Yellow Hibiscus II

flower and buds

This is a perennial, commonly known simply as “hibiscus”, or less widely known as rose mallow. Other names include hardy hibiscus, rose of sharon, and tropical hibiscus.

The hibiscus flower is traditionally worn by Tahitian and Hawaiian girls. If the flower is worn behind the left ear, the woman is married or has a boyfriend. If the flower is worn on the right, she is single or openly available for a relationship.

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Here are the three photographs of this bloom, all from the Canon 100 “macro” lens. Two with “sweat bees” and one without.
References

Wikipedia – “hibiscus.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Yellow Hibiscus I

flower, buds, bee

Yellow hibiscus, the state flower of Hawaii was recorded in ancient Greece. In the photograph is captured several unopened buds, behind the flower, and a bee in the flower throat, attracted by nectar there. It is a small bee, of the Halictidae family, that lives alone in a ground nest and also called a “sweat bee,” from being attracted to perspiration.

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References

Wikipedia – “sweat bee” and “hibiscus.”

Summer Walk

Experience a hike around Taughannock Gorge on a summer morning with thunderstorms threatening

Constant winds from thunderstorm updrafts, I brought along an umbrella just in case.

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Taughannock Falls Gorge on a humid summer morning
Hemlock Forest on South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls Gorge from South Rim Trail
Taughannock Falls from South Rim trail
View of Taughannock Falls Gorge from the North Rim trail on a humid summer (July) morning. Turkey Vultures circle overhead…they are there most summer days.
View of the first waterfall of Taughannock Gorge from the railroad bridge linking the North and South Rim trails on a humid summer (July) morning. This large waterfall empties to the gorge above the 210+ foot Taughannock Falls.
Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Smoke Tree, late June

Three species of the genus Cotinus, commonly called “Smoke Tree,”in the family Anacardiaceae exist in North America, Europe and Asia. Ours is more like a shrub with numerous, long branches. Flowers with profuse filaments in clusters resembling whiffs of smoke. Here we see the flower filaments, interspersed with small drupes, each containing a single seed.

The post header, and these photographs were made from the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV, Canon Lens EF 50mm f/1.2L USM stabilized with a Manfrotto 468ZMZ tripod with hydrostatic head. Late afternoons, evenings the tree is shaded by a hemlock hedge (line of trees running north/south) this is the shade here. This Canonn dslr excels in color rendition. The flower masses are a burgundy wine color, the leaves have a purple tinge. I do not directly fertilize, as the plant is said to do best with unfertile soil though the surrounding cedars do get fertilizer stakes.

Eight AM a following morning I followed up with a handheld session using a Sony DSLR-Alpha700, Sony Lens DT 18-200 mm F3.5-6.5. Took these two shots with a lower ISO and tweaked the images in Lightroom, reducing the exposure. The flower smoky effect is well captured, the color in bright sunlight is not as wine-like as in shade.

By the time I proceeded to macros, a morning breeze kicked up, handled by upping the ISO to 3200 for a faster shutter speed to stop the movement. The bright sun helped with this.

Fertilized flowers develop into fruit stalks with radiating filaments, the yellow dots are the drupes (fleshy bodies surrounding a single seed). Fresh leaves are purple, turning to dark green with age. The leaves are as unusual as the flowers: aromatic, simple and round on long stalks. Autumn, the leaves turn a stunning bright red-orange, a scarlet shade. In winter some stalks die off, new growth appears from the roots in spring.

References

“The Botanical Garden Vol 1 Trees and Shrubs”, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, Firefly Books, Buffalo NY, 2000, p 361

Wikipedia, “Smoke Tree”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Lemon Yellow

With us since ancient times

Enjoyed since ancient times throughout the Middle East and China, our European roses were cultivated from Chinese introduced in the late 18th Century. One evening this June, unusually quiet with no breeze, Pam asked me to photograph this tall shrub in full bloom. These are protected from grazing deer by a stout fence, six feet tall.

At first it appears the blooms are a mix of colors from lemon yellow to cream.

The variation is an indication of each bloom’s age since opening. At first each opens to a lemon yellow. Here is a combination of opening and tightly closed bud. Throughout this set I used the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr with the EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM stabilized with a Manfrotto 468MG tripod with Hydrostatic Ball Head. The stabilization allowed me to present the following comparison, at right the very fast 50 mm lens allows the opening bud to be highlighted. Left side, the lens diaphragm is somewhat closed and the opening bud, tightly closed and leaves are all seen. The pinnate, serrated leaves have one terminal lobe and two lateral for a set of three. There are fewer thorns than some, but sharp enough to be careful.

Flowers bloom throughout the late spring, summer and fall. Pam stops fertilizing in late summer to allow the plant to harden for our Zone 4b winters. Here you can see the plentiful flower buds, compare the opening to mature flower colors.

References

“The Botanical Garden” Vol 1, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, Firefly Books, Buffalo, N.Y. 2002 pp 228 – 233

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Betty Boop

A cartoon come to life

These Floribunda, semi-double petaled blooms were captured along with the yellow double cluster roses of the previous post, in the evening shade of a late spring day, June 23rd.

Above is a mix of just opened (the dark red, center bottom), fully opened new (just to right of center) and aging (all the rest).

Throughout this set I used the Canon EOS 5D Mark IV dslr with the EF 50 mm f/1.2L USM stabilized with a Manfrotto 468MG tripod with Hydrostatic Ball Head.

Floribundas, sometimes called cluster flowered roses, originated with Poulsen’s nursery in Denmark from crossed with Hybrid Teas with Polyantha Roses, themselves crosses between dwarf Chinas and a dwarf, repeat-flowering form of R. multiflora. Texas-based rose hybridizer Tom Carruth released Betty Boop in 1999, naming it after a cartoon character from the 1930’s. Pam found this plant around 2008 offered by the K-mart store in Cortland. She is amazed by the beauty of the Betty Boops.

Another beloved characteristic is the longevity of the blooms. Pam collected and arranged this vase last week, for Father’s Day. I provided the setting. In this controlled environment the low ISO provides better colors and contrast with minimal digital noise.

References

“The Botanical Garden” Vol 1, Roger Phillips and Martyn Rix, Firefly Books, Buffalo, N.Y. 2002 pp 228 – 233.

Wikipedia search for “Betty Boop rose” and ” Tom Carruth rose.”

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Father’s Day Visit to Fall Creek Gorge

McGraw Tower Bell Concert

Walking up University Avenue toward Lib Slope, listening to the noon concert from the McGraw Tower carillion (a tuned set of bells), below the Johnson Museum turn left onto a footpath, follow to the steep trail down to the Gorge Overlook along Fall Creek. Look up at the suspension bridge and water powered electric plant. Climb back, turn right and down to Stewart Avenue for the view of Fall Creek Gorge, Cayuga Lake, the former studio of Carl Sagan, built into the gorge wall. In researching this topic I learned Google Maps shows the trail and you can “walk” the trail, Google brought the camera down into the gorge.

An IPhone 7 and video editing software were used for this post.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

First Balloon Sighting

Always surprising and a wonder

Pam and I enjoyed the local hot air balloon for the first time in 2021 floating directly in front of our home, along the valley formed by hills on the east and west, headed north toward Cayuga Lake and descending steadily, looked to have landed close by. I heard the “whoosh, whoosh” of the gas burner first and distinct from a jet landing at Tompkins County airport. Always a thrill to see one up close.

Copyright 2021 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Hepatica, Fillmore Glen

Hepatica from April 2007

Back in 2007 I used a 100 mm Canon Macro lens on a Kodak slr along with a Sony DSC-F828 variable lens for this mix of macro and habitat captures presented as a gallery so you can flip back and forth among the larger images. Click any image to bring up a larger version.

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Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Carpenter Falls flows into Skaneateles Lake

on the jug path

Under a crystal blue September sky, my wife and I climbed into the gorge of Bear Swamp Creek to the foot of this waterfall past the site of a distillery where, years ago, locals used to frequent using a “jug path.”

The creek is strictly protected as part of the water source for Syracuse, flowing from the Skaneateles Highlands past historical villages such as “New Hope.” Before merging with Skaneateles Lake, the creek traverses this 90 foot fall, call Carpenter Falls.

You need to climb the steep slopes of the gorge for this unobstructed view.

It is even possible to climb to the ledge behind the water. Standing on the ledge, the stream passes 50 feet overhead. It is a lovely view down the gorge in all seasons.

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This site is protected by the Finger Lakes Land Trust.

Copyright 2021 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills