Tag Archives: wildflower

“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

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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

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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

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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

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“Dutchman’s Breeches”

“Dutchman’s Breeches”

“A little piece of everywhere I go becomes a big part of everything I do.”
― Richie Norton

Spring, has to be my favorite time of year. Not just because of the warming weather, but because every day has new discoveries, sometimes many. Having spent most of my life outdoors, I’m finding myself continually amazed at just how much of my world I casually ignored.

Becoming a deliberate photographer has transformed my world and how I see it. As the quote above puts it so succinctly, these little pieces of my experience have transformed me, they have become a part of who I am. Through my photography, I’m seeing the world in news ways, appreciating life in new ways, and loving it.

I think I also need to clarify a point above. By referring to myself as a ‘deliberate’ photographer, I mean I set out with a purpose. So, rather than just snapshots of events or casual observations of my day, I set out to really ‘see’ the world around me. I take the time to study a scene and compose my images to fully express what I have seen, with the hopes that this is conveyed to my audience. At minimum, it allows me time with the scene, allowing me to fully appreciate it.

In the case of the Dutchman’s Breeches above, I’ve seen photos of the plant in books, knew it grew around here, and looked for it, with no success. I made images of a close relative to it, Squirrel Corn, last year and did not notice that the plant in this photo was only a few meters away, as well as the bloodroot I shared earlier. Now I’m spending time observing associated plants and their related growing patterns. I can honestly say that I am learning something new every day and truly enjoying the journey.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/100 sec, f/18.0 ISO 100

For more images like this, please visit my Facebook page:
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or my website (some images available for purchase)
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