Tag Archives: wildflowers

“Squirrel Corn – Dicentra canadensis”

“Always something new and interesting. Nature offers so many exciting possibilities” – Ed Lehming

It’s time for the next wave of spring blossoms to make an appearance. I’ve been watching the little clump of leaves for the past few days, waiting for the blooms and was surprised to see blossoms already. It seems a few days of warmer weather makes a difference.

Squirrel Corn is an interesting plant, related to Dutchman’s Breeches, but with a slightly different shape to the flower. Even the blue-green leaves look similar and I was not sure which species this was till it bloomed. Sadly, they won’t last long as the temperatures warm and they will fade quickly.

Much like my photos of the white trilliums, getting good images without the white completely blown-out is a challenge, especially on bright days. I had to push my ISO setting down quite a bit and move my shutter speed up to expose it correctly as this plant was in full sunlight.

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

1/1250 sec, f/10.0, ISO 160

“Early Spring Companions”

“Early Spring Companions”

“Nature’s gatherings; nothing by chance; each with purpose” – Ed Lehming

As I spend more time on the trails, more and more patterns become noticeable to me, what once seemed random, begins to fit into patterns. Such is the case with early spring blossoms, one follows the next in a steady, often cautious progression.

It begins with the first few leaves unfurling from the forest litter of leaves, each plant slowly reaching out for the energy of the sun, gradually warming. Then the first few flowers open, bringing a splash of colour to the dull grays and browns of the forest floor.

Amonth the first of these are Spring Beauties, their tiny size and low profile protects them from spring frosts. They may be small and delicate but the do provide among the first nutrients to flying insect like bees and wasps. Notice the bee happily feeding on one in the lower right corner? I didn’t see it as I composed the photo, but it was a pleasant surprise when I reviewed it later in the day.

Next are the Trout Lilies. They first show as a bright green carpet of green and brown mottled leaves which resemble trout skin, thus the name. They also stay low to the ground for some time before putting up blossoms, but once they do, they fill the forest with wonderful splashes of bright yellow, complimented by the pinks and purples of the Spring Beauties, their early spring companions.

I’m hoping to get back out in the next day or two to see the trilliums, as I have now exhausted all my recent photos.

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

1/500 sec, f/11.0, ISO 200

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

“Painted by the Wind”

“Painted by the Wind”

“Cool spring breezes blew past me and set the wildflowers dancing, like purple paint brushes on a canvas of green leaves.”
– Ed Lehming 

Some things look so much more interesting if you look at them differently. We are so used to seeing things as stationary, even our eyes compensate for movement. So when that compensation is removed by the eye of the camera a new view appears.

I wanted to capture the wind patterns in the patch of Dame’s Rockets, so I left my shutter open of a quarter of a second to allow the movement to translate back to the image and I ended up with this somewhat impressionistic version. My biggest challenge over a few attempts was to get the exposure right in the bright sunshine.

It appears to me like the flowers and leaves are individual brush strokes of colour and the wind is the artist. Something worth pursuing a bit more deliberately in future images?

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90m
1/4 sec, f/32.0, ISO 100

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

“Early Meadow Rue”

“Early Meadow Rue” - Thalictrum dioicum

“The soft spring breezes played with the tiny flowers of the plant causing then to dance and twinkle in the light.”
– Ed Lehming

As I’ve said a few times in the past, one of the great things about being a photographer is having an eye for the fine details. I’ve found myself becoming an astute observer, noticing things that I would have passed by a few years ago.

These smallish plants grow along the trails and are not particularly eye catching, until the blossoms appear in early spring. In this case, a male plant with dangling yellow flowers. I did not notice any female plants, which have bluish-purple flowers, in the area, but my timing may have been off by only a day. It’s interesting that there are two distinct plants, male and female. The species name: dioicum comes from the Greek word that means ‘two households”.

So, I have discovered another plant to research and to be on the lookout for next year, leading me to be able to make even better photos of them when I know when to expect them.

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

1/250 sec, f/9.0, ISO 400

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

Starflower (Lysimachia borealis)

Starflower (Lysimachia borealis)

“Delicate white flowers hover above the deep green leaves as the next wave of spring flowers emerges, replacing trilliums and bloodroot. The canopy overhead thickens, and filters the light that makes it to the forest floor. Starflowers now add drops of brilliant white into the deepening gloom of the undergrowth.”
– Ed Lehming

As the trilliums mature and fade to soft pinks and magenta, the forest floor is once more transformed. The light is now filtered by maturing leaves. I’ve been noticing the starflowers along the trails for a few weeks now. They are quite unique with their seven pointed leaves.

They seemed to sit there, poised to bloom but needing a bit more warmth to start the cycle. Yesterday, they all seemed to bloom at once, the forest filled with these lovely small white flowers.

Here I was able to capture a group of three, growing on a moss covered stump and touched by a narrow shaft of sunlight. It was a good day to be in the forest, the air was filled with a warm and gentle breeze and the mosquitoes and blackflies were pretty much absent, a blessing at this time of year, especially when getting down low to make photos of the smaller wildflowers.

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

“Large Flowered Bellwort”

“Large Flowered Bellwort”

“Along forest paths, bright wildflowers dance in the gentle breeze, and an ever changing dance of colours, fragrances, and textures.”
– Ed Lehming

This spring has been a joy for me, as I really enjoy the multitude of spring ephemerals. Those first few green leaves and bright flowers are such a welcoming sight after months of snow and dull days.

What I have found most enjoyable is the experience of discovering new plants every year and expanding my knowledge of those plants. I’m constantly surprised when a species that I had not noticed before seems to spring up when least expected.

This year, that plant was the Large Flowered Bellwort, a plant that I have only experienced in the boreal forests near Bancroft, Ontario and even then, only as single isolated plants. Last week I came across several large clusters of them, right night to the hiking trail and I wondered why I not not noticed them in the past. Now, they seemed to be everywhere, not as profuse as the trilliums but in larger quantities than I had ever experienced before.

Despite having hiked this trail for many years, it still offers me surprises,every time I return.

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

“Spring Delights”

“Spring Delights”

“Life and colour emerged from the ground with such abundance, you could fairly hear the leaves rustling with activity.”
– Ed Lehming

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, I love this time of year, when wildflowers erupt from the carpet of dull brown leaves. Within a few days, the dull and seemingly lifeless forest floor is festooned with colour.

Among the first, in my area, are the delicate Sharp Lobed Hepatica. Some locals call it “Mayflower”, which is incorrect botanically but so appropriate given its abundance in May.

As I made this image, I sat on a hillside absolutely covered with them. I chose this composition because I liked how they grew around the dead branch and it showed the old and new leaves nicely. This particular cluster is pure white, though I saw many variances of light pinks, purples, and blues as well.

It was a wonderful and relaxing experience, sitting on the warm forest floor, surrounded by this bounty of wildflowers which also included Trout Lily, Trilliums (not yet blooming), Spring Beauties, Wild Leeks, Wild Ginger, and Blue Cohosh. There will be several more photos and stories to follow this one.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/640 sec, f/10.0, ISO 250

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

“Up Close with Blue Cohosh”

“Up Close with Blue Cohosh”

“Barely visible on first glance, it’s alien form surprises the first time viewer”
– Ed Lehming

It is so nice to finally make images with no snow. The past few weeks have been cool, wet, and miserable, with more rain than I care for. But, the rain melted the snow and ice away and provided lots of moisture to promote plant growth.

Over the past few days, the sun has been out and the ground has warmed up to the point where wildflowers are everywhere. The plants are emerging so quickly that you can almost hear the leaves rustling with the rapid growth.

Among the first to emerge for the duff and loam is Blue Cohosh, which is actually purple. As I began understanding the local wildflowers a few years ago, I was always intrigued by this strangely wonderful plan. Then, I made my first image of the flower, completely by accident, as I did not know they flowered. Since then, I have made many images of the flowers, each one revealing more detail than the last.

This close up shows all the wonderful detail of the almost alien looking flower against the soft tan background of the leaf covered forest.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mm
1/250 sec, f/10.0, ISO 250

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

“Marble Lake Columbine”

“Marble Lake Columbine”

“Even the tiniest of flowers can have the toughest roots.” 
― Shannon Mullen

Wildflowers constantly amaze me, in their endless forms and the environments they thrive it.

The columbine above, is a native to Ontario and this particular plant was growing from a thin crack in the bedrock. I suppose there was just enough organic mater accumulated in that crack to create the rich soil the columbine prefers and a seed from nearby pants happened to land in just the right place. It’s surprising that such a seemingly delicate plant can thrive in the northern wilderness, in a region where there was still frost in the forest when I made this image.

My biggest challenge in creating this image, as with most macro images, is trying to get a shot between the breezes that kept moving the flower back and forth. Even slight movement makes the shot blurry.

Nikon D800
Tamron SP AF 90mm f/2.8 Di Macro 1:1 (272ENII)@90mmm
1/40sec, f/7.1, ISO 400 

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

“Hepatica and Beetle”

“Hepatica and Beetle”

“Ugly or beautiful, it is the little creatures that make the world go round. We should celebrate and appreciated them in all their wonderful diversity.” 
― Dave Goulson

Inevitably, if you make enough images of flowers outdoors, nature dictates that a bug will be in one of those images. That was the case last weekend, as I was photographing the many beautiful hepaticas that had just started blooming. Just as I was about to hit the shutter release, this bug, a blister beetle, I believe, landed on the flower.

Rather that wave it off or wait for it to leave, I decided to incorporate it into my shot. I think it adds a natural element and makes the image more ‘real’ and less static.

As I looked around, after the shot, I noticed that many of the hepaticas had some form of insect on them. Some, like the first honey-bee I saw, are pollinators of these early bloomers, which provide an  critical source of early nutrition for the bees, while others are simply looking for a meal, which I suspect is the beetle’s role here. Despite that, if you look very carefully, there is pollen stuck to this beetle too, so the plant wins after all. Everything has its role to play in nature’s cycles.

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

1/160 sec, f/16.0, ISO 100

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