Tag Archives: wildflower

“For the Love of Rockets”

“For about a week in June, my world is filled with wonderful seas of purple.” – Ed Lehming

Dames Rocket (Hesperis matronalis) has always been a late spring favourite of mine, even before I knew what it was called. I fondly recall drives into the country with my parents and seeing fields of purple, pink, and white along the roadside.

“Rockets” form dense patches in fields and meadows for about a week in early June. They seem to appear out of nowhere and then they are gone. It may be that fleeting nature that makes them so appealing, especially at a time where there are not a lot of wildflowers blooming yet. It’s even nicer when the occasional daisy blends in. They have a beautiful fragrance which is more pronounced in early evening leading it to also be known as night-scented gilliflower.

I like them so much that for a few years I tried to get them established in my garden. That exercise finally worked out, but they cannot be contained and seed out wherever they want. So a nicely placed patch will soon move to a different part of the garden the next season. They are also not particularly attractive plants when not blooming, so I have since removed them and simply enjoy them in the fields where I first found them.

Like so many of the wonderful wildflowers we have, it was imported from Europe and Asia in the 17th century as a decorative plant and then escaped. In many locations it’s considered an ‘invasive species’ and cultivation is discouraged. Despite that moniker, I like like it and would hate to see it dissappear.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm

1/100 sec, f/10.0, ISO 800

“Three Stars on the Forest Floor”

“Three Stars on the Forest Floor”

“Bright puddles of green foliage adorned the otherwise dull forest floor. Above them float delicate white stars, pure and bright; an elixir to the winter weary soul.”
– Ed Lehming

I try to make it a point not to revisit the same subject matter too often, but there is something about star flowers the touches something very deep inside me. As I consider the images I’ve made over the past few days, I suspect that it’s the visual purity of the plant and it’s lovely white blossoms.

They bloom just as the trilliums are beginning to fade, yet before the forest floor begins to really green up. So, they really show up among the winter litter of dried brown leaves, splashes of life on a largely lifeless background. It’s not enough that they are such a wonderful shade of green, it’s those beautiful, perfect blossoms. In this case, three on a single plant, which in my experience is a rarity, thus the photo.

They also only bloom for a day, so when I happen to catch them at the right time it makes me smile. Though not as large and showy as the earlier blooming trilliums, they still captivate me with their fragility and serve as splashes of brightness on a gradually darkening forest.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm

1/60 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
http://www.edlehming.com

 

“Trillium Trio”

“With brightness and purity like the snow which so recently trapped it, the trillium remembers winter while signalling spring”
– Ed Lehming

Though I posted a photo of a newly blossomed trillium a few weeks ago, the trilliums in Eastern Ontario, Bancroft, to be more specific, are a bit delayed. Warm air did not arrive here until recently, and with the warm air, new life and growth.

Though there is still frost in the ground in the deeper recesses of the forest, the plant life is starting to take hold here as well. As I made this image, I was considering the wonderful whiteness of the trillium blossoms and the recent snow. The connection inspired the short quote I made for the image.

I can’t think of another flower that is so brilliantly white. They seem so delicate, yet a blossom trapped by a fallen leaf, will tear the leaf apart to open. So, they may seem delicate but as with much in nature, there is a hidden strength in persistence.

It’s beauty is made more special by its brevity, as soon as it warms up enough, their flowers will fade into the memory of the forest and leave room for other plants, though the leaves remain bright and strong all summer long.

iPhone 7 @ 3.99mm
1/90 sec, f/1.8, ISO 20

“Early Blue Cohosh”

“Early Blue Cohosh”

“Change is the end of something you know and the beginning of something else that you don’t know. Something new that holds opportunities.” 
― Kholoud Yasser

I believe I enjoy spring almost as much as autumn. While autumn is filled with brilliant colours, it is also a sort of ending, as the colours gradually fade and the world prepares for a winter sleep. Spring, on the other hand, is also filled with colours, but the colours grow and spread. Both seasons are times of transition, of change. As the quote says so nicely; the beginning of something else, slightly different every year.

The changes in the forest over the past few days have been startling. Last weekend, some of the trails still had ice on them and snow lingered stubbornly in the deep recesses. Now, with a bit of warmer air and sunshine, the miracle of spring takes hold. Everywhere you look, and you have to look carefully at this point of the year, life emerges once more from the dull litter of winter.

One of the toughest spring plants to spot, due to its dark colouration, is Blue Cohosh. However, like many of these plants, once you discover them, you wonder why you did not notice them before. This lovely spring ephemeral is deep purple, and to the untrained eye, looks like a piece of rag, until the drooping leaves eventually open and spread.

This specimen was not visible a mere day before, and despite being only an inch tall, and still opening, it has already produced blooms. Until last year, I had not even noticed the flowers, since they are so dark and blend in with the rest of the plant. The blossoms are interesting when you see them close up, but they are quite small and easy to overlook.

And so, change in the forest continues, offering more opportunities and new things to discover, and photograph.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm

1/200 sec, f/7.1, ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my website (images are available for purchase)
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“Purple Loosestrife” – Sauble Beach, Ontario

“Purple Loostrife” - Sauble Beach, Ontario

“When one with honeyed words but evil mind
Persuades the mob, great woes befall the state.” 
― Euripides

Continuing on my “purple phase” theme, here’s a beautiful invader. Though a beautiful flowering plant, in Ontario and other areas where it was introduced as a garden flower, this garden escapee soon established itself in meadows and wetlands, crowding out native plants.

It spreads through rapidly spreading rhizomes and seeds. Each plant can produce over one thousand seeds. It also has no naturally occurring predators, so it spreads uncontrolled, though something, likely earwigs or slugs, seems to be feasting on the leaves below the blossoms.

The plant was spreading like wildfire a few years ago, but recent dry and hot summers seemed, coupled with human efforts to eradicate it, seemed to be taking its toll on the population. This year, which has been extremely wet, seems to have enabled it to bounce back and I’ve seen much more of it an areas where it has not previously occurred. SO the battle goes on.

It’s a shame that such a pretty plant needs to be so aggressively invasive. But, that seems to be a common theme. Plants are introduced from overseas because they are beautiful in gardens, but once they escape, without natural controls, they can quickly take over. The dandelion is perhaps the best known example. Imported for its food value centuries ago, it has now spread to every corner of the continent. However, as evidenced in this image, local insects wildlife also adapts and soon begins to eat the introduced species. Nature is quite adaptable, but with limits.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/60 sec, f/10.0, ISO 200

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“Swamp Vervain – Verbena hastata”

“Swamp Vervain - Verbena hastata”

“When you see how fragile and delicate life can be, all else fades into the background.”
– Jenna Morasca

Here’s yet another purple, mid-summer blossom. I recall very well when I first saw one, blooming at the edge of a swampy area near my home. It was the first time I had ever seen this lovely, delicate species and it took me a while to figure out what it was called.

Swamp Vervain is not an overly attractive name for this beauty, but it does grow in wet areas, so it’s appropriate. I prefer the latin name, as hastata means having a triangular or spear-shape, which nicely describes the flowers, as you can see from the photo.

The next day, it seemed they were everywhere. I guess I had just not noticed them before and my new awareness gave me new eyes for it. To get this image, I went back to the places I remember seeing it previously, and it was quite simple to find.

My lesson in this is knowing what to look for as well as where and when to look. This has made it easier and less time consuming to find good subjects for my photography. I’m removing some of the ‘chance’ which has been an element of my photography in the past. It also means I’m going out at the right time of day to optimize my lighting.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/3.5 ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Promise”

“Promise”

“Sometimes people don’t understand the promises they’re making when they make them. But you keep the promise anyway. That’s what love is. Love is keeping the promise anyway.” 
― John Green

There are times when I make and image and do a quick review in the camera display, where the title comes to me and sticks. The title of this image, “Promise” was such a moment. As in the word “promise’ itself, there is a pure, innocent, potential. Something to be fulfilled.

This flower, Thimbleweed – Anemone virginiana, not quite fully opened and still delicate, spoke promise to me. I can imagine it as a fully blossomed flower. It still has obstacles to overcome, as does anything in the outdoors. It may be trampled, insects may devour it, a blight may infect it, or some other force of nature may prevent it from achieving its potential. Yet, for now, it’s a promise, something I look forward to being fulfilled, with full confidence, despite adversity.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/400 sec, f/9.0 ISO 800

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Field Bindweed – Convolvulus arvenis”

“Field Bindweed - Convolvulus arvenis”

“The miracle is that the brilliance of the miraculous can live in the blandness of the mundane. The greater miracle is that we have enough brilliance in our own blandness to see it.”
― Craig D. Lounsbrough

I’m finding even common items fascinating lately, as I get ‘close’ to them. The image above is of a common wildflower, or to gardeners, an invasive and prolific weed. I’ve seen entire lawns infested with this plant, yet along a hiking trail, it’s lovely. When composing this image, I realized that it reminded my one of those hugh Georgia O’Keeffe paintings and I think it would translate nicely from photo to painting, something I may do when the snow flies once more. But, for now, I think I’ll set the brushes aside and take in all that nature has to offer my lens and me.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/500 sec, f/7.1 ISO 400

for more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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“Herb Robert – after the rain”

“Herb Robert, after the rain

Pink and tiny,
you sparkle from the forest floor.
Sweet and delicate,
you lead to summer’s warmth,
from late spring rains and mist.
– Ed Lehming

This delicate pink flower, Herb Robert, is in fact, a native Geranium. While a far cry from the fancy hybridized varieties we see in gardens, this diminutive wildflower is still quite lovely.

I made this image during my recent forest hike, just after the rain had stopped, so  everything has a nice fresh feel to it. The plants are quite low to the ground and since I did not want to lay right down to get a better angle, this one had to do.

My recurring thought during these forest walks is constantly, “Why did I not notice these before?”. I’ve spent most of my life enjoying the outdoors, yet seemed to have missed the finer details, which I am very happy for now. As I’ve mentioned before, I think being more deliberate about my photography has, by  default, made me more observant, which I am ever more grateful for.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/160 sec, f/9.0 ISO 800

High Resolution Image on 500px

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“Clintonia borealis Blossoms”

“Clintonia borealis blossoms”

“I wanted to unfurl my toes for a little while. I wanted silence, isolation and an invitation to exhale life’s complications. I heard nature’s melody and I harmonised with every single note. I needed the trees, their colours, and the sounds of wildlife breathing. I inhaled the essence of the forest and smiled as life coursed through my veins”
― Amelia Dashwood

After several extremely busy work weeks and weekends filled with family events, I finally had a chance to get on the local trails again. It seem like such a long time since I’ve hiked this trail. It also gave me a chance to check on the progress of a large group of orchids that I discovered last year.

I’m pleased to report that the population is growing and should be in bloom in the next few weeks.

In the meantime, I was able to make some nice photos of the current bloomers, including this Clintonia borealis, also know as Blue Bead Lily, since the flowers each become a bright blue berry. They are beautiful, delicate flowers that grow in small clusters in certain spots along the trail.

As you can see from the photo, it had just stopped raining. The trails were near bog-like and mosquitoes rose in clouds from the damp underbrush. Ah, late spring in southern Ontario. If you think mosquitoes are a menace while hiking, you should try doing macro photography. Though I had the sense to spray myself with bug spray, the occasional mosquito still managed to fly into my eye or buzz annoyingly near my ears. I’m really looking forward to some warmer days, which will bring on the dragonflies and knock their population down a bit.

Till then, more damp days are in the forecast, ensuring the forest will be abuzz for some time.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/25 sec, f/11.0 ISO 100

or more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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