Ending the Week With a Little Beauty

Today’s post features some of Missouri’s earliest wildflowers that I find every year … Spring Beauties. The images in this post came from both Ha Ha Tonka State Park, and Fiery Fork Conservation Area, both in the Missouri Ozarks.

Here are some of my favorites:

Spring Beauty wildflowers

Spring Beauty wildflowers

Spring Beauty wildflowers

Spring Beauty wildflowers

Spring Beauty wildflowers

Spring Beauty wildflowers

Spring Beauty wildflowers

Spring Beauty wildflowers

These wildflowers are small and cheery, and make a bold statement … “Spring is here, in the Ozarks!”

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180 mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod
  • ISO 400 and ISO 500
  • Aperture f/3.5 f/5.6, and f/8
  • Shutter Speed 1/400 sec. to 1/4000 sec.

 

 

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Ringing in the Bluebells

Today’s post features one of my favorite, springtime woodland wildflowers … the Virginia Bluebells. While hiking at a new location I discovered last week, Burnt Mill Cave Conservation Area (in the Missouri Ozarks), I came upon my first Bluebell plants of the year. Although no bells were formed yet, they are certainly are on their way! Here are a couple of images of one of the many plants that are actively growing:

Virginia Bluebell buds

Virginia Bluebell buds

I will be making another trip to check on these beautiful wildflowers soon … stay tuned!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180 mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter Speed 1/8000 sec. and 1/2000 sec.

 

 

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Airing Dirty Laundry

Today’s post features some springtime, woodland wildflowers I found and photographed last week … Dutchman’s Breeches. While hiking at Ha Ha Tonka State Park (Missouri), I was happy to find quite a few breeches waving in the air! Here are some of my favorite images:

Dutchman's Breeches wildflowers

Dutchman's Breeches wildflowers

Dutchman's Breeches wildflowers

Dutchman's Breeches wildflowers

I’m planning on making another trip to Burnt Mill Cave CA soon … possibly this week, to check on the bluebells and other woodland wildflowers there. Coming up … more spring wildflowers.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180 mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod
  • ISO 400 (images #1 and #3), ISO 800 (image #2) and ISO 8000 (bottom)
  • Aperture f/3.5 (top 3 images) and f/32 (bottom image)
  • Shutter Speed 1/180 sec. (all)

 

 

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A Recent Passerby

Today’s post features another recent visitor to the Lake of the Ozarks (MO) … a Horned Grebe (thanks Tom/Lindsay, for ID assistance!).

While working outside, I spotted this single Horned Grebe that was fishing in the lake. I never saw him catch any fish, but he was quite spectacular to watch!

Horned Grebe

Horned Grebe

And here is a greatly enlarged photo of this beautifully-colored grebe:

Horned Grebe (enlarged)

Coming up … more spring, woodland wildflowers I’ve been photographing in several woodlands in the Ozarks of Missouri.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400 mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld from our dock, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter Speed 1/250 sec. and 1/350 sec.

 

 

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Welcome to the Looney Farm!

Today’s post features some images I captured Saturday, on the lake behind our Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri) home … a migrating Common Loon decided to stop by and do some fishing!

While working outside, preparing our spring butterfly gardens, a single Common Loon drake (male) flew in to the lake and spent 2-3 hours swimming around and fishing. Here are a few of my favorite images:

Common Loon

After swimming around and unsuccessfully fishing, he finally “hooked a big one!”

Common Loon with fish

Common Loon with fish

Common Loon with fish

Common Loon with fish

The fish was quite large … he struggled for at least 20 minutes before he was able to swallow it! To celebrate his success, he then performed a “wing flap”:

Common Loon

Coming up … more Missouri spring wildflowers.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400 mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld from our dock, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400 and ISO 500
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter Speed 1/500 sec. to 1/1500 sec.

 

 

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Toothwort

Today I’m featuring another spring, woodland wildflower found in much of Missouri … Toothwort. These images were captured this past Monday as I hiked the Natural Bridge Trail at Ha Ha Tonka State Park (Missouri).

In this first image, a young toothwort wildflower is growing up, through the leaf litter of the woodland trail:

Toothwort wildflower

A closeup of the toothwort leaves shows the characteristic, “toothed” or serrated leaves:

Toothwort wildflower

Although not many toothworts were blooming yet, this is one of the first I found (note the light lavender petals … they range from white to pale lavender):

Toothwort wildflower

Coming up … more spring woodland wildflowers I’ve been finding and photographing.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 200 (top two images) and ISO 500 (bottom image)
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter Speed 1/45 sec. to 1/6000 sec.

 

 

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Harbinger of Spring

Today’s post features another sign of spring … capturing Harbinger of Spring wildflowers in bloom. When hiking the Natural Bridge Trail at Ha Ha Tonka SP (Missouri) on Monday, I ran across this small, secretive wildflower … Harbinger of Spring. This is the first time I’ve been able to photograph this little beauty.

This first image gives a sense of how small this wildflower is:

Harbinger of Spring wildflower

I then captured this macro photograph, showing the details of the plant:

Harbinger of Spring wildflower

The Harbinger of Spring is sometimes know as “Pepper and Salt”, describing the contrasty flower. This wildflower is one of Missouri’s earliest blooming wildflowers, starting blooming anytime from January to April, depending on the weather and conditions.  An interesting fact about this unique wildflower:  it starts to flower only 2″ to 3″ above ground, but later reaches to 8″ tall

Coming up … more spring, woodland wildflowers I’ve been photographing.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with ballhead
  • ISO 500
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter Speed 1/350 sec. and 1/180 sec.

 

 

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Another Sign of Spring

Today’s post features some images I captured this past Saturday. While on a ladder cleaning out the garage gutter, I saw a lot of black shadows passing along the shingles of the roof.  Looking up, I saw a group of about 25-30 American White Pelicans gliding overhead. I quickly got off the ladder, ran inside and grabbed my camera, and ran back outside … but the group was gone!

So taking a few minutes off from my gutter cleaning, I walked around to the lakeside of the house. Coming across the lake was another couple of groups of the pelicans. As they approached, I captured these images of the large, white birds:

American White Pelican

This next image is a closeup of the pelican on the righthand side (in the image above). Note the “horn” on his beak. This is a rounded keel that is a sign of a breeding pelican:

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelican

American White Pelicans are common here, during the spring migration. However, this year they decided not to stop and fish in our cove … I was hoping they would stop for the day so I could get the kayak out and get some fishing images … but not this year!

Coming up … I spent most of yesterday capturing wildflower images at both Ha Ha Tonka State Park, followed by a hike on the woodland trail at Fiery Fork Conservation Area (both in Missouri). I identified at least a dozen different wildflowers, along with a few unidentified ones. Stay tuned for some new wildflower images.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 100-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6 IS lens
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter Speed 1/6000 sec. and 1/8000 sec.

 

 

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Buffleheads Arrive en Masse

Today’s post features some more Bufflehead duck images I captured recently at our Lake of the Ozarks (Missouri) home. For about a week, it seemed like there were constantly some Buffleheads fishing behind our dock. I typically have had trouble getting some decent images of these small, often shy little ducks. But I’ve had some pretty good luck here at the lake.  Here’s some of my favorite images:

Here is a pair of Buffleheads (drake leading the hen):

Bufflehead pair

A drake flies into the cove in early morning light:

Bufflehead drake in flight

And a couple of images of successful fishermen:

Bufflehead drake with fish

Bufflehead drake with fish

Coming up … more migrating ducks at the Lake.

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D Mark 2 body
  • Canon 500 mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC
  • Bogen 3221 tripod + Wemberly gimbal head
  • ISO 800 and ISO 1600 (flight image)
  • Aperture f/5.6 and f/6.3
  • Shutter Speed 1/320 sec. to 1/4000 sec.

 

 

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Spring is Finally Here!

Today’s post features some very early woodland wildflowers that I captured during a hike last week at Ha Ha Tonka State Park (Missouri). Being early, I wasn’t sure I’d find anything yet, but I did find one wildflower blooming and a couple of very early growths of other woodland wildflowers. I’m not totally confident of my identifications (very small plants, plus I can’t seem to find my all-important wildflower identification guide!), but my best guesses are:

False Rue Anemone:

Small, white woodland wildflower

Very small Columbine plants, growing out of the rock walls:

Columbine wildflower

Very small Trillium (I found some maroon-colored trilliums here last year):

Trillium wildflower

I’m planning on another hike, either later this week or early next week, to check on the progress of these, and to see if any new ones show up!

 

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon 180 mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Handheld
  • ISO 640
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter Speed 1/3000 sec., 1/6000 sec. and 1/8000 sec.

 

 

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