Proverbial Needle in a Haystack

During my recent Misssouri woodland wildflower workshops, we found two Striped Cream Violets (Viola striata) along the rocky hillside where the Columbine wildflowers grow. Here are a few I captured during a couple of the workshops:

Striped Cream Violet wildflower

Note: the bud just to the left (in the above photo) is a Violet Wood Sorrel, which grow rampant among this rocky slope)

Striped Cream Violet wildflower

Striped Cream Violet wildflower

These wildflowers begin flowering low to the ground. But as the season progresses, the flowers grow smaller and the plant grows taller … up to 2-feet tall! Beautiful littler gems to find! Guess we were living right to find our “needle in the haystack!”

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Graf Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/8 (top photo f/16)
  • Shutter 1/160 sec. (top photo 1/30 sec.)

 

 

Posted in 2015, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Wary Little Jumper

Warning to Arachnophobics:  Spider Images!

From one of my last trips to the nearby natural prairie, this little Metaphid Jumping Spider (Metaphidippus spp.) who was hiding under the shelter of a May Apple wildflower leaf. As he continued to hide, he would often peer from under the leaf at me:

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

Jumping Spider

I found this little guy while photographing wildflowers at the edge of the prairie. I see Jumping Spiders quite frequently. They are such fun to photograph as they forage around the prairie.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Graf Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/6.3 and f/8
  • Shutter 1/800 sec. and 1/320 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Blog, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Day Dreamin’

Just sitting here, day dreaming of some of my Alaska travels … and wishing I was back in Hallo Bay !

Triplet spring Brown Bear cubs

This image was made during one of our excursions to the beach area at Hallo Bay, Alaska. In late May/early June, everyone waits with anticipation as the brown bear sows move from their dens, high in the mountains surrounding Hallo Bay, to the beach at Hallo Bay, with their brand-new, spring cubs! These triplet cubs had just arrived at Hallo Bay with mom (she’s there, but just out of the frame), and was captured nearly 10 years ago. Spring cubs are so much fun to watch, constantly playing and jumping on each other! As I write this post, I’m longing to be back at Hallo Bay!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 2 body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, with Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 560mm
  • Handheld
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/250 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Blog, Fun Friday post, Mammals, National Park, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Stillwater Surprise

While in Stillwater, Oklahoma in April (for the Stillwater Art Festival), I decided to stay an extra evening and drive back the day after the show was over (hoping to avoid some of the nasty weather we had been experiencing over the weekend). After getting my luggage packed and just hanging around the motel, I looked out the window and saw a large flock of birds in a small tree, just outside the window. At first, it looked like a group of large sparrows. But upon closer inspection, I saw that they were one of my favorite birds … the Cedar Waxwing (Bombycilla cedrorum). I grabbed my camera out of the photo backpack and made my way to the motel’s back door. I could then tell that this was a huge flock … maybe as many as 50 birds!

Here are a few images I captured of the Cedar Waxwings as they foraged in the trees around the motel:

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

Cedar Waxwings

At one point, a smaller group let me get pretty close to them:

JimBraswell-G7D-7281-CedarWaxwings-5

A while later, part of the flock flew to the front of the motel and perched in a larger tree there:

Cedar Waxwings

I’ve been fortunate to see this bird around my home a few times, but having a couple of hours with them was really a nice ending to a great weekend show!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 375mm to 400mm
  • Handheld from vehicle window, with IS “On”
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/8 to f/11
  • Shutter 1/200 sec. to 1/320 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Art Festivals, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Squaw-weed

As of late, Squaw-weed (Packera obovata), also known as Round-leaved Groundsel, has been growing “like a weed” in the Missouri woodlands around me. This perennial wildflower grows to about 2-feet tall and is a member of the Daisy family. These colorful wildflowers typically grow in colonies in the wooded areas of the southern half of Missouri. Here are a few images I captured recently:

Squaw-weed wildflower

Squaw-weed wildflower

Even found one pollinator, busy at work on one of the plants (Paper Wasp, I believe):

Squaw-weed wildflower

I always enjoy seeing these beauties in the spring. They often grow so thick that the forest looks yellow!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Graf Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 400 (all photos)
  • Aperture f/3.5 and f/9
  • Shutter 1/250 sec. and 1/800 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Blog, Insect Photography, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Blue-eyed Grass

Another prairie wildflower now growing on the Missouri prairie, the Blue-eyed Grass (Sisyrinchium campestre), a member of the Iris family. Although this grass can grow to 2-feet tall, the ones I’ve been finding were closer to 12-inches. The flowers are small, blue 6-pointed stars, variable in size, but most are quite small (maybe 1/2 inch in diameter). Here are a couple of images captured on the nearby natural prairie:

Blue-eyed Prairie Grass wildflower

Blue-eyed Prairie Grass wildflower

More spring, prairie wildflowers to come!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Graf Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 500 (all photos)
  • Aperture f/8 (top photo) and f/3.5 (bottom photo)
  • Shutter 1/320 sec. (top photo) and 1/1000 sec. (bottom photo)

 

 

Posted in 2015, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Scissor-tailed Flycatchers

Today, I’m featuring some images of the Scissor-tailed Flycatchers (Tyrannus forficatus). I love watching these beautiful birds, with such long tails. Here are a few of my favorite images from my recent stop at Prairie State Park in southwest Missouri:

Scissor-tailed Flycatchers

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

So beautiful, yet such a struggle to fly, as I shared in yesterday’s post. All the yellow foliage is Yellow Rocket, aka Winter Cress wildflowers (Barbarea vulgaris).

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 400mm
  • Handheld from vehicle window, with IS “On”
  • ISO 640
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2500 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Needed, Brazilian Butt Lift

During my last trip to Prairie State Park in southwest Missouri, I looked for the Scissor-tailed Flycatcher (Tyrannus forficatus). Found a few in a scenic location of the park … in an unplowed field that had a lot of Yellow Rocket wildflowers. But today’s Fun Friday post is about the akward flight these lovely birds have to live with … the long length of their tails cause them to fly in a dip-like fashion. Here is an image I captured of one of the flycatchers as it flew across the field:

Scissor-tailed Flycatcher

In another post, I’ll share some static images of this beautiful bird as it perched in the fields and meadows of Prairie State Park.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF 100-400mm, f/4.5-f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 400mm
  • Handheld from vehicle window, with IS “On”
  • ISO 640
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Unexpected Surprise

Yesterday was a very successful day in the field. While conducting another woodland wildflower, in-the-field workshop, I found a “life” wildflower … a few Jack-in-the-Pulpits, which I’ll share in an upcoming post. After the workshop ended, I decided to check out the nearby natural prairie for progress with wildflowers there. On my trek through the prairie, I have to hike through about 1/8 mile of woods. Along the way, I found a juvenile Eastern Gray Treefrog (Hyla versicolor) along the trail. Fortunately, I had my macro lens on my camera, so I stopped for a few minutes and captured some images. Here are my favorites:

Eastern Gray Treefrog

Eastern Gray Treefrog

Eastern Gray Treefrog

Eastern Gray Treefrog

You might notice that the frog looks more brown, than gray, in these images. This species of treefrog can be gray, greenish-gray or brown. Another noted coloration of this treefrog is that they always have a large, white marking below each eye (visible in the above photos). Their call is a bird-like, musical trill. I have been hearing them in the woodlands, but this is my first-of-year sighting. Although the Eastern gray treefrog is a forest-dwelling species, they breed in late May and early June, in fishless, woodland ponds. The average size of these frogs is from 1 1/2 inches to 2 inches in length. You might also note the large, adhesive toe pads on their fingers and toes. I have these special creatures living in the woods around my rural home and often see them “stuck” to the windows or doors of my home in the summer. :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Graf Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/3.5 to f/8
  • Shutter 1/40 sec. to 1/400 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Reptiles and Amphibians | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Wild Hyacinths

A few more spring, woodland wildflowers will be shared soon, but today’s post is from the local, natural prairie that I hiked/photographed a few days ago.

When I visited this great prairie in late winter, I was pleased to find that a new section of the prairie had experienced a controlled burn over the winter. Controlled, or prescribed burns are a necessity on the prairie for two main reasons: (1) burning is one good way to keep invasive and non-native plants from taking over the prairie land, and (2) burning prepares the land for a “fresh start” of all prairie wildflowers, eliminating competition between the wildflowers and other plants, and adding organic matter (burnt plant material) to the soil.

As I had hoped, this area seems to be clear of the invasive sumacs (burnt stems of the plants are literally everywhere) and I found multiple species of prairie wildflowers flourishing and some even blooming. One of those was the Wild Hyacinth (Camassia scilloides), which I’m sharing today. Here are a few of the images I captured as the Wild Hyacinths began blooming:

Wild Hyacinth wildflower

Wild Hyacinth wildflower

In this next image, the plant has budded, and about ready to start blooming:

Wild Hyacinth wildflower

The Wild Hyacinth is a member of the Lily family. It’s flowers are white to bluish-white, fragrant, and as many as 20 small flowers on long flower stalks. It may reach up to 2-feet tall, however the ones I found were only about 12-inches tall. The bulbs of this plant were eaten by native Americans.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Graf Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/800 sec. to 1/3200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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