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.

Click photograph for larger image. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

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.

Click for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

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.

Click photograph for larger image. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

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.

Click for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Early Spring II

Hepatica from April 2007

Yesterday you saw a grouping of Hepatica flowers and seed heads. (Click me for another Hepatica posting from this season).

Here you see two seed heads in selective focus, one still has flower petals attached.

Click photograph for larger image. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Click for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Early Spring I

transformation to seed

Afternoon, May 5th last week was spent in Fillmore Glen New York State Park, Moravia New York. Back in 2002, this was my first wildflower photography experience and repeated many times over the years (Click me for another Hepatica posting). Here is a follow-up showing the next step in the development of Hepatica blossoms, forming seed heads.

Here you see both flowers and a single seed head set in three bracts.

Click photograph for larger image. To do this from WordPress Reader, you need to first click the title of this post to open a new page.

Click for my “Finger Lakes Memories” Fine Art Photography Gallery.

Copyright 2020 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Turned Back

Trail closed at bridge seven

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the ninth post of this series. Click me for “The Spaceship and the Waterfall,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Seventh Bridge

We laughed at the trail-head sign, “Caution Muddy Trails.” White shorts beware. Somebody complained and demanded immediate resolution to the situation.

Another sign advised the Gorge Trail was closed after the seventh bridge. In my post “Bridge Views” these bridges are described. We could cross the seventh bridge, a barrier and a strongly worded sign, “Proceed no further, you will be prosecuted,” blocked the way. Here is the view, looking upstream.

The blocked path climbs the steep northern glen wall. This is the south wall, from the bridge. There was a young mother with two children, a girl, 6 or 7, and her 7 or 8 years old brother, each well equipped for the expedition with appropriate clothing and backpacks.

The family proceeded while I lingered to gaze up the blocked trail. I was tempted to crawl over the barrier, the ascending trail was clear the entire visible length. Being more cautious with age, or growing wisdom, I suppressed the urge and took in sights on the return trip.

The leaves of hepatica among mosses and sorrell

On bridge number six the girl has her entire backpack contents spread over the path, a naturalist examining her kit. So sweet. Nia and Pam, at this point, were far ahead of me.

Stairs on approach to the Sixth Bridge

Moss is another plant proven valuable to humankind.

Sphagnum moss was used for wound dressing during World War I, being almost sterile and highly absorbent. The flat growth to the lower right I do not recognize.

An Orchid

This strange orchid, the species name references a similarity to hellebore

Broad-leaved Helleborine (Epipactis helleborine)
Flower of the Broad-leaved Helleborine growing up from other leaves
Compelling Leaf Arrangement

With is we left the Gorge trail for this day, with a plan to return to approach the eight bridge from the north.

View of steam fed pool from near start of Gorge Trail
Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Blue

A personal mystery solved

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the eight post of this series. Click me for “The Spaceship and the Waterfall,” the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Chaos Resolved

Among this jumble of fallen, cut trees (see the post “Glen Shadows”) is the solution to a personal mystery.

I had often seen these green berry-like fruits of summer, these were growing among tree fall on one of the few almost level places of the gorge. The green turns bluish when ripe. This photograph I used today, along with dogged determination, to identify this plant. It was in neither reference on my desk.

The green berry color threw me off, using the growth pattern of the fruit, the leaves and where it was growing (moist forest with little light) to identify Blue Cohosh (Caulophyllum thalictroides). The leaves are similar to meadow rue and the species name ( thalictroides) is taken from the genus name of meadow rue (Thalictrum). The two are related, belonging to the order Ranunculales.

Blue Cohosh has pharmacological properties. Another name for the plant, Papoose Root, is from the Native Americans who used preparations of the root to induce childbirth, ease the pain of labor, rectify delayed or irregular menstruation, and alleviate heavy bleeding and pain during menstruation.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Wintergreen?

aspirin-nations

Capturing photographs and videos on the fly using an Iphone, we visited Fillmore Glen State Park, Moravia, New York with our granddaughter, Nia. This is the seventh post of this series. Click me for the first post in this series.

Click any photograph for a larger view.

Growing up on Long Island provided limited exposure to the great variety of animal and plant life on planet earth. I remember Canesteo, a town just off the western edge of the Finger Lakes in Steuben County, after moving there in the 1980’s, had a marvelous abundance of different plants in the lawn. It was a welcoming feeling to notice this before the term “monoculture” was circulated.

These days the exuberant variety of ferns and mosses in the Finger Lakes are still alien in the sense noticing the small differences between species is still beyond me; or, rather, I have yet to know well all the later arrivals on the scene, the flowering plants and these command my attention.

Close by the Sorrell of my post “Glen Shadows” is this inconspicuous flower, common name Shinleaf, seen here growing in spite of the the wet rip rap of shale at the base of the glen wall on the footpath. Much of the characterization of this plant is from the inconspicuous basal leaves from which the raceme of flowers springs.

Evergreen Pears

Moss and Shinleaf are associated in these groupings, I could conclude the moss provided a place for the tiny seeds of the plant to lodge and take root. The plant is a perennial and stays green throughout the winter, leading to another conclusion: there is a substance in the leaf cells that resists freezing. The latin meaning of the (scientific name) genus Pyrola means “Pear”, the shape of the leaf.

Look closely at the flowers to see the small flowers, the style extending beyond the petals like a bell clapper.

The common name, Shinleaf, is from England where the plant is credited with providing relief for minor injury. I am unclear on the grouping of this plant as a wintergreen. Shinleaf might be included as a wintergreen, and possibly attributed with healing properties, because “wintergreen” in the past was a synonym for “evergreen.”

There are species of wintergreens, in a different family, with leaves containing methyl salicilate that metabolizes (changed in our bodies) to a substance related to aspirin and more potent. I am reconsidering my identification of “cranberry” in the previous post “Red” to be a type of wintergreen high in methyl salicilate and growth close to the Shinleaf.

This abundance of life variety must be cherished and preserved, it can be a source of survival for the human species.

Copyright 2019 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved