Spring Beauties

Back to your regularly scheduled program.  More nature stuff.

I am a bit bummed at the moment because I came upon a very active great blue heron rookery the other day and my old 300mm lens isn’t up to the task.  Most of my old legacy glass is still very good when paired with a digital body, but not that one.  I kind of knew it going in since it’s not a high-end lens to begin with.  My 180mm would probably give better results, but it doesn’t have nearly the reach I need.  So I’ll just go there and watch the birds instead of photographing them.  There are probably 30 nests with sitting birds all in one tight little area.  Strangely it’s not noisy except for the grackles.  The herons make those croaky noises when mates greet each other at the nest, but that’s it.  The babies are barely old enough to stretch their heads up to be seen, but when they’re older they will probably be noisy.  Here’s a semi-ok shot if you don’t look at it much larger than this.

Nesting great blue herons

There’s always next year when hopefully I can afford a decent long lens.

Wildflower season continues to be productive although I my patience is really being tried by the black flies and mosquitoes.  Why oh why do bug season and wildflower season have to coincide?  Many times I bail on a little scene because the bugs drive me out.  Once while photographing my first ever coltsfoot and that was really a bummer.

Fringed polygala are one of my favorite wildflowers. I used to pick them as a kid and give them to my mom along with many other ragged little offerings.  In this little scene they look to be playing a game of Blind Man’s Buff.

Fringed Polygala (ZD 12-60mm f2.8-4)

Another pink beauty is bog laurel.  With a name like that you wouldn’t think it, but look how lovely it is.  The blossoms are very much like sheep laurel, but the leaves are different, they remind me of rosemary.  From observation it seems they start out a more intense pink and fade as the blossoms age.

Bog Laurel (ZD 12-60mm f2.8-4)

This next one I’ve never photographed before and these were the only blooms I saw all day.  I’ll try for something better when they are more abundantly blooming.

Yellow Clintonia aka Bluebeard Lily (ZD 12-60mm f2.8-4)

Both painted and purple trilliums were out yesterday, but mostly painted.  Here’s a couple at different stages along their life cycles.  Lately I’ve been working in more dappled sunlight to my wildflower shots and I like it a lot when I can pull it off.  Part of what makes the woods magical is that dappled sun winking in and out of the undergrowth.  As the trees move into full-leaf, it will be even more spotty.  I like the sun on the petals and the shadows.  The second one was in full shade, but the way the wilted petals drooped so perfectly, I just had to stop and bear the bugs until the breeze died down.

Painted Trillium (ZD 12-60mm f2.8-4)
Wilted painted trillium (ZD 12-60mm f2.8-4)

And a shot of rhodora in the afternoon sun.  While waiting for a particular heron’s mate to return to the nest, I shot these gorgeous little flowers in dramatic lighting.  They’re so primitive yet intricate.  Like little explosions; fireworks in the form of flowers.  They don’t bloom long though.

Rhodora (ZD 12-60mm f2.8-4)

And so you don’t think I’m all flowers all the time, here’s some fungus –

Tiny mushrooms (OM 90mm f2 legacy macro)

This last one was really fun.  The largest of these is 1cm across (3/8 inch) and so delicate I hardly dared breathe on them.  There were hundreds on a stump in the woods and their intensely cheery color just drew me to them.  My friend Melissa and I get trapped by time-sucking mushroom logs quite frequently and this one was no exception.  I did have to wait a bit for the sun to pass and create shade with my hands, too, but it was worth it.

So that’s it probably for a little bit.  We’re leaving for California on the 21st and I’m still nervous that I’ll choke at Mono Lake and at Bodie the famous ghost town.  But I’ll give it my best and hope for it as well.  It will be a break from New England woods and wildflowers at least.  Mountains here I come!

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