Posts Tagged ‘wildflowers’


March 20, 2014 17 comments



f 7.1


ISO 100

cloudy WB


IN THE FIELD: I’m Late I’m Late

August 6, 2012 31 comments

Earlier last week I noticed some wildflowers growing in a roadside field I hadn’t noticed before. I didn’t have time to stop and get a few photos, but I made a mental note to return to the spot a few days later when I had more time.

I headed back to the field on Thursday morning, and as much as I wanted to run the A/C in the Jeep, I drove with the windows down. I had the camera and the lens of choice on the seat next to me outside of the camera bag. This was to allow everything to acclimate to the sunny, hot, humid, jungle like conditions we are experiencing this summer.

It was around 9:30 in the morning when I arrived at the field, and to my dismay, someone had mowed the majority of the field. Nothing was left, except for a few plants that somehow made it through the wrath of the mower. I’m not sure why the field was mowed since it’s been vacant for years and there were no “For Sale” or “Sold” signs nearby.

I don’t know what kind of plant this is, but I’m glad I was able to get a few shots of these neat looking seed pods which were about three to four inches long. I positioned myself so the sunlight was behind and off to the right of the seed pod to add some highlights. For this photo, the settings used were, white balance set to cloudy to add a bit of warmth, ISO 100, f3.2 @ 1/1250th of a second, and my lens of choice was the 35mm.

IN THE FIELD: Revisiting The Neighbors Wildflower Garden

July 20, 2012 24 comments

In the area where I live, we have received very little rainfall this summer, except for last night’s deluge. It’s been super hot and dry, yet with high humidity. The weatherman predicts storms, and we see them on the radar, but they always seem to swerve out of our way. It’s either an attempt on the weatherman’s part to be funny, or there is a force field over the top of the mountain here.

Compared to earlier this spring when the neighbors wildflower garden was profuse with color, the lack of water this summer has dramatically affected the garden. The plants bloom, but the flowers only last a day or two.

Although, there are some late summer plants that are thriving in the dry conditions. With any luck, we will get some relief soon and the garden will have a chance to put on a show later this season.

Neighbor “P” and I discussed the idea of running a hose from his house to a series of soaker hoses out to the wildflower garden, but after we priced out 600 feet of hose, we felt mother nature would be the better route to take. Good thing is, last night’s storms confirmed our decision.

IN THE FIELD: Wilderness Treasures

June 25, 2012 43 comments

During our last trip to Idaho and Montana, we spent some time exploring the Selway-Bitterroot Wilderness Area. While photographing the region was our primary focus, we did manage to sneak in some hiking and fly fishing.

One of our side trips was a visit to Selway Falls, which is southwest of the Lolo pass. From the trailhead, it was a relatively easy hike to several good vantage points to view the falls. It was rocky, but downhill the whole way.

After getting some shots of the falls, we decided to take a short break before we headed back up the trail. As beautiful as the falls were, I was actually more fascinated by what we discovered as we relaxed under the shade of the evergreen trees.

Behind the old log we were sitting on were several dozen Fairy Slipper orchids (Calypso bulbosa). These orchids are not rare, but they can be hard to find. They thrive in the moist environments of evergreen forests. We were amazed to see such tiny delicate flowers among the towering fir trees.

After photographing the orchids, we decided it was time to head back to the car. Hiking to the falls was the easy part. Making it back to the trailhead was all together different. The trailhead was only 3/4th’s of a mile away…except it was severe uphill trek and the day had become blistering hot. I don’t know how long our steep schlep back to the car lasted, but it seemed like three lifetimes.

I shot this with my 50mm 1.8 lens, used a tripod and cable release. Underexposing about 1/3rd of a stop helped to make the color richer.

IN THE FIELD: Roadside Color

June 18, 2012 33 comments

One of my favorite things to see when driving the country roads near where I live, are wild day lilies. They begin to make their appearance in June, shortly after the Dames Rocket are finished blooming. They are a common sight on roadside embankments, in ditches and in other naturalized areas. Typically their biggest blooming period is from late spring throughout the summer, and in lesser amounts, into early autumn.

Folks also plant them on hillsides as an erosion control or alongside their driveways to dress up the front of their property. Somehow, one small group will manage to spread far and wide, providing splashes of color lasting several months for everyone to see as they drive by.

I photographed these lilies with my 35mm 1.8 prime lens using an ISO of 200, at 1/250th of a second, aperture set at f3.5 with a sunny white balance setting.

IN THE FIELD: Roadside Beauties

June 1, 2012 24 comments

A few weeks ago, I was on the hunt for spring wildflowers to photograph. I thought for sure I would find some Dame’s Rocket, as they are common in my neck of the woods and are usually found growing in unkept areas alongside roadways and in abandoned fields. Nope. None were to be found.

Finally, last week on an overcast morning, I saw a few plants in a gully alongside a back country road. It was a small grouping, but I was hoping to find more. I traveled down the road a bit further, and found a patch slightly larger than the first, but still not the scenic I wanted. Around the next bend by the edge of the woods was a stretch several car lengths long, filled with purple, lavender, and white wildflowers. Jackpot!

Dame’s Rocket have four petals, and are easily confused with a plant named Garden Phlox, which has five petals. And it can be hard to tell the difference when you are bolting down the road at 50mph. But if you take a moment to stop and look, you can appreciate the charm they add to a landscape often forgotten.

IN THE FIELD: Something Unexpected

May 21, 2012 25 comments

I know I have been obsessing lately about my neighbors’ wildflower garden across the street from our property. Until autumn, the only colors we see here in the woods are the rich and varying shades of green in the leaves with the muted grays and dark brown tree trunks. The sudden splash of color has been a welcome visual surprise.

Because of the orientation of our home and the 60 foot tall beech, maple and oak trees, we get a limited amount of direct sun. So we are restricted to mostly shade loving plants. We now have a splendid view of sun loving plants that our neighbor was so kind to plant, since this part of his property faces the sun.

On the foggy and misty morning I took this photograph, the flowers really stood out against the green foliage. It was a perfect opportunity capture the eye candy across the road.

IN THE FIELD: Hey, What The Heck Is He Doing?

May 7, 2012 32 comments

It was a bright clear morning the other day, and I was out photographing the wildflowers our neighbor planted near the road. Not much was blooming at the time, except for some daises and what appeared to be Sweet William plants.

With my camera mounted on the tripod and cable release in hand, I went about shooting the first bloomers. The light was perfect since it was early and the sun was still low. I didn’t feel the need to use a reflector or flash to fill in shadows or even a diffuser to cut back the light. Because it was bright enough to use shutter speeds just fast enough to stop the movement of the flowers in the light breeze, and still use wide apertures, I was able to obtain a shallow depth of field.

I was sitting in the grass composing this shot when I heard a car coming down the street. We don’t have a lot of traffic here, so when an unfamiliar car slows down then stops nearby, it’s noticed. I didn’t recognize the vehicle or the folks inside. They just sat there for about ten seconds, no smiles or waves, and drove off. I suppose they had never seen a person sitting on the ground with a camera and tripod surrounded by two-foot tall daises.

I will be frequenting this spot not only for the convenience it affords, but for the variety of plants growing there. I wonder if any other cars will stop to look and see “what the heck is that guy doing?”

IN THE FIELD: Weeds and Wildflowers

May 4, 2012 29 comments

Growing flowers and plants where I live can be a challenge. The soil is filled with pebbles, stones, rocks and boulders. Thousands of years ago, glaciers left all the good stuff in the valleys below and deposited all the rocks here on top of the ridge.

Our neighbor across the street has been trying for several years to get control of what grows on the embankment between the road and woods on his property. Grass doesn’t last as it is either eroded away or becomes overgrown with weeds.

Last year our neighbor got fed up and rented an oversized rototiller to tackle the persistent weed growth on his hillside. I’m surprised he has any control left of his arms the way the tiller was bouncing all over the place.

A few days later, the truck from the soil company paid him a visit and dropped off a huge load of fresh topsoil. Mr. Neighbor then went to work spreading the soil. He figured the planting of three or four five-pound bags of wildflower seeds would crowd out any weeds attempting to grow there.

All that work paid off. This year there are very few weeds except for some clover and a few others that somehow made it through the onslaught of the rototiller. The hillside has filled in nicely and already, daises are starting to bloom. There are quite a few other plants that haven’t sent up flower stems or buds yet, but it should be a colorful hillside this summer. The best part is we get to see most of it from our front windows. And when I need some photos of wildflowers, I only have to walk a few hundred feet to get to them.

I took this hand held photo on the way back from our morning walk with the dogs. I have no idea what it is, but I will post a photo of it when it opens. Any ideas?

IN THE FIELD: Gotta Do What Ya Gotta Do

April 11, 2012 31 comments

As photographers, we often brave inclement weather, or find ourselves in precarious positions, and even appear absurdly out of place…all in an effort to get “the shot.” We are of a different breed than most folks. Earlier this week, all three of these traits came into play when I was out shooting the blooming trees and wildflowers of spring.

This was not exactly an easy task considering the weather we have been having. The local weather forecasters have been predicting it would be sunny with a few clouds and breezy for nine days in a row. Well, they got the sunny part correct. The breezy part is an altogether different story.

When I think of breezy, I imagine tall grasses and wild flowers and the branches of trees gently swaying in the wind. What we have been experiencing in the part of the country where I live is more like gale force winds. The wildflowers that have grown tall enough to actually feel the effects of the wind are not gently swaying but are closer to horizontal in their stance. Limbs and small branches from trees are beginning to succumb to the force of the wind and are dropping to the ground. For better than a week now it has felt like a huge storm was about to unleash its fury.

In order to get this photo, I parked my Jeep in a fallow field next to a busy road. As I walked into the field, I was leaning against the wind at close to a 45 degree angle. I set the camera to continuous auto focus, adjusted the aperture and shutter speed to help stop the motion of the flowers and proceeded to lie down among the wildflowers. I composed the shot so the sun was at my back with the blue sky in the background. Then I had to wait for the wind to slow from a steady 40 mph, to gusts of about 20 mph. I fired off quite a few shots while trying to keep the flowers in the viewfinder. I have no doubt our blogger friend Steve [Portraits Of Wildflowers] has experienced these same conditions.

As a side note, these flowers bloom this time every year, but I have no idea what they are. I haven’t been able to identify them from books or online sources. Any ideas?