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 !!
Large Flowering Trillium
Sweet White Trillium
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.
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 !!
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 !!
Three posts in a week how about that. I am starting to get caught up again which is leaving me time to post here, problem is in mid July it will be starting again with the weddings, but hey it helps pay the bills !!
So here is another wildflower image, this time I photographed the Wild Geranium at Clifty Falls State Park near Madison Indiana. And once again since I am too lazy a description according to Wikipedia..
Geranium maculatum, the spotted geranium, wood geranium, or wild geranium is a woodland perennial plant native to eastern North America, from southern Manitoba and southwestern Quebec south to Alabama and Georgia and west to Oklahoma and South Dakota. It is known as Spotted Cranesbill or Wild Cranesbill in Europe, but the Wood Cranesbill is another plant, the related G. sylvatium (a European native called “Woodland Geranium” in North America). Colloquial names are Alum Root, Alum Bloom and Old Maid’s Nightcap.
It grows in dry to moist woods and is normally abundant when found. It is a perennial herbaceous plant growing to 60 cm tall, producing upright usually unbranched stems and flowers in spring to early summer. The leaves are palmately lobed with five or seven deeply cut lobes, 10–12.5 cm broad, with a petiole up to 30 cm long arising from the rootstock. They are deeply parted into three or five divisions, each of which is again cleft and toothed. The flowers are 2.5–4 cm diameter, with five rose-purple, pale or violet-purple (rarely white) petals and ten stamens; they appear from April to June in loose clusters of two to five at the top of the stems. The fruit capsule, which springs open when ripe, consists of five cells each containing one seed joined to a long beak-like column 2–3 cm long (resembling a crane‘s bill) produced from the center of the old flower. The rhizome is long, and 5 to 10 cm thick, with numerous branches. The rhizomes are covered with scars, showing the remains of stems of previous years growth. When dry it has a somewhat purplish color internally. Plants go dormant in early summer after seed is ripe and dispersed.
The plant has been used in herbal medicine, and is also grown as a garden plant. Wild Geranium is considered an astringent, a substance that causes contraction of the tissues and stops bleeding. The Mesquakie Indians brewed a root tea for toothache and for painful nerves and mashed the roots for treating hemorrhoids.
Hope you like the description and the image thanks for stopping by and taking a look !!