Thursday, July 31, 2008

Black Eyed Susans....


The other day I noticed this mass of black eyed susans in a vacant lot just off of Rt. 196 so I pulled in to take some photos. This is one of the pictures I took but while I was there I found another flower that I haven't seen too many of in the wild. Tomorrow I'll be posting a photo of that flower and I think it's one of the best pictures I've taken in years.

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Another Loosestrife.....


Here's the final shot from Sunday, the 20th. For some reason the blossoms on this loosestrife were not close and compacted like they're supposed to be. I got lucky while taking the photo, the hoverfly came along and landed on the bottom blossom.

Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Evening Primrose...



I went out early Saturday morning to the same place as I did the previous Sunday and the roadside was just covered with these evening primroses. They bloom during the night and early morning and close up during the day so that's why they're not as noticable in the afternoon. It was foggy Saturday morning so the lighting was perfect.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Attracting Butterflies...


Last spring I planted echinacea to attract butterflies, well the flowers are now blooming and doing their job. The other day there were at least 5 or 6 of these fritillaries on them. There's only one problem; the japanese beatles are ravaging the petals.

Friday, July 25, 2008

Common Tansy...


Here is one of my favorite photos I took last Sunday. Sometimes you just get lucky, the ladybug makes the tansy photo a lot more interesting. I've been doing this wildflower series for a little over a month now so I wanted to share some of the things every single photo I've posted has in common. All the photos were taken with my 180mm Sigma macro lens, thats how I get the nice soft backgrounds, I don't do any blurring in Photoshop. Depth of field is limited when you're shooting close up so the background naturally falls off. Another thing all the photos have in common is the lighting, I only shoot flowers when it's overcast, soft lighting is best. Like I mentioned the other day the conditions were perfect on Sunday, it was a bright overcast and there was no wind. I've used my foil reflector to add fill light to every single flower picture posted here. The last thing for every photo, my camera was on a tripod, not one was taken handheld.

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Blue Vervain....

I don't know how common these blue vervain are around here but I found it on the side of the road on Sunday morning so it qualified for this series. When I started this I thought I'd do it for a week and be done with it but once I started noticing the flowers I realized just how many there are just growing on the roadside. As the summer progresses, each week I notice new flowers blooming. I've decided to do a book and feature all of the photos I've been posting. There are a lot of sites now where you can do self publishing. I'll keep everyone posted.

Wednesday, July 23, 2008

More Lace....


Here's another photo of a queens anne's lace I took the other day. The conditions were perfect for flower photography on Sunday morning; there was a bright overcast and no wind. I spent a good two hours wandering a small stretch of roadside just off of Rt. 196 which is a busy highway. My favorites from that morning are yet to come.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Purple Loosestrife.....



Here is the out of focus purple that was in the background of photo # 2 yesterday. The purple loosestrife may be pretty to look at but it is an invasive species here in Maine and can be found growing everywhere. The reason it spreads so quickly is that one plant can produce up to two million seeds. I took these photos Sunday morning and coincidentally there was a news story that evening on one of the local channels about the loosestrife. This plant has become quite a problem in a lot of the wetlands in Maine. It originally comes from the Netherlands and has no natural enemies in this state, it crowds out native species. The news story had to do with the Maine Fish and Wildlife Dept. introducing a little brown beetle into the Rachel Carson National Wildlife Refuge called the galerucella. The only thing the little beetle eats is loosestrife. The biologists are hoping this may be one of the solutions to reducing the amount of loosestrife in the refuge.

Monday, July 21, 2008

Queen Anne's Lace....


The queen anne's lace are everywhere this time of year, they're on the side of the road in the country as well as in town where ever there's an area that doesn't get mowed. The purple in the background in the second photo is natural and I'll have more on that on tomorrows post.

Friday, July 18, 2008

St. Johnswort....


Here's another common roadside flower that can be found throughout the state.

Thursday, July 17, 2008

Moxie Falls...

video

I took a motorcycle ride up north yesterday and stopped off at Moxie Falls, the lighting wasn't that flattering to take a photo so I took this short video instead. I've seen videos posted in some other blogs so I figured I'd give it a try today. Moxie Falls is a 90 foot waterfall and its a pretty easy hike to get to. I've actually hiked down and swam below the falls but it's been at least 20 years since I've done that. The source of the water is a shallow lake so it gets real warm in the summer time. About half a mile upstream there are some smaller falls that you can sit under and that makes for a refreshing swim.

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Berry Delicious.....


I went strawberry picking yesterday and this is the container of strawberries I picked so I'm taking a little break today from my normal nature photos and posting this picture. We had a lot of rain in June this year so the strawberry crop in Maine is bumper. Not only do they look good but they taste good too.

Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Black Eyed Susan....


The black eyed susans are in full bloom right now and they can be found on roadsides and in meadows everywhere around the state.

Monday, July 14, 2008

Crab Spider and Bee....


I decided to take a little walk down my road Saturday evening when I noticed a bee just clinging to this vetch and not moving. I thought it was kind of odd so I looked a little closer and this is what I found. The crab spider lies in wait on flower blossoms and ambushes an insect like this bee when it comes along. They also have the ability to change color, they can go from yellow to white. I've seen them on daisys in their white form and on black eyed susans in their yellow form and they blend right in. It seemes like this guy was in transition, between yellow and white. Either way it really wouldn't blend in well on a purple flower. The sun was real low and this shot was highly backlit so I used my foil reflector to add light otherwise it would've just been a silouhette.

Friday, July 11, 2008

More Clover...





Here are four more varieties of clover that I found growing by the side of the road. Of course everyone knows the red clover in the first photograph, that's the one where as kids we'd pluck the little blossoms and suck the nectar. The yellow one is the hop clover and the third one is the rabbitfoot clover, it's easy to see how it got its name with the furry blossoms. It's only about six inches tall and it grows right up against the pavement and unless you look real close you can't tell it's a flower because it isn't too colorful. The last picture is the sweet white clover and it's the sweetest smelling of all the clovers and it's also the tallest, it can be over four feet tall.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Yarrow...


This flower reminds me of queen anne's lace but it's a lot shorter and it blooms earlier. This has to be the most common wildflower on the roadside, I see it everywhere I go. They bloom for a very long time too, the blooming started in early June and they're still going strong.
I had a couple of questions yesterday about the foliage behind the tall meadow rue blossoms. The foliage were ferns and not part of the flower plant itself. The spot where I took that photograph stays shaded for most of the day so there are a lof of ferns growing, it was also the same spot where I found the pasture rose the other day.

Wednesday, July 9, 2008

Tall Meadow Rue


This tall meadow rue is pretty common on wooded roadsides which we have a lot of here in Maine.

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Roadside Yellow....



The ant on the birdfoot trefoil is easier to find than yesterdays on the milkweed blossoms. The bottom picture is butter and egg blossoms, they remind me of orchids and a whole batch of them growing on the side of the road is quite an impressive site.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Milkweed....


One day last week we had a torrential rainshower pass through and I went out with the camera afterward and took some photos. These milkweed blossoms almost look like ceramic, there's an ant in the photo too. Did you see it?

Friday, July 4, 2008

Wildflower Break.....



I'm taking a short break from the flower photos to post these skipper shots. One evening last week I noticed this little guy sitting on a columbine blossom in my flower garden so I got my camera out and took a few pictures. Butterflies don't fly at night because it's too cool so I knew it would still be there in the morning and that's when the second photo was taken. These were the very last two columbine blossoms in the garden, they've all gone to seed so I was lucky it decided to rest on a blossom and not a seed head. I'll continue my roadside flower series next week. When I started I didn't realize, when you pay attention, how many different varieties of flowers there are by the side of the road. I've noticed in the last few days that the black eyed susans are starting to bloom and also the queen annes lace.

Thursday, July 3, 2008

Roadside Roses....




The pink rose is a pasture rose that I found growing on the side of my road, the scent seemed kind of soapy to me but was very pleasant. The white rose is the multiflora rose and that one has a very nice scent too but is an invasive species. I read a little about it and found out it was brought over to North America by the settlers from Europe to remind them of home. A few years ago I never saw this rose but now it's growing everywhere, a huge bush in full bloom is kind of impressive to see. I included a wider shot to show how it got its name, the blossoms are in bunches on the plant.

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Hawkweeds....



I don't think I have to explain which hawkweed is which. I love the smell of the orange hawkweed, it's one of my favorite flower scents.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Buttercup.....


No roadside flower collection would be complete without the buttercup. Buttercups are usually found in meadows but are pretty common on the roadside.