Thursday, April 30, 2009

Day 120 . Old Birch Tree Stump

Curled and brittle bark peels from an old tree stump.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Day 119 > Bunch o' Bloodroot

I did say yesterday that Bloodroot are my favorite spring wildflowers thereby reserving the right to give them a repeat appearance as the subject of today's daily photo. And though I've not given any thought to dedicating a particular photo in this project to anyone before today, this one goes out to my third grade elementary school teacher who, to my great surprise, happened along the trail in the university arboretum just as I spotted this bunch of flowers.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Day 118 > Spring Ephemerals: Bloodroot

I was beginning to worry I might miss the opportunity to shoot my favorite spring wildflower, the Bloodroot, because of the terrible weather lately. These plants bloom for a very short period of time making it important to check their progress frequently if you want to catch them at their best. Once pollinated the petals fall and all that remains is the strangely lobed, single leaf. It took until nearly noon today for the blossoms (which only open on sunny days) to respond to the dappled sunshine in the forest making for a lengthy wait since I arrived at 10am. In this photo the flower is still not fully open but the angle of light was perfect at this moment, casting the shadow of the petals against the leaf behind them.

Monday, April 27, 2009

Day 117 > Lazy Monday

I'm forced to shoot at home so I'm afraid it's another cat photo for today.

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Day 116 > Braving The Elements

Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain (and more rain).
A week ago it was so dry that the fire depart ment couldn't keep up with the brush fires around the city but no more. These days you're likely to be most comfortable outdoors if you happen to be covered with either scales or in the case of today's brave model, feathers.

Friday, April 24, 2009

Day 114 > Akasha, My Nighttime Companion

12:06 am. My cat Akasha likes to hang out with me late at night, sitting on the desk, while I use the computer. I was just messing around getting a few shots of her before going to bed early this morning, not expecting great results but when I checked the photos, this one was just too good not to use here. I shot this hand held with the camera set at ISO 1600 (thus the graininess) and the PC's LCD screen as the only light source.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Day 113 > True Blue

Wood Squill is an intro duced spring flower native to Siberia that I often find naturalized in city parks and at the edge of urban forest areas. I found it today carpeting large areas of a park in East Green Bay. Unlike so many introduced species gone wild in this area, this one is a pleasure to have around.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Day 112 > Marsh Marigold

The rain has finally gone and the sun has returned and with it's warmth, the wildflowers have begun to bloom... just in time for Earth Day! This plant, commonly known as "Cowslip" or Marsh Marigold (though it is not actually a member of the Marigold family) blooms profusely along the soggy edges of creeks and seasonal wet spots bringing a splash of brightness to the drab springtime forest.

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Day 111 > Raindrops On Lily Leaf

This third straight day of precipi tation began with a mix of rain and snow
(yes, SNOW) falling heavily throughout the morning.
I've managed to dodge the raindrops for the past two days but today I felt that I ought to finally find a way capture these April showers.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Day 110 > Down The Line

The con tinued gloomy weather put me into a black and white frame of mind again today...

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Day 109 > Downtown Railroad Crossing

Spring rains arrived this morning for what is forecast to be an extended stay so today seemed like an opportunity to change the recent focus on subjects from the natural world and bring it back to things more urban in nature. I've had this shot in mind for months but have waited, wanting to capture the scene without snow obscuring the tracks.
Today's weather made shooting a bit of a challenge, with the light rain and wind making it necessary to wipe the lens dry after ever shot but the mist and gloom also provided the perfect feel to this scene when presented in black and white.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Day 108 > Pussy Willows

The gath ering of decora tive pussy willow branches is an enduring spring rite.

Friday, April 17, 2009

Day 107 > Spring Sucker Run In Baird Creek

One of the benefits (or curses) of the need to capture a new image on a daily basis is that it requires me to be somewhere every single day. Obviously the "somewhere" that most interests me at the moment is out in nature. And because I'm so regularly visiting the places in my area with the greatest potential for running across interesting wild things, I am discovering things that I've never before seen, though I have spent plenty of time in these places over the years.
Today, for the very first time I came across White Suckers moving up Baird Creek to spawn. It's very surprising me that I've not seen this before because now is usually the time when spring wildflowers are plentiful in the forest around Baird Creek (things are delayed by weeks this year due to the colder spring weather we've had) and where there are wildflowers, I and my Nikon can usually be found as well.
On a technical note, this photo would not have been possible without a polarized filter attached to my 300mm lens to remove most of the glare from the water's surface. Luckily, a few weeks ago, I planned ahead and stuck this filter and adapter ring into my photo pack "just in case".

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Day 106 > Sunny Pond, Painted Turtle

A sunny day at the pond in the Bark hausen Wildfowl Pre serve.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Day 105 > Hawk Was Here

I took a walk this morning in a wooded section of the Bark hausen Waterfowl Preserve.
I saw very little but all around me birds were sounding off. I woodpecker called loudly from the top of a dead tree and I repeatedly heard the strange whooping call of woodcock overhead. Another sound that at first seemed unfamiliar came repeatedly from somewhere back in the woods and after a few minutes I decided it was a hawk. I walked a little farther down the trail but encountered nothing of interest in the still mostly dormant woods and finally decided that to continue on might prove a waste of what little shooting time I had. I turned back thinking I may just as soon run into a subject for the day's photo where I had already passed. Five minutes later I discovered that my invisible hawk had left a gift for me alongside the trail where I had been just ten minutes before.

Monday, April 13, 2009

Day 103 > In The Baird Creek Parkway

A Skunk Cabbage grows in a messy woods.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Day 102 > Morning Reflections

A Canada Goose drifts over the mirrored surface of a bayside lagoon. A light breeze disturbs the water's surface creating fine ripples that give the scene the look of a watercolor painting.

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Friday, April 10, 2009

Day 100 > White Pelicans On The Fox River

It would seem that my blog is in danger of going to the birds.
Tomor row I will attempt to take a photo that includes nothing with wings.
White Pelicans had not nested on Green Bay since the 1800's but a couple decades (or so) ago they suddenly returned and have become a very common sight on both the bay and all along the Fox River between The dam in the city of DePere and the mouth of the river at Green Bay. You cannot miss them as flocks of these huge birds, with wingspans that rival the Bald Eagle, soar overhead, their black tipped, white wings reflecting the sun like newly fallen snow and moving in concert with a grace that belies their awkwardness on land.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Day 99 > Tree Swallow

I quickly learned this morning that Tree Swallows may be small but will bravely and fiercely defend their home. They only tolerate a person coming just so close before they take to swooping and diving at the trespasser.
With the direct approach seeming a bit unsafe, I opted to take cover on the ground next to a bush near one of the nesting boxes. After a few minutes of sitting quietly, the bird returned and paid no attention to me snapping away below.
This Swallow was evidently a male for it warned off others of it's kind attempting to check out the box.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Day 98 > Woodchuck...Up a Tree?

I want to begin by saying two things:
First, I SWEAR I am not cheating to get these shots! Mother Nature has obviously taken pity on me and my crazy project and decided I deserve a few favors.
Second, just for the record, I was not anywhere near a zoo this morning.
I went out for walk...that's it. And THIS is what I came across.
I had actually decided to visit the Ken Euers Nature Area near the bay with the thought of looking for woodchuck burrows in the south facing hillside at the south end of the preserve. I remembered that, as a kid, my friends and I used to see the animals there munching grass near their holes on sunny summer mornings.
I did find burrows but no activity so I turned my attention to the birds flying everywhere feeding and scouting out desirable nesting boxes. The brilliant blue of a Bluebird caught my eye and I headed off in it's direction in hopes of somehow getting close enough for a photo. Just as I approached the nesting box the bluebird and it's mate seemed to be concentrating their efforts on, I glanced to my right and noticed something quite large and out of place halfway up a poplar tree. At first I thought of a hawk because one had been in the area when I arrived but as I got closer I could see that clearly this was a mammal of some sort. Porcupine? Very unlikely in this area. Raccoon? More likely. But getting closer, I realized it was the very woodchuck (you may know this animal better as a ground hog) I had come looking for in the first place! Obviously I was looking in entirely the wrong place. But having never seen a woodchuck in a tree before, the thought to look up for one hadn't really occurred to me.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Day 96 > Goldfinch At The Kitchen Window

Mother Nature took mercy and sent me a subject just outside my window this morning as I was preparing to leave for my daily photo hunt. Who am I to look a gift bird in the beak??

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day 95 > Wequiock Falls

One of three waterfalls within a short driving distance of the city of Green Bay.

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Day 94 > Old Door County Farm

Scenic rural beauty on Wiscon sin's Door County Penin sula.

Friday, April 3, 2009

Day 93 > First Spring Flower / Skunk Cabbage

Looking more like plant life from the planet Jupiter, Skunk Cabbage blooms push up out of the mud along creeks and wet forest areas in early spring just as the snow is melting. The flower generates heat and is said to be able to melt any surrounding snow.
It is not only it's bizarre appearance but also it's unpleasant fragrance that sets it far apart from other spring wildflowers. The flower produces a stink like rotten meat to attract the first flies of spring which pollinate it. Later, after the flowers have faded, the plant produces a rosette of large, bright green leaves that last into summer.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

Day 92 > Tiny Sentinel

When walking in the forest, a Chipmunk is most often the first animal to give away a person's presence there. In most cases after seeing a human trespasser, it will run off squeaking and chattering thereby removing any chance that the person will have the opportunity to surprise any other animals along the way.

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Day 91 > Lower Falls Of Fonferek's Glen

Just a stone's throw upstream from the natural bridge in Fonferek Glen, Bower Creek tumbles over the lower falls to a placid pool below.