Little Pond 2009

July 2009

Saturday daybreak was misty. It's a challenge to get detail in the tendrils of the mist while keeping everything else bright. I tried an HDR (high dynamic range) approach, but I didn't like the result.

Another view of misty daybreak.

On the same morning, I noticed this fellow rooting around in the underbrush on the boundary of my campsite. It's an American Woodcock. It was very dark, so I used a flash. I'm not a fan of flash photography, but the shot was impossible otherwise.
Would you look at the schnoz on that thing!
My second and last fauna shot. There were birds about – robins, sparrows, catbirds, and redknots. However, they were too quick and too far away to get good shots. This is a newt being tormented by a niece.
On to the flora. Black-eyed Susan. The white spots on the petals are actually left over morning dew.
Another common wildflower – an Oxeye Daisy.
I think this is a type of Mallow. My Wildflower guide did not have anything exactly like it. It is common for photographers to walk around with a spray bottle to put water droplets on flowers. I certify that these droplets are from real dew. No spray bottles in my camera bag.
The wildflower guide had nothing like this; so I don't know what to call it. The twisty-curly stamen is unique. When I looked at it with the naked eye, I thought, "Oh, what a shame. There's a worm in the middle." But it turned out to be the stamen! I'm disappointed in this shot because the flower was no more than a half inch in diameter at the end of a long stem and it was swaying in the breeze, which wouldn't stop for a second. Just when I thought the image was steady, it started swaying again before I could release the shutter. I was kneeling in an uncomfortable (read that "painful" for my old joints) position. I did some work on it in Photoshop, but I'm still not happy with it.
Last of the pink ones. This is a red clover, which was growing bright, big, and vibrant in the Catskill Mountains. The next time you step on a red clover, contemplate its exquisite beauty.
The more common name is Spotted Touch-Me-Not. But it was easier to name the file Jewelweed, which is a lesser-known name. It's a small flower that was blooming everywhere. With a macro lens, one can reveal aspects of a flower that normally escape notice, don't you think? According to the Audubon guide, Native Americans once used this plant to cure fungal infections. Scientific studies have borne out these qualities.
Yarrow, not to be confused with Queen Anne's Lace. Medicinal properties again; the guide states that Native Americans used it to break a fever, treat hemorrhaging, and as a poultice for rashes. They made a tea to treat stomach disorders. This one was blooming on a long stem in the middle of an apparently seldom used dirt road.
Indian Pipe. I have seen this plant every year. However (1) I thought it was a fungus or a mushroom, and (2) I never got a shot that I liked. All has now been resolved. To address the second point, I'm happy with the shot. Regarding the first point, the wildflower guide calls it a plant, even though it's not green (no chlorophyl). However – and this is where I claim some vindication – quoting the guide, it "gets its nourishment from decayed organic material through a fungal relationship associated with the roots." Anyway, I think it's a cool plant. Which segueues us now into the fungal world.
A common toadstool. These are difficult photographic subjects because they live in the shadows (which means slow shutter speeds that demand a tripod) and the tops are usually overexposed. I used a little Photoshop sleight of hand to bring back the top. Can you tell?
I thought this little fellow was a good metaphor for a resilient trooper. It's got leaf debris all over it and some forest critter took a nip out of it. I guess it's not your perfect specimen, but I think it shows character. The color is nice too. It's probably lethal for humans.
I usually see these all dried out, brown, gray, and haggard. This one looks fresh.
Mushrooms are magical. Most of their structure is below ground. In fact, I believe I read somewhere that the largest living creature is a fungus – it's even bigger than redwoods. The only part that we ever see is the spore dispensing part, which can appear overnight and be gone the next day. So I consider myself lucky to have gotten this shot.

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