Monday, February 25, 2013

Great find, II!

Southern Twayblade (Listera australis)
So... here's a close up of the blooms of the wild orchid I posted a few days ago. Again, this wonderful find was at the Charles Allen Biological Station down by Copenhagen, La. It's about 90 acres of beautiful bluffs overlooking the Ouachita River, ridges, and bottomlands with a cattail pond. The land is populated by a great diversity of plant life (and animal life, I'm sure). I am working with the Biology Dept. documenting and preparing the site for greater educational use.

I just shared this photo with the online Google+ community of photographers a few minutes ago for a theme called "MacroMonday," and one of my friends commented right away that he really likes "the hairs going down the neck."

I do to. But I didn't even see them when I was making this shot. I think it was because I was kneeling in mud! These do grow in damp areas and I ended up with wet, dirty knees because they are tiny plants, close to the ground.

However, I truly wish I had been carrying a mat of some kind. I would have loved to have gone belly down with stacked extension tubes to get an even closer shot of just one blossom.

Oh, well. That's what's compelling about photography: You have to keep going back and trying again for that elusive perfect shot...

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Road Trip

Twilight Memory

On my way home from Baton Rouge, I pulled off the road to try a different shot--which did not work out. Not enough light. But I turned to leave and "saw" this shot in my mind's eye. It was a moment suspended between day and night, past and future, alone and lonely. It took just three exposures to get it right. I wanted to linger, but the light was fading fast.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Photographer's Journal

Buckeye (Aesculus pavia)

I went to the woods looking for color last weekend for my online photography mentorship assignment. The week before, I had photographed fragments of corporate logos for my online friends to try to identify. You might be interested to know that even the international photographers in my online community were able to identify quite quickly most U.S. American fast-food trademarks from a photo of a mere fragment!

It was a fun game, but after several days of looking at corporate logos, I was ready to go looking for the subtler hues of nature in Louisiana in winter. What fun it was to find this red buckeye flower stalk with its wonderful reddish pink florets!

This treat for the eyes was photographed at the Charles Allen Biological Station near Copenhagen, La.

Monday, February 18, 2013

Photographer's Journal

"Wide Open" [Cross Vine (Bignonia capreolata)]

This was another discovery on my third trip to the Charles Allen Biological Station, not as spectacular as the orchid Matt Herron found, but Matt congratulated me on spotting it. In the summer, cross vine bears reddish-orange and yellow flowers and is a lot easier to spot. This is the fruit left behind that splits open to release the seeds. I was please that this particular fruit still had seeds; that's the reddish brown papery thing you see inside the wide open fruit.

My "Trees, Shrubs, and Woody Vines of Louisiana" by Charles Allen, Dawn Newman & Harry Winters tells me the roots of this plant are a source of sarsaparilla. The name comes from the cross shape formed by the pith, which can be seen by cutting a cross-section of stem. I didn't. I'll take the book's word for it!

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Great find!

Southern Twayblade (Listera australis)

This small plant is in the orchid family. Matthew Herron, a graduate student in biology, spotted it today at the Charles Allen Biological Station (CABS) near Copenhagen, La. I have identified it--I hope correctly--using the wonderful "Louisiana Wildflower Guide," by Charles Allen, Kenneth Willson and Harry Winters. In fact, this is probably two plants growing close together.

Matt and about a dozen students were at CABS today to do clean up and I tagged along to document proceedings. Matt bent down to pick up a piece of trash and spotted this little beauty. As the book states, "This species is probably more common than the records indicate, as it is easily overlooked due to its size." We did not measure these, but I'd guess the tallest stalk to be about 8 inches.

Way to go, Matt! Although the wildflower guide lists quite a few orchid species that grow in Louisiana, this was my first opportunity to see one in the wild. Now I know what to look for!

Friday, February 15, 2013

Photographer's Journal

Lace Over

I am endlessly fascinated by the moods of the cattail pond on the Charles Allen Biological Station near Columbia, La. On my second visit in late January, I approached the pond in early afternoon from a side I had not visited before. I stood on the edge of the pond among saplings that still hung on to their dead and shriveled autumn leaves. I didn't look closely at the trees; I'm not sure what they were, but several tree species in Louisiana hang on to dead leaves until they are pushed off by new buds in spring.

And I reveled in the delicate tracery of the shadows of those leaves on the seemingly solid algae-bloom surface of the pond.


Thursday, February 14, 2013

Photographer's Journal

Glancing Light
A shaft of light reached into the woods and drew my eye to the shelving mushrooms on the trunk of this tree. The tree was down a steep ridge from the path, and so I was about eye-level with the mushrooms, even though they were high on the tree. When I walked a little farther, I looked at the tree again, and saw that the bark of the tree around behind the mushrooms was white--still on the tree and looking normal except stained with a large blog of white.

This shot is from my second trip to the ULM field biology acreage near Columbia. It will be called the Charles Allen Biological Station. This Saturday, a group of biology department students will spend a day at the Station picking up trash, clearing fallen trees off trails, digging a fire pit for a camping area, and so forth. I'll go down at about noon and spend a few hours photographing the work. Can't wait!

Wednesday, February 6, 2013

iPhone Diary

iPhone Diary: 6 February 2013 (Serendipity)

Monday, February 4, 2013

Gems of the Sea

Here come de judge!
This French Angel swam straight into my lens when I was shooting macro with my Nikonos II underwater camera. The Nikonos II is a rangefinder camera, meaning you are looking through a viewfinder that shows you approximately but not exactly how you have composed your shot. In addition, the lens must be focused by estimating the distance to the subject and setting it manually with a knob on the side of the lens. So.... I am still amazed that in my great surprise when this beauty swam into my lens, I still managed a good composition with sharp focus!