Weedy Orchid IV

Presenting a macro of a Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine) growing in our rose garden, in full bloom, a profusion of orchid flowers.

Helleborine, the scientific name species designation, means like a Hellebore. It must refer calyx, the outer leaves forming the flower bud, these open to reveal the flower. In this macro, the unopened buds are upper right. Bottom center the calyx, fully open, with the flower ready to accept pollination, fertilization. After opening, the calyx seems to be part of the flower, a characteristic of hellebore (see Helleborus argutifolius).

The flowers attract a variety of Hymenoptera. I observed wasps, yellow-jackets visiting. Today, each flower is a ripening fruit. I need to photograph is stage.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

Photograph is from a 100mm “macro” lens, f6.3.

Thank You for visiting.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Woody Peony 100 mm

Macro series

See my May Woody Peony postings for background on this peony variety.

These photographs were taken with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr and the Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 Macro USM lens stabilized with the Manfrotto BeFree Carbon Fiber tripod with ball head.

The morning breezes of May caused me to “up” ISO to 1600 for a faster shutter speed at higher f-stop.

Taking full advantage of the macro lens, the higher ISO helped to maintain sharper focus on the highlighted feature, in this case the stamens.

A gallery of macros with various settings and aspects of the bloom.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Dawson’s Magnolia?

A 2021 Blessing

The Magnolia genus has been around for eons, come characteristics are protective from beetles as they existed before bees and relied upon beetles for fertilization. Our’s may be the species Magnolia dawsoniana (Dawson’s Magnolia), it shares many of the published characteristics: among them tolerance to our hardiness zone 5, flower color and shape, tree growth pattern.

This was an exceptional year for blooms. starting late April, lasting into May. The fence around trunks is for protection against bucks (male deer), from rubbing their horns in autumn.

For most of these 2021 photographs I used the lens Canon 24 mm f/1.4L II USM, the one captioned 50 mm I used Canon 50mm f/1.2L USM. The Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr with the Manfrotto Studio tripod with hydrostatic ball head for all.

The last great year was 2018……

For these 2018 photographs the Canon 24 mm and Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L “Macro” lenses with Canon’s EOS-1Ds Mark III dslr.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Christmas Tableau

Cozy Snowmen dance round the candle

My dear wife Pam is the heart of Christmas in our home. Over the years we have collected a treasure of ornaments and knick-knacks she crafts into displays around our one. Pam completed the project well in advance of our grandchild holiday visits, before card writing and gift wrapping.

My contribution is a photographic time capsule. Here is some of my artistic output from this work.

This grouping of five cozy snowmen (three males, two females) are warmly dressed in knit sweaters and stocking caps; the women with long skirts. The five hold hands in a ring, rising from a common platform. We place a cup and devotional candle in the center.

The tiny group evokes community, harmony, amity. I captured them with a Canon EOS 1Ds Mark III dslr, a fixed Canon EF 100mm f/2.8L macro lens mounted on a Manfrotto studio tripod and hydrostatic ball head. Fixed lenses provide the sharpest macros. The mounting allowed precise framing and use of the widest aperture and a low ISO. The light sources were sunlight from a large north facing bay window, a Canon Speedlite 600Ex-Rt and the candle. When used, the flash was angled in various ways toward the ceiling.

I start with a tight shot, maximum aperture. A single figure is in clear focus, the remaining gradually lost in the bokeh. The flash was used. I can almost see then circling around the candle in a winter wind.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

Here the candle is lighted, aperture narrow to f8 using only the candle and ambient light (no flash). The group is visible within surrounding figures. I backed away and the viewpoint is higher.

The candle light enhances the perception of community.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

Viewpoint is closer, still only the candle and ambient light. Aperture widened to 3.5. I must remove the hair in lightroom.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

I backed off, aperture at the max with only the candle and ambient light. The figures are placed in a tableau with other snowmen and a structure, a birdhouse.

Cosy Christmas Snowmen

For this overview I swapped in a Canon 24mm f/1.4L II USM with a flash, aperture f2.2.

Christmas Snowman Display
Christmas 2017 snowman display laid out in our den on top of the entertainment cabinet.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Night Blooming Cereus IV

What is this plant?

Bloom #2 of this season. Two more in the wings. I broke out the flash and the Canon 100 mm “macro” lens for this series taken an hour after sunrise before this one-night-only bloom wilted.

Click me for another flower post, “Another Woody Peony.”

References

Wikipedia, “Epiphyllum, “Epiphyllum oxypetalum,”epiphyte.”

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Chrysalis

Caterpillar to pupa to chrysalis

Our monarch butterfly sanctuary is a dense stand of milkweed, over the years the established plants grow rapidly late May through June, blooming in July. The flowers have an incredible scent, attracting numerous pollinating insects.

A colony of pesky sparrows nest nearby. In spite of a reputation for tasting bad, the sparrow actively feed on the hatched caterpillars. My strategy is to examine the plants early morning, placing rescued caterpillars in this old birdcage.

Click photograph for a larger view and use Ctrl-x to zoom in closer.

The caterpillars and milkweed leaf is placed on the cage floor. I pile up the dried leaves, replacing with fresh each morning.

Sadly to report, the last, ravenous caterpillar stage is also carnivorous, cannibalistic. These two, below, were the only ones left except for one in the pile of dried leaves.

Here is a closer view of the two fifth stage instars searching for a safe location to pupate.

A few hours later one has successfully created a silk pad, attached itself and assumed the “J” shape. To the left a second caterpillar and silk pad.

The next morning, the first has formed a chrysalis. The second, hung spent.

This unsuccessful individual never completed the chrysalis, dried up and fell. My sources write the pupa transforms to a chrysalis through shedding of skin, the following photograph tells a different story. The chrysalis appears to extrude from the skin; arising over, or from, the skin rather and beneath it. I have never recovered a shed skin underneath a successful chrysalis.

Nine days later, Tuesday, July 28, the chrysalis hangs. I check several times a day.

These photographs are from a 100mm “macro” lens, handheld. The birdcage works well for protecting the monarchs. Is a poor location for photography.

Thank You for visiting.

Copyright 2020 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

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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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

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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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

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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Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills