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: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

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: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

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: , , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Blue Phlox, Post 2

In yesterday’s post, I featured some individual flower/plant images of the Blue Phlox woodland wildflowers. In today’s post, I’m featuring images of groups of Blue Phlox growing in small colonies:

Blue Phlox wildflower

Blue Phlox wildflower

Blue Phlox wildflower

As mentioned in my last post, this has to be the best display of Blue Phlox at this location that I’ve seen! Can it get even better next year? :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 800
  • Aperture f/11 and f/16 (for more depth of field)
  • Shutter 1/125 sec. to 1/160 sec.

 

Posted in 2015, Blog, Macro Photography, Nature Photography, Photography Workshop, Wildflowers | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment

Blue Phlox, Post 1

Today’s post is the first part of two, featuring the Blue Phlox wildflowers (Phlox divaricata), also know as Wild Sweet William. The Blue Phlox wildflowers have been outstanding over the past week. It’s hard to speculate what has caused such a great display this year, but likely is due to moisture and temperatures. In years past, there have been plenty of Blue Phlox to photograph, but usually only single plants, or very small number of plants together in a “colony”. This year, I have seen many large colonies, where the phlox looks almost like a bush! Here are a few of my favorite images I captured of single, or small colony blooms:

Blue Phlox wildflower

Blue Phlox wildflower

Blue Phlox wildflower

Blue Phlox wildflower

Blue Phlox wildflower

In the next post, I’ll share some images I captured of the Blue Phlox “colonies”.

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 180mm, f/3.5 macro lens
  • Bogen 3221 tripod, with Graf Studioball ballhead
  • ISO 800 (a bit windy, so high ISO used to assure fast shutter to stop movement of flowers in the wind)
  • Aperture f/5 and f/8
  • Shutter 1/1250 sec. to 1/2000 sec.

 

 

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

Shepherd’s Purse

Today’s post comes from my hike a few days ago on the local, natural prairie. I don’t recall every seeing this wildflower on the prairie before, but I found a small patch of them growing along the edge of the woods:

Shepherd's Purse wildflower

This is a Shepherd’s Purse (Capsella bursa-pastoris), a member of the mustard family, and is a native of Europe. It can be found at nearly any open habitat within the state.

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/8
  • Shutter 1/200 sec.

 

 

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

Sweet Blue-eyed Mary

While hiking the nearby natural prairie on Thursday evening, I ran across a patch of Blue-eyed Mary wildflowers (Collinsia verna) growing along the edge of the woods. Here are a few images I captured:

Blue-eyed Mary wildflower

Blue-eyed Mary wildflower

Blue-eyed Mary wildflower

The Blue-eyed Mary wildflowers are in the figwort family. Small and dainty, they grow to about 15-inches high. The flowers grow with their upper lobes white and their lower lobes blue. Often, this wildflower is grown in humus-rich gardens, where it self-seeds readily.

This was my first trip to the prairie for a while and I found many wildflower plants emerging, with some even blooming! The controlled burn that the state conservation group conducted over the winter has severely cut back the amount of invasive plants (particularly, sumac) and it looks like this is going to be a banner year for prairie wildflowers in the burned area!

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 1/500 sec.

 

 

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

Fun Friday: You Lookin’ at Me?

During last weekend’s art festival in downtown Stillwater, Oklahoma, my booth was directly in front of the Oklahoma State University’s (OSU) Museum of Art. On both sides of the entrance to the museum, were flower beds that contained very colorful violas. To go one step further, these colorful little beauties appeared to be tiny faces … watching me! Here are a couple of images of the violas, first one of the beds:

Violas in bloom

And an enlargement of one of the flowers:

Enlarged Viola bloom

This helped make the weekend a very colorful one!

Photographic Equipment Used:

  • Canon 5D Mark 3 body
  • Canon EF 28mm-135mm, f/3.5-f/5.6 IS lens, shot at 135mm
  • Handheld, with IS “On”
  • ISO 200
  • Aperture f/5.6
  • Shutter 1/1000 sec.

 

 

Posted in 2015, Art Festivals, Blog, Fun Friday post, Landscape Photography, Nature Photography, Travel Photography | Tags: , , , , , , , , , ,
Leave a comment