Pinecones on willows? I keep seeing these pin cone-like structures on the ends of sandbank willow branches along Duffins creek and always wondered what they were. They actually are not a natural part of the willow, but rather, the homes of Pinecone Willow Gall-midges (Rhabdophaga strobiloides). These midges secrete a chemical that forces the willow to create these pinecone-like pods to provide the midges food and shelter. The adult midge lays its eggs in the terminal bud of the plant in the early spring and the willow begins to form the pods. The larval infection does not seem to have any adverse effects on the willow. In fact, some of the ‘infected’ branches look larger than the non-infected ones. Bio-chemistry in the insect world!
I did notice that some of the pods have burst open into what looks like a dried flower. Nature is truly amazing. I’ll have to pay closer attention to these next time I’m out.
Nikon D300 Nikor 70-300 mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 140 mm 1/160 sec @ f/7.1, ISO 250
With the weather turning warmer in Ontario, I thought today would be a nice day to take a walk along Duffins Creek, near Whitevale, Ontario. It’s spring, the snow is gone, and the Coltsfoot is blooming, so it’s also time for the annual rainbow trout run up Duffins Creek to the Whitevale Dam. The dam was built several years ago to prevent the rainbow trout, which are an introduced species, from eating the native brown trout fry. The rainbow spawn up Duffins Creek but can’t get beyond the dam. In the right conditions, like today, they jump up the skirt of the dam trying to climb it. But, it’s much too high.
This photo is one of those times where everything just comes together, with lots of patience. Timing the jump of the trout into the shadows, to light it up like this, and to get the shape of the fish in the air just right took many attempts and I have to say that I am very pleased with this ‘mid-flight’ image.
Nikon D300 Nikor 70-300mm f/4.5-5.6 @ 70 mm 1/400 sec @ f/10.1, ISO 250
Part two of my November 2014 hike. As I said in yesterday’s post, I was actually hiking to a small grove of trees that I had photographed successfully in the past. The light conditions where not good in that location but it was spectacular on my hike in and out of the forest.
The photo above is testament to that. The late afternoon sun was close to setting but bright enough to make everything it touched glow with light. Doing vertical pan photo abstractions has become a favourite technique for me and the results can be quite astounding and unpredictable.
This grove of planted pines was found along one of the many paths leading through the Walkers Woods Conservation Area north of Pickering, Ontario. There was still snow on the ground from the previous day’s snowfall as well as a smattering of bright orange oak leaves. It seemed the elements all came together in this photo. When I got home and previewed my photos it looked like the whole hillside was on fire, thus the title of this piece. Many people have commented that it looks like a painting and I would agree. I am very pleased at the results and I hope you enjoy it as much as I do.