Category Archives: macro

Wildflowers

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This slideshow is an example of just a few of the many wildflowers that I captured this year here in Jefferson County Indiana. They were all photographed in Clifty Falls State Park earlier this spring.

Some of the best wildflower displays I have ever witnessed came from our own backyard and if giving a chance you should get out and experience the wonderful natural diversity that this area has to offer.

Clifty Falls State Park, Splinter Ridge FWA and Big Oaks NWR are just a few places to go and view the beautiful display of wildflowers that inhabit our home.

Porter’s Creek Trail| Great Smoky Mountains National Park

Here are a few more images from another great trail in the Great Smoky Mountains National Park. Porter’s Creek might be my favorite trail for wildflowers and that’s because of one small little flower and that’s the White Fringed Phacelia, or should I say millions of them !!

Walking this trail starts out with a nice gentle trail that has many of the different flowers that grace the park, but after traveling up the trail for a mile you cross over a very entertaining log bridge and then walk into a different world. All across the floor of the gorge and up the side of the mountain are millions upon millions of these little flowers, it actually looks like you had just experienced a snow fall.

It seems like it is right out of the Lord of the Rings or some other fantasy movie, it is one of the most beautiful sights I have ever seen.  The actual bloom is about the size of a nickel which isn’t the largest broom out there, but when you have several million growing together it makes for an incredible sight to witness.

If you ever get a chance to travel to the park in the spring this another one of those great hikes you will be glad you took. So here are a few shots from the hike, I included a macro version of one the plants and then some of the actual trail itself, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

 

gsmnp 2013 fringed phracillia  5

 

 

 

portrers creek trail fringed phacilia 4 2014 great smoky mountain national park

 

 

portrers creek trail fringed phacilia 1 2014 great smoky mountain national park

Wildflowers of the Great Smoky Mountains National Park

I thought it might be time to move on from the wildflowers we have here in Madison Indiana and venture on to my favorite spot to photograph and that’s the The Great Smoky Mountains National Park in East Tennessee.  If I could only have one place to photograph at for the rest of my life it would be here, the diversity of flora and fauna and not to mention the incredible landscape opportunities make the GSMNP  a photographers dream.

This past April we made a trip down to hike and work all the great spots for wildflower images. Even though wildflowers cover nearly the entire park there are spots where if you make the trip you have to visit and these include Cove Hardwood Nature Trail, White-oak Sinks, Chimney’s Top, Porters Creek and Cucumber Gap. These are all fantastic trails to view and photograph wildflowers and they are also relatively easy hikes as well !!

I won’t share many images from each trail but I thought I might just share a few today and post more later. First we have some shots from Cove Hardwood Nature trail. I hope you enjoy the images and if you ever travel to the Park in the spring these trails are a must see on your visit !!

 

 

 

Yellow Trillium

cove hardwood nature trail yellow trillium 1 2014

 

Large Flowering Trillium

 

cove hardwood nature trail trillium 3 2014

 

 

Sweet White Trillium

 

 

cove hardwood nature trail trillium 1 2014

 

Wild Columbine | Clifty Falls State Park…Madison Indiana

More wildflowers, today’s post is about a another hard one to photograph and that is the Wild Columbine.  The Columbine is a beautiful example of a hanging wildflower that tends to grow out of large boulders and cliffs that are found in Clifty falls State Park.

The color and structure of this specimen are amazing,  red and yellow colors and the hanging bell shape bloom make for a wonderful composition. The tend to bloom in late April and I find most my shoot-able subjects amongst the rocks and boulders in the canyons and gorges of Southern Indiana.

They are a wonderful subject to photograph but they tend to also be a very hard one to photograph as well. Once again a slight breeze will cause the stem to sway making for blurred images even with a tripod, so a fast shutter speed is is a must to get sharp images. Even though they can be a bear to shoot sometimes they are definitely worth the trouble and always make for a great composition.

So here are couple images of the Wild Columbine, I hope you enjoy the pics and if you get a chance to find some next spring they are definitely worth the effort to photograph them.

 

wild columbine 1 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

 

 

 

wild columbine 2 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

Bishop’s Cap | Clifty falls Wildflowers

One of the coolest little wildflowers that I photograph is the Bishop’s Cap (Mitrewort) this is without a doubt the smallest wildflower I have ever captured. The bloom itself is about the size of a pea and it grows on about 6 inch tall slender stems any slight air motion will cause them to sway, which makes photographing these species one of the hardest I have attempted. They bloom in early to mid April and love the deep forested canyons of Clifty falls State Park, you can also find them in the heavily forested areas that cover many parts of our county. The bloom itself is very beautiful and has a very cool structure to it.

Photographing this wildflower definitely requires a tripod and somewhat fast shutter speeds, a macro lens as well will give you the best results.  And probably the most important aspect of getting the best shot is patience and lots of it. As I said before not just wind sends this subject into a shake but any air flow at all will keep this wildflower moving for long periods of time even in what you may think are calm conditions.

Here is what I think is probably my best shot to date of this little gem, I am posting the first one as the actual plant size and the second image is a cropped version and as you can tell it is a bit soft from air movement.

I hope you enjoy the images and description and thanks for stopping by !!

 

bishop's cap 2 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

 

 

 

bishop's cap 3 2014 clifty falls state park madison indiana

Larkspur | Clifty Falls State Park Madison Indiana

Here are a couple more images of one of the many wildflowers that inhabit Clifty falls State Park near Madison Indiana. Clifty Falls is one of the best parks in the state of Indiana not only for wildflowers but for the outstanding hiking, wildlife viewing and views of the many waterfalls that line the canyons and gorges of this wonderful tract of land.

Today’s wildflower is the Larkspur and according to the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center…

The Larkspur is a slender, upright perennial, with unbranched stems from 1-2 ft. tall. White to pale blue, spurred flowers in a narrow cluster on a finely downy stalk. Pale blue to white, spurred flowers appear in a narrow, terminal spike. Leaves are divided and lobed into narrow segments. Basal leaves often form a winter rosette which withers before the flowers open. The Spanish name is Espuela del caballero from its resemblance to a horsemans spur.

When in flower, this midwestern species can carpet acres of prairie before the grasses take over. Plains Larkspur was once considered to be a separate species, D. virescens, but studies of variation in larkspurs have now classified it as a subspecies of the widespread Carolina Larkspur, D. carolinianum ssp. virescens. The species, with three subspecies, ranges from the eastern edge of the West to the southeastern United States. Some phases may be blue. Larkspurs intergrade among species, and flower color varies from white to pale or dark blue in some species, making them difficult to classify and identify. Most blue-flowered species have white-flowered variants, and a few are consistently white or very pale blue. The geographic range of the white-flowered Wooton’s Larkspur (D. wootonii) overlaps with that of Plains Larkspur on the plains of eastern Colorado and southwestern Nebraska, but most of its range is to the south and west, to southeastern Arizona and western Texas. Wooton’s Larkspur usually has leaves mostly at the base and reflexed sepals, whereas Plains Larkspur has leafy stems and spreading sepals. Also white-flowered are Alkali Larkspur (D. gypsophilum), found in the San Joaquin Valley and the southern Coast Ranges of California; Peacock Larkspur, a hybrid between D. menziesii subsp. pallidum and Cow Poison (D. trolliifolium), with brightly glandular-hairy petals, found in western Oregon; and Pale Larkspur (D. nuttallii ssp. ochroleucum), without glandular petals, found in the vicinity of Portland, Oregon.

And now for a couple images of the Larkspur, thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!

 

 

larkspur 2 2014

 

 

larkspur 1 2014

Clifty Falls Wildflowers | Jacob’s Ladder

Jacob’s Ladder is another great little blue wildflower that grows at Clifty falls State Park  in Madison Indiana. I photographed these little beauties along trail one coming down from the old watchtower that overlooks the Ohio River.

According to Friends of the Wildflower Garden….

(Greek Valerian, Spreading Jacob’s Ladder). The Polemonium genus covers a large number of plants commonly known as “Jacob’s Ladder”. Polemonium reptans, while still referred to as “Jacob’s Ladder” is more correctly named “Greek Valerian” or “Spreading Jacob’s Ladder” as it can root from the stems. Greek Valerian is a native mostly erect perennial forb growing 8 to 20 inches high on slender stems that frequently recline. There is some branching near the top. Stems are light green but can be reddish green, usually smooth, with angled sides. The leaves are alternate and pinnately-divided into 7 to 17 oblong leaflets, each leaflet up to 1-1/2 inches long. A terminal leaflet creates the odd number of leaflets, which are medium green in color, with smooth edges, usually no hair on the upper surface, and usually not stalked. The upper leaves within the the inflorescence usually have only 3 to 5 leaflets, sometimes just a simple leaf. The underside of the leaflet is paler in color with some fine hair. The inflorescence is a loosely branched panicle with just a few flowers per branch, arising at the top of the stems. The flowers are bell shaped with 5 blue-violet petals that spread slightly. The calyx is light green, sometimes with reddish tints, sometime with fine hair. Its tip has five triangular teeth. There are five stamens with whitish filaments and pale yellow anthers. There are not exerted – not longer than the petals. The single style is longer and has a 3-parted tip. Seed: Fertile flowers produce a dry 3-chambered seed capsule with about 3 seeds in each chamber.

Habitat: Spreading Jacob’s Ladder grows in the rich soils of open woods, slopes, shaded banks. While it may tolerate full sun, it will do best in light shade to dappled sun such as under a high tree canopy. For best bloom it needs soils that are moist to mesic. The stems may root if they lay on the ground. The root system is fibrous with a small crown. It also spreads by reseeding. Names: The species name Polemonium is a bit obscure but thought to have a reference back to the Greek philosopher Polemon. The species name, reptans, refers to having creeping or rooting stems. The name ‘Jacob’s Ladder’ is an old biblical reference to the leaflets forming ‘a ladder to heaven’. Comparisons: Several species are similar to P. reptans. P. occidentale, and P. vanbruntiae have brighter flowers with stamens exerted beyond the petals which are wider spreading. The garden variety of Jacob’s Ladder sometimes sold with the scientific name P. caeruleum and sometimes with the other scientific names and called “Greek Valerian” or “Jacob’s Ladder” has fewer narrower leaves, blue flowers and seed capsules without stalks.

Now here is the image of the Jacob’s Ladder, hope you find the description and image helpful in your next wildflower hike or photographic endeavor.

 

 

jacob's ladder 1 2014 eagle hollow road