Wildflower ID Help Requested

(Note: Since posting this early this morning, my friend Ana has sent me some links that tend to indicate this is a “White Wind Flower”, or Anemone caroliniana. Looking at some more images, I agree with Ana … thanks, Ana!)

Today’s post features an unidentified white wildflower I found at Prairie State Park in southwest Missouri last May. It was growing on a prairie, not far from the road, in some heavy grasses:

Unidentified white wildflower

If you look closely, you will see that the backside seems to be purple in color. This is a beautiful wildflower and I’m hoping someone out there can help me identify it. And I’m hoping to find more of them at the park in a few weeks.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Gitzo 1258-LVL carbon fiber tripod, with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8
  • Shutter 1/160 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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A Little Birdie Told Me

Today’s post features some gorgeous wildflowers I found last spring at Prairie State Park in southwest Missouri. At the time, I had not a clue as to what I had found growing along the top of one of the prairies. Fortunately, my friend Gerry Williamson (@USWildflowers on Twitter) posted a photo of these guys a couple of days ago. Thinking they looked familiar, I went back to last year’s images and quickly found my “unknown” wildflowers … the Bird’s-foot Violet (Viola pedata). Some more common names I have found for this wildflower include pansy violet, and hens and roosters. Here are a couple of images I captured last spring:

Bird's-foot Violet

Bird's-foot Violet

I think you will agree they are very beautiful works of Mother Nature! And why are they called Bird’s-foot Violet? The leaves of this plant (not clearly shown in these images) are deeply disected “like a bird’s foot”. And thanks, Gerry, for helping me identify these beauties! And

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Gitzo 1258-LVL carbon fiber tripod, with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/8 and f/11
  • Shutter 1/640 sec. and 1/320 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Time for a Nap

Sea Otter napping while floating along the water

While kayaking outside Tutka Bay, Alaska, I came upon this Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) who was just hangin’ out, catching 40 winks. As I kayaked past him, he lazily opened one eye, just enough to watch me coast by.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6, IS lens, shot at 390mm
  • Handheld from a kayak, with IS “On”
  • ISO 800
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/2,000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Fun Friday post, Mammals, Nature Photography, Photography from a kayak, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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From Buds to Blooms

After our recent cold snap and snow, yesterday I went back to the nearby woodlands where I love to photograph spring woodland wildflowers. As I had suspected, the Virginia Bluebells were really beginning to burst into bloom. I couldn’t “weed out” my favorite images, so I decided to feature these 6 images. See if you can pick out a favorite:

Virginia Bluebell wildflowers

Virginia Bluebell wildflowers

Virginia Bluebell wildflowers

Virginia Bluebell wildflowers

Virginia Bluebell wildflowers

Virginia Bluebell wildflowers

I’ll be spending more time at this wonderful place over the next few weeks as more wildflowers are beginning to poke through the leaf litter. And May Apples are up and actively growing, but no “apples” yet. It appears they are trying to move the calendar “up” :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Gitzo 1258-LVL carbon fiber tripod, with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5 to f/16 (changed to get varying depth of field)
  • Shutter 1/20 sec. to 1/200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Dog-tooth Violets Beginning to Bloom

Last week on my hike through a woodland area near my Missouri home, I came across a lot of Dog-tooth Violets (Erythronium albidum), also sometimes called the Trout Lily. These are beautiful little wildflowers and I watch for them every spring as they seem to appear overnight and burst into a wonderful, little wildflower. In this image, I captured 15 images, each with a very small depth of field, then combined them together to get a single image with the entire wildflower in sharp focus (“focus stacking”):

Dog-tooth Violet wildflower as it begins to bloom

 

This bloom is still in it’s initial stages. Within a very short time, all of the white petals will recurve and fold upwards, like this one I found last spring:

Dog-eared Violet

Dog-toothed Violet (Trout Lily)

I’m hoping to find more of these beauties when I resume my woodland walks!

Photographic Equipment Used (top image):

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Gitzo 1258-LVL carbon fiber tripod, with Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/500 sec.
  • 15 images captured and stacked in HeliconFocus software

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Total Lunar Eclipse

I’m back from a short break. After a freak accident and a resulting death in the family, I’ve been away for a few days. I’m back for now, but will likely be away from the computer some more as we get all details ironed out and matters taken care of. In the meanwhile, enjoy a few more posts.

I was up all night last evening, finally hitting the sack at 5:00am this morning. But Mother Nature was on my side and, after a day of snowflakes and cold weather, the night skies opened up (with only a scattering of low clouds every now-and-again), allowing me to capture the total lunar eclipse. This first image was made at the height of the eclipse, when the moon looked a reddish-orange: Total Lunar And if you missed the eclipse, here is a composite I put together of the eclipse, from start to finish: Total Lunar Eclipse - composite of the eclipse And if you missed this opportunity, another one will be coming around in October. Let’s hope we have some nice weather then, too! Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF500mm, f/4 IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC = 700mm
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Wemberly gimball head and made using a Canon TC-80N3 Timer Remote Controller
  • ISO 500 (with exception of “blood red” shot, which was shot at ISO 1000)
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/60 sec. to 1/320 sec.
Posted in 2014, Astrophotography, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , ,
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Fun Friday: Anybody There?

Great Egret

Wading birds, in particular the herons and egrets, can be comical to watch. As in the case with this Great Egret (Ardea alba), they will often cock their heads at an angle, conjuring up all sorts of possible captions! In reality, they are simply working at minimizing the glare from the water so that they can more easily spot their aquatic prey (fish, frogs, crayfish, etc.) in the water.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6, IS lens + Canon 1.4x TC, shot at 220 mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 1600 (due to early morning, low light level)
  • Aperture f/9
  • Shutter 1/100 sec.

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Fun Friday post, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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“Who Cooks For You?”

Back to more wildflowers soon. But today’s post greeted me as I awoke yesterday morning. Walking outside to put up the bird feeders (we have to keep them down at night or the raccoons hang from them, grabbing seed and demolishing them), when I looked up and saw a Barred Owl (Strix varia) fly by, at eye level, just feet from me. I then heard the distinct call of “Who, who, who cooks for you?”, coming from 4 separate barred owls, situated in the woods that surround my home. Quickly, I returned inside and grabbed my camera and began looking for a clear shot of one of the owls. I did manage to find one owl that gave me a pretty clear pathway to them:

Barred Owl

Barred Owl

Barred owls are very common around my house. One of my favorite things is to go to bed on a warm, spring night and listen to multiple owls calling out … just like “counting sheep”!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF100mm-400mm, f/4.5 – f/5.6, IS lens, shot at 400mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/100 sec. and 1/200 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Bird Photography, Birds, Blog, Nature Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
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Solitaire

Bluebell wildflower

Hiking over ~2 acres of woodlands yesterday, I was surrounded by hundreds of Virginia Bluebell plants. Some of the plants had yet to develop buds, but most of them were covered with buds … just sitting there, ready to burst into beautiful blue bells! Out of my 2-hour hike, I was able to find a single plant with a blue bell bloom on it, and surrounded by little buds, just waiting to come alive! More wildflower posts to come from this wonderful woodland, soon.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 7D body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Gitzo 1258-LVL carbon fiber tripod, with a Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 400
  • Aperture f/3.5
  • Shutter 1/125 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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Baby Breeches

I made my first-of-year outings, looking for woodland wildflowers yesterday morning. I was pleasantly surprised at finding several species growing through the leaf mulch that covered the floor of the woods. I was especially surprised when I saw several Dutchman’s Breeches (Dicentra cucullaria). This is a very common spring wildflower in my area, but what was surprising was the extremely small size of the blooms. They were fully formed, but about half the height of the typical plants. I suspect this is a result of our recent cold weather. I did notice a lot of larger Dutchman’s Breeches plants, but none had buds or flowers yet. Moving in tight with my macro lens, I captured these images:

Dutchman's Breeches wildflowers

This next image was captured by making 7 individual images, each with a different plane in focus, then combining them in Helicon Focus software (this technique is called “Focus Stacking” and allows one to create an image with the entire subject in focus, but still keeping a small Depth of Field so that everything else in the frame is out of focus).

Dutchman's Breeches wildflowers

Along with the Dutchman’s Breeches, I saw lots of buds on Bluebells, as well as some Dog-eared Violets emerging through the leaf litter. And there will be more species appearing very soon, especially with the warmer weather predicted for the next week! :o)

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 1D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Gitzo 1258-LVL tripod, with a Kirk Ent. HD ballhead
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/8 and f/5 (focus stacked images)
  • Shutter 1/50 sec. and 1/125 sec. (focus stacked images)
  • Helicon Focus software used to combine the 7 individual images of the focus-stacked image

 

 

Posted in 2014, Blog, focus stacking, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
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