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 another springtime post.

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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 2022 Michael Stephen Wills All Rights Reserved

Spring Outing IV

Turn to Light

Wildflowers flourished where the slope turned to the north and late afternoon light spread across the small ravine created by a small stream. This early in the season White Trillium buds were forming between three green bracts.

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The above photograph taken handheld with a variable zoom lens captures the plant and environment. On the forest floor is twig of hemlock, probably knocked off by squirrels feeding on the tiny cones. Oak leaves from last season frame the dark green bracts. We also see a few wintergreen leaves and the rich soil.

With the low light ISO is 2000, the f-stop of 5.6 allowed crisp details of the hemlock and wintergreen, the focus is soft on the oak leaves. Where is topography allowed sunlight, the White Trillium were a bit further along. Here is a bud opening.

Here I used a travel tripod and a macro lens with f-stop opened up to 3.2, not lens maximum, and all but the forward bract tip are in focus. A lower camera angle places surroundings in distance, allowing all to be blurred unrecognizable: the plant is the star of this shot. ISO 800 with the ample light. I was struggling with the spring breezes, having to wait for a break to take each exposure.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills

Spring Outing III

Red Pine on the level

One hundred and fifty feet in a series of steep climbs is the effort expended to reach the relatively level portion of South Rim Trail where the tall Red Pines briefly reign. Here the trees thrive on the northeast facing slope. They grow in this way in one other location, in the upper park, on an eponymous trail.

Encounters with groups of people descending always demanded I step off the trail to allow social distancing. Everyone work a flimsy face covering, although Governor Coumo’s order covers situations where social distancing is not possible. As of you, we do not have the loose masks; but only the N95 or a full respirator (both acquired very early on, our respirators were purchased for spreading lawn chemicals and spray painting).

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Red Pine (Pinus resinosa), also know as Norway Pine, shed pollen prolifically. Some Aprils my boots are covered with it, a dusting of yellow. Not today.

A species easy to spot among the green, an example of a shrub of the genus Gaultheria, though a very small specimen. The common name is wintergreen and I have never found larger specimens in Treman park. It is growing among the mosses on the wall of Enfield Glen South Rim.

The tough wintergreen leaves endue the cold seasons, the name is synonymous with evergreen.

Both shots are handheld, the macro is from a 100 mm “macro” fixed focus lens. ISO 2500, the f-stop to be wide open at 2.8 to gather the sparse light and present the subjects, blurring the immediate background. The overview shot is also a high ISO, 2000, the f-stop 5.8 on a variable focus lens set to 60 mm.

Copyright 2019 All Rights Reserved Michael Stephen Wills