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Woodland Beauties. April 10, 2012

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature, macro photos.
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In the chill, dappled light of our New England woodlands, the pageant of Spring begins with tiny bits of color amongst last Autumn’s composting leaves.

Walk slowly through the striped landscape of slanting sun and tree trunk shadows.  Stop frequently, and if you have the time, wait for those shadows to sun-dial across the scene; you might be surprised at how quickly this happens, with the cool darkness thrown by treetops moving perceptibly while you hold your breath.

It’s in those shifting slivers of perpetual sunrise that little fires of white and yellow and incongruous maroon twinkle to life, ignited by the warmth and light like waking embers in a rising breeze.

The shy blossoms of Trailing Arbutus peek from beneath inauspicious leaves:

Newly tailored Dutchman’s Breeches flutter on the lines of their still-short racemes:

Spring Beauty ( a Claytonia, in the Purslane family) is abundant just now, but its tiny blossoms close tightly and nod demurely in the early morning cold.  Trout Lily will blanket this area in a couple of weeks, but for now they’re just pairs of fingerling leaves.

And Trillium is about to make its blood-red entrance to the Woodland Ball, though I haven’t yet seen any fully opened flowers:

I actually went to this spot to look for an uncommon Yellow Trillium, expecting to be early, but remembering that I was a bit late last year and not wanting to miss it twice in a row.  These sorts of woodland flowers last only until the leaves above them unfurl – then the show will move to the fields and meadows and roadside spaces.

Look for more woodland wonders in the next few weeks, and I will, too.  🙂

Changing Seasons. May 26, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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One of the more subtle signs of seasonal change here in the Northeast is occurring right now – the parade of woodland wildflowers is fading as the fully leaved trees shade them out.

Not to worry, though; the flowers of the marshes and meadows aren’t likely to be far behind, and in fact are beginning to make their presence known in the form of Hawkweed, Pussytoes and Daisy fleabane.

So before they’re entirely irrelevant, here are a few parting shots from the family of flowering friends found in the forest:

Trout Lilies:

…by the thousands!

Sessile Bellwort:

Wild Ginger, with its unassuming red blossom hiding in the detritus:

I uncovered that one for your viewing.

…and this rare yellow version of the common Purple trillium:

I’ve not seen one of these before, and at first assumed it was a true yellow trillium.  But those aren’t reported to grow north of the Carolinas, and don’t really look like this; they have heavily mottled leaves and a somewhat differently shaped blossom.  I now think this is a mutation of our local purple variety.

Oh, and the Lady’s slippers are out:

I’m hoping to get some good shots of these before they go by.

So there they are, the “late bloomers” of early Spring (!)  There will be a few more before I totally move on, but this is probably my last big wildflower post until the Summer flowers come in.


Weekend Wildflower Report. May 2, 2011

Posted by littlebangtheory in Art and Nature.
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I got up pre-dawn on Saturday (“Dat boy’s nuts! “) to run out to the river with my photo-mentor Lizz in search of a nice sunrise.

Well, shoot,  we needn’t have bothered – the sun rose, but unspectacularly.  I snagged a consolation shot of this riverside pool reflecting a little stand of Phragmites,  but it was too breezy for the length of the exposure and will probably never get printed:

It’s ok to look at, particularly at this resolution, thanks to one degree of tilt and some graduated filtering.

Lizz suggested we hit Bear Swamp Nature Preserve in Buckland, where she’s found some really nice early-season wildflowers in the past.

So we went there, and while we were a tad early for some things, we found a nice selection to share with you.

There were Red Trilliums:

…and some wild Violets which refused to shrink at the feet of a majestic maple:

There were Dutchman’s Britches and Trout Lilies:

…though those Trout Lilies were just beginning to open.

Lizz pointed out that Dutchman’s Breeches are easily confused with Squirrel Corn; their foliage is very similar, and the spray of whte flowers looks similar from a distance, but the Breeches have a yellow waist-band:

(I actually think it looks like the little guy is in there, being strung up by his, um, gusset  )

…while Squirrel Corn has luscious lavender lips:

I guess they’re not that similar if you get close enough!

I also found a nice clump of Marsh Marigolds down by the, how you say, marsh :

I had to bring the sky light down with a two-stop soft step grad filter to get the Marigolds to pop, but I was satisfied with the result (except for a filter mishap which I’ll tell you about sometime.)

Most of these shots were taken with Elliot, my TS-E II buddy, but that last one was with a 24-105 zoom, which I’m finding to be very versatile.

Anyway, there are a few other shots worth sharing from that outing, but it’s late, so I’ll drag them out another time.

Hope you enjoyed these.  G’night.