Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 151 > Inside The Maribel Caves

I entered this small, dark cavern in the cliff side at Maribel Caves County Park from the sunny forest and was able to see almost nothing at all. As my eyes adjusted I could make out a second opening ahead of me but it was still too dark to try to go any deeper with out a flashlight or lantern. But being curious about the cavern I was crouched in, I decided to try getting a few photos using the flash...which worked out horribly. So instead, just for fun, I set up the camera on my little mini tripod and tried using a long exposure time to use as much of the dim natural light coming through the cave's opening to reveal more of the detail in front of me...and was pleasantly surprised to find that it worked out very well!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 150 Shelf Fungi

I found these really spectac ular shelf fungi growing on a tree trunk in the Baird Creek Parkway surrounded by the mature leaves of Skunk Cabbage which made for an interesting contrast in both color and shape.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 149 > Wild Geranium

With the blooming of the Wild Geraniums, the final wave of spring wildflowers is in full swing...

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 148 > Forest Chapel

This was my first visit to the Chapel of St. Anthony in the forest on the campus of the university since before the trees leafed out and I was amazed at how hidden the building now is when approaching on the footpath leading from the road above. I'd been waiting to take this shot for months, knowing the photo would have a much more intimate feel with the woods grown up all around it.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 147 > Flower Market

Heavy rains and wind today. I ducked into this outdoor flower market to escape the weather and hopefully get some sort of usable shot for the project...

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 146 > Below The Point Beach Light

Another grey, rainy, cool day at Point Beach on the shore of Lake Michigan.
I had hoped the lighthouse might have been lit today due to the inclement weather but I found it was not. This is, however, still an operational light unlike so many that have become obsolete and been decommissioned in the past few decades.

Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 145 Memorial Day

Flags mark the graves of war veterans at Fort Howard Cemetery.

Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 144 > Mushroom Colony

Mush rooms have long been one of my favor ite photo subjects so I'm very happy to see them popping up in the woods again.
Besides my fascination with fungi, the great variety of sizes and shapes and colors they have to offer assures that mushrooms will become a recurring subject of the daily photo project.

Saturday, May 23, 2009

Day 143 > The Forest Primeval

This is the forest prim eval. The murmur ing pines and the hem locks, bearded with moss, and in garments green, indistinct in the twilight,
Stand like Druids of eld, with voices sad and prophetic,
Stand like harpers hoar, with beards that rest on their bosoms

- Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
The Ridges Sanctuary in northern Door County is a unique place in the state of Wisconsin. Because of it's position on the peninsula it is kept unusually cool in summer by nearby Lake Michigan creating a micro-environment which supports a plant community more commonly found in the extreme northern reaches of the US and Canada. The coniferous forest is dominated by spruce, pine and balsam fir trees and it's understory is home to many rare and endangered plants and wildflowers including several species of Lady's Slipper orchids.
I included the lines from the Longfellow poem Evangeline because those words always come to mind when I walk this sanctuary's trails.

Friday, May 22, 2009

Day 142 > Dandelion's Big Finale

One of the best invest ments in photo equip ment I've ever made was the purchase of three closeup filters that allow me to zoom in ultra close, revealing details not normally seen unless crawling on hands knees.
It's a whole new world when viewed through a macro lens!

Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 141 > Twilight In Union Church Courtyard

I scouted this location last night around 10pm... so well after dark. I took a few shots to see what I could do with it and was quite impressed with the result.
Nice as those photos were though, I was stunned by the resulting photos when shooting the same scene at twilight tonight. Color and texture in the sky made all the difference.
Imagine what a pleasure it was to be here at this moment!
It's times like this when I couldn't be more happy to be a photographer with the ability to capture amazing but fleeting moments like this.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 140 > In a a Northside Neighborhood

Tulip gardens on the site of a former neighbor hood grocery store on the city's old north side.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 139 > Like Garden Fireworks

Ouch. Better put on your shades for color this intense.

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 138 > St. John's

One of my favorite build ings in my city, St. John's Church features square towers (Italian Renaissance style architecture?) giving it a distinctly different look from the other area churches. It also holds some interest for me in that my grandparents were married here in the 1930's and Grandmother's home was located directly behind the church.

( ooops...uploaded the wrong photo earlier today!)

Sunday, May 17, 2009

Day 137 > Hidden Pathways

A dead tree, it's trunk now bare of it's outer bark, displays paths left by wood-boring insects.

Saturday, May 16, 2009

Day 136 > Mahon Creek

A nice spot to sit and reflect...

Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 135 > Jack In The Pulpit

I'm beginning to think that a bit of skill with the camera is sometimes slightly less important than the willingness to do what it takes to capture a particular image.
To gain a greater appreciation for what is required to photograph a plant like the Jack In The Pulpit from this low angle, it needs to be understood that this can only be accomplished with one's head firmed planted in the leaf litter of the forest floor. When doing this, I don't look first to see what might be crawling in the spot where my head will rest because I realize that surely something is living there and maybe it's best not to know. Luckily, I'm not squeamish.

This plant
get's it's common name from it's odd flower: A pouch shaped spathe ("pulpit") with an overhanging hood that surrounds a fingerlike central spadix ( "Jack").


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 134 > Baird Creek Below

Back to the creek today...
I am begin ning to wonder, should I have called this blog 365 Days at Baird Creek??
One thing I am certain of is that this project would be a whole lot more difficult without this beautiful area within such easy reach.

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Day 132 > A Morning Shadow

Morning sun shining through an east facing kitchen window covered by a bamboo shade splashes onto a dining room wall carrying with it the silhouette of a silk flower arrangement and vase on a corner table.

Monday, May 11, 2009

Day 131 > Spring Ephemerals: Wood Anemone

This poor flower has twice been my intended subject for the daily photo but has twice been bumped by something else I shot on those days that appealed to me more. Once again today, I've taken several other photos I like a lot but realize that it is now or never for the little Wood Anemone for it won't remain in bloom much longer.

Saturday, May 9, 2009

Day 129 > Fiddlehead

I've always been fascinated by the way the leaves of ferns unroll in the springtime. This particular fern is known as Ostrich Fern because the fully grown leaves resemble the feathers of the big bird. At this stage in their growth, the fiddleheads are often removed and eaten like a vegetable.

Friday, May 8, 2009

Day 128 Giant Trillium Closeup

I re visited the Trilliums again today...

Thursday, May 7, 2009

Day 127 > Giant White Trilliums

The appearance of spring wildflowers is always quite a spectacle with so many colors and shapes bringing life back to the forest but as spectacular as all these plants are it with the blooming of the Giant White Trillium that Mother Nature really pulls out all the stops. Huge white flowers atop tall, sturdy stalks growing in bunches under the trees put on a show unmatched for the rest of the season (with the possible exception of some of the native wild orchids).
As I was shooting this photo I heard something rustling in the leaves nearby but was concentrating on the shot and didn't look. It wasn't until after I'd taken the shot that I noticed the small American Toad that had hopped into the scene in the lower left-hand corner of the frame.
Shooting Triliums is tricky business. Because of their large size and pure white color and the extreme contrast between sun and shade surrounding them, they wreck havoc with the camera's metering system making a little experimentation with exposure compensation a must in order to avoid overexposure of the flower's petals. This compensation corrects the exposure in the brightest areas but unfortunately somewhat darkens the photo overall causing even more detail to be lost in the shadows. This is where photoshop comes in handy!

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Day 126 > Reflecting On A Rainy Day

On the edge of the Baird Creek Parkway I noticed this tree, hanging with little yellow catkins and reflecting so nicely on the surface of the pond it grew at the edge of. It was a dark, rainy morning but the scene would not have been the same had it not been so dreary.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Day 125 > Morel Mushroom

One of the most sought after wild mushrooms, the morel is said to be delicious although I've never had the pleasure of eating one. The area I found this one in had obviously had many more mushrooms popping up through the leaf litter but somebody had already collected them this morning.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Day 124 > Under The Mayapples

This month Mayapples join the wildflowers in livening up the spring woods, forming large, attractive clusters that resemble forests of miniature umbrella shaped trees. The plants will soon produce a single, large and fragrant white flower below it's leaves and eventually a small edible fruit from which it takes it's name. Mayapples are quite interesting to see from above but I thought it might be even more interesting to see these unique plants from a more unusual perspective. As with the bird's nest photo of a few days ago, I was unable to actually look through the camera to compose the shot because, in this case, the camera was resting on the ground pointed up and I had to shoot blind, rely on trial and error to get the shot I was envisioning.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Day 123 > Backyard Wren

Though not always so easily spotted, the little House Wren makes it's presence in the yard known as it pours forth a bubbling torrent of song that, in spring, continues nearly nonstop from dawn to dusk.

Saturday, May 2, 2009

Day 122 > Spring Ephemerals: Spring Beauties

Another of the common spring wild flowers in Wiscon sin's forests. Spring Beauties are quite small but are worth getting down on hands and knees for a closer look.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Day 121 > American Robin: The Next Generation

On yester day's walk I quite unexpect edly came eye to eye with the mother Robin sitting on this nest. The tree holding the nest grows right alongside the trail and as I passed it I just happened to glance to my right to find the bird staring at me not more than a few arms lengths away. I took a few more steps trying not to make it obvious I had seen the bird and then carefully turned with camera ready. I had just composed a nice shot and began to squeeze the shutter release when Mother Robin decided this was not good and off she went leaving me with a nice photo of a nest and the bottom half of the fleeing bird.
This morning I had reason to be back in the vicinity of this trail so I stopped by for a quick walk so I could give it a second try. I found the bird on the nest as expected but once again she was having nothing to do with the human with the big camera pointed at her and off she went...twice.
I was disappointed not to have gotten the shot after having gone to the trouble of returning but then it occurred to me that there was another opportunity to be had. With the bird away I was able to approach the nest but found that it was actually just a bit too high in the tree. It may look like I climbed the tree but no...I shot this blind with the camera held above the nest and somehow I managed to get the perfect image. I'll return to this spot in a while to see about capturing (so to speak) the new hatchlings.