Friday, September 2, 2016

Garden Goodies: Allen Acres

Coral Honeysuckle (Lonicera sempervirens)


Tuesday, August 23, 2016

Musings of a Plant Nerd

Anatomy of a Flower Head

Do you know the difference between "a flower" and "a flower head"? I didn't, until just a few years ago when I got serious about photography again and began documenting Louisiana wildflowers.

What looks like "a flower" and is often called "a flower," is instead a "flower head." What look like "petals" on the flower, in this example, the big yellow blades, are in fact "ray flowers," each with its own stamen, which you can see in this photo.

What looks like the center of a flower is actually a cluster of "disk flowers," again each with its own stamen. Or is that a pistil? Or...?

Here's where it gets complicated and my knowledge runs out! Stamens, pistils, filaments, styles, and on and on. Botanists have a name for every part and surface. And most of them have to do with reproduction. Welcome to the sexy world of wildflowers!

By the way, this Rosinweed (Silphium gracile) is particularly good for showing off anatomy due to its large size. And the glorious stand of over-my-head plants covered with flower heads in all stages of development that yielded this shot on a hot day in July flourished in the #KisatchieNationalForest along a gravel forest access road in the vicinity of Dry Prong in central Louisiana.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Photographer's Journal: Mamou

Mamou (Erythrina herbacea)
Aka, Coral Bean.

So... I was on my way home from.... what? Can't even remember. Some kind of meeting down in center of the state. Oh, yes, a Together Louisiana meeting in Alexandria.

I had my camera with me and had very little time, but, you know, really just needed 15 minutes in the woods....

So as I'm passing through the #KisatchieNationalForest where it overlaps Highway 165 for a few miles, I'm looking for an access point--preferably one I've never explored before. And sure enough I spot what looked like an unimproved access road that I had never noticed before.

Turns out, it was really short, just a "driveway" really, except into the forest, not a homestead. But enough of a driveway to get my car safely off the highway. And low and behold, glancing around I immediately spied this gorgeous, fresh, bright red Mamou spike right there on the edge of the forest. And around it, Monarda (aka Bee Balm)! But that's another post.

I rarely do this, but this image is straight out of the camera, #SOOC in photog lingo. This Mamou spike was perfectly fresh, with no spent florets, not hidden by foliage but proudly standing out at this exact angle at about head height. The light was perfect. For once I had no problem focusing the camera!  That left choosing a depth of field to blur the background into this lovely dappled green, and... voila! there you have it. This one just might have to be printed and framed.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Photographer's Journal: Atchafalaya

Inner Mystery

Louisiana has two wonders of the world: The Atchafalaya Basin and the Kisatchie National Forest. The fact that neither are on the official list makes not an iota of difference to me.

Whenever I have a little time for myself, be it 20 minutes or 2 days, if at all possible, I will stop at or head to one of these two places. Both are enormous. I have every confidence that I will do this for the remainder of my life and neither tire of them nor make a dent in discovering their wonders.

If I live long enough and my health holds, God willing, I will produce two books: Kisatchie Splendors and one about the Atchafalaya. The title of the latter hasn't revealed itself to me yet.

During Spring Break, the week after Easter, I took two days to wander the Atchafalaya. This shot is from the edge of a backwater of the Mississippi River along Highway 131 south of Vidalia.

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Things Unseen: Love Like That


All this time
The sun never says to the Earth,

'You owe me.'

What happens
With a love like that,
It lights the whole sky."


Saturday, January 9, 2016

Photographer's Journal: Life & Love R One

Life & Love R One

 from the Song of Songs:
I belong to my love, 
and his desire is for me.
Come, my love,
let us go to the fields.
We will spend the night in the villages,
and in the early morning we go to the vineyards.
We will see if the vines are budding,
if their blossoms are opening,
if the pomegranate trees are in flower.
Then I will give you 
the gift of my love.
The mandrakes yield their fragrance,
the most exquisite fruits are at our doors;
the new as well as the old,
I have stored them for you, my love.

--New Jerusalem Bible, 7:10-13

Monday, November 16, 2015

Things Unseen: Dare to Love

Dare to Love

In a world filled with hate, we must still dare to hope. In a world filled with anger, we must still dare to comfort. In a world filled with despair, we must still dare to dream. And in a world filled with distrust, we must still dare to believe.
--Michael Jackson

And in a world filled with violence, we must still dare to love.