Archive for April 7th, 2010



Maple Flowers

You might not have noticed Maple Flowers. They are small. They come early. They are generally high off the ground in the unreachable tops of tall trees. And they don’t last long. But they are beautiful and, for me, one of the delights of spring.

I have been watching the Maple flowers more closely than usual this year for some reason. I noticed them on the trees in the back yard when they were still just tiny hard red balls on the branches. It took over three weeks, in our tidal zone with its still ocean-cold nights, for them to progress from that stage to full flower. I know. I was watching. I was waiting.

The trick with maple flowers is to find a tree mature enough to make them, but short enough so you can reach them for a picture. This tree literally pulled me up short as I was driving by on my way back from Rachel Carson NWR last weekend. It was right beside the road at the head of Fernald Pond, and the lower branches were in easy reach. I turned around and drove back, parked at the pond, and took quite a few shots. The wind was blowing, and this shot is cropped from the side because I had to hold the branch down and still, with the camera one-handed in the other, and on 28mm and Super-macro I could not keep my fingers out of the frame. Crop crop. I also used Exposure Lock and Program Shift to set a smaller aperture for increased depth of field. I wanted to keep the whole cluster in focus.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm equivalent and Super-macro. F7.1 @ 1/100th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto with Exposure Lock and Program Shift.

In Lightroom, some Recovery for the sky and background, Blackpoint to the right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen landscape preset.

And, just for interest, a few more maple flower shots. After all, they only come once a year. The last shot is how you generally see them…just a kind of red haze on the branches of tall maple trees.