Archive for the 'wildflower' Category


10/3/2010: Peat Bog details

Happy Sunday!

As I said yesterday, the peat bog at Quoddy Head State Park is a vibrant habitat. I don’t know how it looks in spring or summer, but in fall, the dense mix of mosses and lichens, in shades of red and green (and even white) form a rich carpet, dotted with an amazing abundance of pitcher plants, most of which in this season are deep red or even purple. The closer you look the more inspiring it becomes. The contrasts of color and texture and form, and the variety packed into every square foot, are, to my eye, wonderfully beautiful.

It makes me want, as few habitats to, to study…to find out what all these plants are and how they are related. The carpet of the bog is so alive…I want to know how it works. There has to be a fascinating story in anything so intricate and so beautiful.

And, of course (being Sunday), while there is certainly a science that makes up the story, for me it will always be the story of a Creator from whom I inherit the eye and the heart that can appreciate such intricate beauty: that can stand in awe and respond in worship.

This is the kind of environment and the kind of work that brings out the best in the Canon SX20IS. This set of shots runs from one end of the macro zoom range to the other; several would have been very difficult, shooting from the narrow boardwalk, without the lip out LCD viewer; and the detail shots, in the dim light of foggy day, are all at an impressive ISO 200. And I can fully appreciate the beauty in Canon’s accomplishment as well.


Of course, I do plan a trip back to Quoddy Head in the spring to see what the peat bog looks like then!


9/2/2010: Fox Pond, Maine

And so we leave rainy Germany and merry old England (also rainy) for perhaps another year, and return to home and Maine. Last weekend I drove my daughter to her first days of college in Machais, and, on the way back to Bar Harbor, where we planned to spend the night, my TomTom (on the iPhone) took me a shortcut across the mountains inland from US Route 1 and the coast. The sign as you turn on Route 182 says it is a Maine Scenic Byway, and it is indeed. The road climbs through the low coastal mountains, up and down, past streams and lakes and ponds. It was a glorious day. Good job TomTom! The only complaint I have about this shortcut is that it was, considering the wonderful scenery, too short!

This is Fox Pond, about 2/3rds of the way between the two ends of the loop of US 1 that 182 cuts off. A low angle shot with the SX20IS flip out LCD to get the water hyacinth in frame.

I used a single image tone-mapping in Photomatix to give it an HDR effect, before bringing it into Lightroom for final adjustments of Exposure, Blackpoint, Clarity, and Sharpen. I also had to straighten it a bit.

Canon SX20IS @ 28mm equivalent @ f8 @ 1/400th @ ISO 80. Aperture preferred so I could use a small f-stop for depth of field. The hyacinth was barely a foot away.

From Machias 2010.



Cotton Grass

(Still in Germany)

On the bog in August, about the only thing blooming (or looking like it is blooming), is the Cotton Grass. These tuffs of cottony fiber with their attendant spears dot the marsh and provide contrast with the blueberries that make up the mass of the surface vegetation. I got down low, using Macro on the SD4000IS for this shot (really missed the swing out LCD on the SX20IS!).

Canon SD4000IS at 28mm equivalent and macro. F2.8 @ 1/640th @ ISO 125. Programmed auto.

In Lightroom, Blackpoint right, added Clarity and Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Saco Heath.



Painted Lady! (and the nature of grace)

Happy Sunday.

When this is posted, I will be somewhere in the air between Portland Maine and Philadelphia, on the first leg of a day-long (14 hour) trip to California. At least I don’t have to go by wagon train.

And, of course, the Painted Lady is a long distance traveler too. This butterfly, if I understand it correctly, came up from Mexico this spring. They used to come through Rehoboth, New Mexico (where I lived for many years, many years ago) in waves. You could stand in a field and watch them pass, 150 or more in a line across the field and lines hitting every few moments for most of a day. And that was just our soccer field.

I was out digiscoping, still learning my new camera, when this Lady lit on the blossoms. I still had the the camera at –2EV exposure compensation from attempting to photograph a Snowy Egret and it metered correctly for the sunlit butterfly and blooms, but threw the shadowed background completely black. I could not have achieved this effect if I were trying. It looks like a studio shot. Sometimes you just get blessed beyond your deserts…which is why photography always keeps me aware of grace.

And, what more could you ask for on a Sunday?

Canon SD4000IS Digital Elph behind the eyepiece of a ZEISS DiaScope 65FL. F5 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 250. Programmed auto. –2EV.

Some Recovery in Lightroom. Blackpoint just right. Added Clarity and Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. Cropped for composition.

From DiaScope 65FL. View it as large as you like on Wide Eyed In Wonder by clicking the image.



Wood Lily

I don’t know how I have missed this beautiful native lily all these years, but this is, if memory serves me right (and it may not) the first one I have ever seen. A single plant growing beside the Kennebunk Bridle Path on the ocean side of Route 9.

This is a good example of “why take one, when you can take 3?”…and, of course, these are just the 3 I kept out of about 10 different shots, and 10 different angles on this single bloom.

Canon SX20IS. 1) 560mm equivalent @  f5.7 @ 1/640th @ ISO 400. Aperture preferred. 2) 28mm equivalent, macro @ f5.6 @ 1/360th @ ISO 80, Aperture preferred. 3) 28mm equivalent, super-macro @ f5.6 @ 1/2500th @ ISO 125, Aperture preferred.

All processed in Lightroom. The top two my standard treatment: Blackpoint right, added Clarity and a bit of Vibrance, and Sharpen narrow edges preset. The bottom one required a lot of Recovery for the sky, Fill Light for the lily, as well as the standard.

From Around Home 2010.



The Very Last Flowers from Machias

So, apparently I lied about the Last Flower from Machias, but when getting some pics of my daughter’s concert appearance off the card, I discovered a few more from the overgrown flower maze at University of Maine at Machias that I had not remembered taking. I took an early morning walk on our last day there and went by the garden. It was still in shade, but the subtle light produced an interesting depth to the colors, and the mixed daises and these yellowish flowers produced interesting patterns when isolated at the long end of the zoom.

Canon SX20IS at 560mm equivalent. F5.7 @ 1/125 @ ISO 200. Landscape program and –2/3 EV exposure compensation for the white petals.

Still, a bit of Recovery in Lightroom for those same petals. Fill Light for the rest, and Blackpoint just slightly right. Added Clarity and a tiny bit of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Machias 2010.



One Last Flower from Machais

You may have noticed that I had lots of fun in the overgrown flower maze at the University of Maine at Machias…but I promise this is the last set from there (for now).

The delicate blues and purples of this bloom, highlighted in the sun, are what caught my eye of course.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm and Super-macro. F2.8 @ 1/1000th @ ISO 200. Programmed auto.

And this one, not in as full light, and from a lower angle to put it in context. Cropped slightly for composition. F2.8 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 80. Programmed Auto. –1.3 EV exposure compensation.

I could almost build a preset for Lightroom. A touch of Recovery for the highlights. Fill Light (more on the second shot) and Blackpoint just barely right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset. The reason I don’t build a preset is the Blackpoint adjustment, which must be carefully gauged for each image. The top image showed considerable purple fringing along the out of focus flower edge on the right. I was able to remove some of it in Lightroom.

From Machias 2010.



Yellow Loosestrife and Daisies

It took me 30 minutes to find this yellow flower on the internet…for some reason it has escaped my notice until now…until I found masses of it growing in the overgrown flower maze at the University of Maine at  Machias. In the top image, the Loosestrife forms a backdrop for the small cluster of Daisies. The second is, of course, an uncompromising portrait of the the blossoms taken in Super-macro mode with the lens hood touching the flowers at the top.

Canon SX20IS at Macro and Super-macro and 28mm equivalent. 1) F2.8 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 160, 2) f2.8 @ 1/400 @ ISO 80. Programmed auto. –1 EV exposure compensation.

In Lightroom 3, Recovery for highlights, added Fill Light and Blackpoint just to the right. Added Clarity and very little Vibrance, Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Machias 2010.



Up with Flowers!

Happy Sunday!

Anther shot from the overgrown flower maze at the University of Machias. Daises and Lupine in abundance. This shot, from an odd angle, low down among the stems, captures some of the riot of blooms.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm and Super-macro. F3.5 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 160. Programmed auto.

Recovery in Lightroom 3 for the white petals and the sky. Fill Light and Blackpoint just barely right. Added Clarity and just a touch of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Machias 2010.



Red and White (and Yellow)

There is a neglected and overgrown flower maze on the campus of University of Maine at Machias, and I spent a happy hour while waiting for my daughter in the garden taking pics. I like the contrast of the red and the out-of-focus daisys in this one, plus the way the light in the background grades into shadow.

Canon SX20IS at 28mm and Super-Macro. F2.8 @ 1/1250th @ ISO 80. Programmed auto.

Some Recovery in Lighroom 3. A touch of Fill Light and Blackpoint barely right. Added Clarity and just a bit of Vibrance. Sharpen narrow edges preset.

From Machias 2010.