Mismatched Appetite

Bugged

Nectar at the base of each flower petal may be the quixotic quest of this mosquito. Quixotic because the physical characteristics of benefit to human predation, a light body, makes it unsuited to delve into the petals.
Flowers are like people in emitting carbon dioxide, another mosquito attractant. If it is looking for blood here this mosquito is also at a loss.

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Another lily with a tiny fly (mosquito?) perched at the base.

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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Fillmore Glen Gallery

A Successful Outing during COVID-19

Here is a gallery recapping my afternoon among the wonders of Fillmore Glen, a New York State park, Moravia, New York. I visited there during the New York COVID-19 “PAUSE.” ENJOY!!

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Early Spring X

Beginnings

Amazing natural sights were mine while living 25 years on the edge of the Malloryville Preserve near Freeville, Tompkins County, New York. None more so than early one Memorial Day, 2004, walking the bank of Fall Creek opposite home I came upon, totally unexpected, a first time sighting of a Trout Lily.

Today’s header image is one of my attempts at capturing the Malloryville Trout Lily’s from April 2006. This year’s visit to Fillmore Glen yielded my first “perfect” photographs of this flower.

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Several popular names for this flower originate from the distinctive leafs markings, “Adder’s Tongue Lily” and “Fawn Lily” among them. The second is from the American naturalist and author, John Burroughs, who observed them from his home among the Catskill Mountains of New York State.

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Early Spring IX

Purple Striations Revealed

Three corolla (petal) characteristics of the Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) are seen in today’s photograph: the pointed ends referred to yesterday, a reflexing (bending back) seen when the season warms up. Purple striations grouping together basally and spreading toward the tip is the third.

A purple flush, tending toward red, is a coloring associated with the genus name. “Erythro-” is from the Greek for the color red.

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Early Spring VIII

Dog Tooth

Trout Lily (Erythronium americanum) is named for the mottled brown leaves resembling markings on trout. The source of another name, “Dog Tooth Lily,” is hidden. My surmise was the pointed flower petals, instead it is for the pointed corms, modified stems developing underground and used to store energy to survive winter conditions.

An individual Trout Lily is seen here in an environmental shot, cradled by a tree root, and in a macro with the leaves that suggest the common name. Both shots are from the Canon 100 mm “macro” lens. All photographs in this series are from my May 5, 2020 afternoon visit during the Coronavirus pandemic.

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Early Spring VII

Hundreds of While Trillium

Fillmore Glen is a supportive environment for trillium, as seen in these overview shots.

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Early Spring VI

Aspect Continuum

White Trillium from different aspects.

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Early Spring V

Purple vs. White Trillium

Purple Trillium, a different species from the white, present different challenges. The purple blooms tend to dip down toward the ground. White flowers face upward toward the sky. My successful photographs of purple (Click me for another Purple Trillium posting) have the camera lower than the plant, say where there is a bank above the trail.

Shot from beneath, White Trillium project a hopeful air. Here is a comparison of the two species in the environmental and individual treatments.

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Early Spring IV

exploring Trillium habitat

Trillium as subjects are a continual challenge to find the compelling composition. Click me for another Trillium posting.

This afternoon’s sky was overcast, perfect for photographing wildflowers: clouds thin enough for light to pour through. In the clouds’ shadow there is not enough light for the plant to cast its own distracting shadows. Compare an earlier trillium photograph (click me to go there).

For the following photograph is a study in habitat. At f32, focusing on the trillium, the surroundings are clearly identifiable: several budding Foam Flower heads (Scientific Name: Tiarella), fern, rotting wood, the forest floor hidden by leaf clutter.

I released the shutter (with a 2 second delay) during a break in spring breezes, the overcast lighting bright enough for a speedy 1/8 second exposure. The focus on the opening trillium bloom is just as crisp in this exposure as the next.

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At 4 f-stop, the entire plant is in focus while many habitat elements are a soft blur. An interesting point is the leaf on the left. It is in focus somewhat and is a distraction. This was an issue, in my opinion, for the first photograph.

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Early Spring III

Circinate

A thumb’s width span for each unfurling stalk of this unidentified colony. Fern? Flowering plant?

Each image is from a Canon 100 mm macro lens, camera mounted on a sturdy studio tripod I carried a few hundred feet to this bank within Fillmore Glen New York State park.

Here is another assignment from the “Fundamentals of Photography” course, to capture a scene at different f-stops, the degree to which the diaphragm is open, to control the width of the lens aperture. Increasing f-stop narrows lens aperture.

For this f32 image, the least possible apeture for this lens, resulting in maximum depth of field. Everything in view is in focus, increasing the visual elements competing for the viewer’s attention. On the other hand, a distracting element is more information about where the plant is thriving.

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At 8 f-stop aperture is at a midpoint, elements of the background are out of focus, though still recognizable. The sturdy tripod, well situated, enables me to take the exact same view, changing only the f-stop (and associated shutter speed, the higher the f-stop the slower the shutter speed. As the aperture decreases, less light enters the camera and more time is required to collect enough light to expose the digital media. Slower shutter speed means more time for spring breezes to move the delicately balanced plant stalk, resulting a blur for a subject otherwise in focus.

In this image I removed all but the immediate surroundings of the red stalks.

At f2.8 the diaphram is wide open, a maximum amount of light enters the camera and shutter speed is higher as well. Less of the image is in focus, a single subject is in sharp relief. Prior to cropping more than one stalk is in focus, competing for attention.

After cropping a single stalk is the image subject, reminding me of swirling galaxies. The drawback is reduction in image size: 30 reduced to 1.3 (6,744 to 1,371). I needed to reposition the tripod and camera for a closer shot of the circinate scene elements and a image with a higher resolution of this fascinating episode in the life of a plant. I am tempted to visit Malloryville where large ferns unfurl.

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