap of the setup used to make the above image:
I drew a red circle around the Trout Lily since it does not stand out in that photo. The camera is a Pentax K-3 with A* 200mm lf4 macro lens. The 200mm telephoto provides ample working room, especially for a larger subject like the Trout Lily.
False Rue Anemone - Enemion biternatum - is another newly emerging wildflower. Driving to the woods I passed some areas where this was literally carpeting the ground. A close up of a pair of blooms:
False Rue Anemone - Enemion biternatum
Here again the full-on sun necessitated using a diffuser.
Another False Rue Anemone:
False Rue Anemone - Enemion biternatum
Marsh Marigolds - Caltha palustris - have also emerged:
March Marigold - Caltha palustris
Lastly - hiking into the woods I ran into a small area where the Trillium -Trillium Grandiflorum - had started to bloom. It seems early - I think of the Trillium as starting to bloom towards the end of the spring wildflowers season. It seems to be arriving a little early - but then it was on a slight south facing hillside, and we have had a few warm and sunny days - so maybe it is just getting an early start.
Here again, the diffuser was used to try to tame the direct sunlight - especially important with a bright white flower. In this case there was a small shrub, still leafless, that served as handy support for the diffuser. Here's another cell phone snapshot of the setup used for the photo above:
More spring wildflower photos will be coming in the days ahead.
A few more spring ephemeral wilflowers taken in Cass County, Michigan, earlier this week... First up - Dutchman's Britches - Dicentra cucullaria (click on the images for larger files):
Dutchman's Britches - Dicentra cucullaria
Another Bloodroot flower- Sanguinaria canadensis:
Bloodroot -Sanguinaria canadensis
Lastly - Hepatica remains abundant in the forest, though I expect they will fade away soon:
On this trip I noticed that the Harbinger of SPring is all but gone - just a few withering flowers remain. The spring beauty is starting to emerge and also the wood sorrell and false rue anenome. The season moves along very quickly - I hope he be back in the woods to catch the next wave of ephemeral whileflowers!