Sunday, May 31, 2009

Birding by Ear "teaser"

Got back from my trip to the Wilds this afternoon. It was really amazing. Lots of life birds for me, one of which is pictured above. Do you know what it is?

I didn't get tons of great bird photos, but there are some. I will post more soon!
Posted by Picasa

Friday, May 29, 2009

More puppeh pix

Since I so often have my macro "filters" attached to my lens now, I thought I'd take some pictures of the mutts with it on. This requires me to get very close to my subject in order for the camera to get in focus.

Jupiter wasn't crazy about me putting the camera so close to her face. She vacated the deck soon after I took this picture.

Maybe I can take a picture of your foot instead?

Sorry Emmett, but I couldn't help posting this one. You just look so silly!

Of course his nose isn't really that long - the macro filters exaggerate long lines.

This is more like it.

Emmett, you're such a good model for the camera!

I'm off to the Wilds this weekend for some birding by ear, so I'll catch up with you all next week!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Nature, or art?

When I take photos of flowers (or just about any other thing out in nature), my purpose for taking the pictures is multitudinal. To play. To practice my photography skills. To get "documentary" style photos ("this is xyz flower/bird/etc."). And to get those "artistic" shots. I think that may be what brings me the greatest joy when it comes down to it. And I feel like I'm honing in on a "style" that works for me. Needless to say, I like to get creative with the beauty that Mother Nature makes so readily accessible.

Here, the documentary and the artistic intersect, with photos of two white flowers that I captured over this past weekend: Multiflora Rose and White Milkweed.

The Multiflora Rose is a very invasive plant, and is in the top 1o list of invasive plants for Ohio. According to the Ohio Agricultural Research and Development Center (OARCD, Ohio State Extension), it is most troublesome in southeastern Ohio. That's us! Fortunately, I've not noticed it spreading very fast on our own property, but in general this spring it seems like the plant has been going gangbusters all over the place around the county. I have never noticed such a profusion of the flowers in recent years. Which is not to say that my Multiflora Rose anntena have been especially tuned in in recent years, but.... Enough of this chit-chat, on with the show!

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Demunitive, Dainty and Demure

This past weekend I was still a bit under the weather, but I managed to spend plenty of time in early morning photographing flowers. I came across some great finds, some of which were tiny and required a sharp eye to catch. Here are a few of them...

This is called Large Twayblade. It's a member of the orchid family. I'm not terribly familiar with orchids, but when I saw the flowers, I thought they were reminiscent of orchids, so I was glad to see my hunch was right.

As you can see, this is not exactly a stand-out flower. No eye-popping color. Very low to the ground, mixing right in with the grass growing around it. I consider it a lucky sighting!

The flowers are very different-looking. They have kind of a waxy look to them, and you can see they are also a little translucent. They remind me of the webbed foot of a duck. The flowers themselves are probably only about 1" long.

I spent a long time with this flower, photographing it from many different angles, trying to capture its essence and beauty. However, I don't think you want to see 4o more pictures of it!

Another close-to-the ground flower, this is Common Speedwell. This is even more dainty than the Twayblade, with the flowers being only about 1/4".

It reminds me of Ground Ivy in its habit. My specimens seem to only be about 4 or 5" tall, but apparently they can get as tall as 18" (soil quality is a determining factor... I'd say clay and silt aren't conducive to tall growth).

What it lacks in size it makes up for in quantity. We have quite a few sizable patches of it growing in the more "waste areas" of the property (i.e. around the driveway).

Quite lovely, don't you think?

This is a flower I'm still trying to get an ID on. Also very tiny flowers, maybe 1/2". Possibly 5 or 6" tall.

Whatever it is, it's cute. If anyone has any ideas as to what this is, please chime in! So far this year I've been pretty lucky identifying wildflowers that are new to me, but this one has me stumped for now.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Tired, or full?

The other day I was preoccupied with some work when Dave walked in and pointed out this squirrel, laying down flat on his (or her) belly on the deck railing.

Was squirrel tired, or just overstuffed from eating all the bird seed in our feeders?

As I got closer to the patio door, squirrel got spooked and started descending the deck railing, only to flatten out on another landing farther downstairs. I love how even the tail is flattened out! And look at that arm dangle! Maybe squirrel was just enjoying the long holiday weekend.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Patriotic in flowers

Happy Memorial Day!

pictured: Begonia (red), Colt's Foot going to seed (white), and Grace Ward Lithodora (blue)

Sorry for the recent hiatus. I've been feeling a little funky lately, and now my voice is just about gone! I'm working on some new posts right now, though. Hope you all had a safe and fun holiday weekend.
Posted by Picasa

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

How Dandy

I know many folks do not like Dandelions.

They are a pain.
They are a weed.
They are... unwanted.

I feel lucky to live in an area where it doesn't matter if Dandelions grow all over the yard or around the edge of the driveway (although my allergies might beg to differ with me). And I think Dandelions are quite beautiful.

Each living thing serves a purpose on this planet, even if it may seem to be an inconvenience or a nuisance. And even the most ordinary or undesirable thing has its own special beauty - if we can just open our eyes to it.

Dandelion (Taraxacum officinale), ready to begin the cycle again

"The richness I achieve comes from Nature, the source of my inspiration."
-Claude Monet

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Wild grasses

The other day I was out trying to photograph the Blue-gray Gnatcatcher's nest that I recently discovered, hoping to catch either the male or the female at or around the nest. I heard them buzzing about, but they never approached the nest. I thought if I showed no interest in the nest they might come 'round, but alas that did not work. I did, however, get engrossed in all the wild grasses that were growing along the side of the road. There's something about grass that intrigues me. I guess it's the texture, and the way it sways so easily in the breeze...

Monday, May 18, 2009

Experimental Larkspur

By now you all know that I love to take pictures of flowers. In a quest to try something new, I went outside one evening with some colored backdrops (1 black, 1 off-white) to try capturing the wildflowers in my woods in a different way. I had lots of fun manipulating the photos in Picasa to get some interesting effects. The flower subject is Spring Larkspur, one of my favorites because of its intense, vibrant color.

I hope you enjoyed this experiment. I think I could probably do even more with these photos in the GIMP, so don't be surprised if they show up again looking a little different.

Happy photo-ing, happy flowering... and dare to be different!

Also, a general question to the commenters out there: Do you make use of the "email me follow-up comments" functionality within the comments section? Just wondering if it's safe for me to post any follow-up to your comments within the comments for that same post, of if I should be coming back to your blog to do so (I've seen it done both ways). Thanks for your input!