It’s been a busy time around here, raising a young pup (trying to at least) named Teddy. He’s doing quite well, but can’t quite sleep through the night. If I only had the presence of mind to think of a good photo project for shooting at 4:30 AM, normally a good time in the summer, but alas, Teddy’s not into photography just yet. But, good news for flower lovers such as myself, the Lily’s have returned to brighten up the morning. Just a few images to get the blood flowing….
Working with the square format, inspired by the new D800, which can pack plenty of pixels inside that square.
Which is ironic, because as is obviously the case, I’m shooting here to capture the dream like feeling, of say, being up at 4:30 in the morning, a time when, let’s face it, very little is in focus.
But we press ahead. Come Teddy,,,Teddy? Where are you….
The Elizabethan Gardens in Manteo, North Carolina (on the Outer Banks of the State) are one of our favorite places to view cultivated flowers. It is really a conservatory and classical gardens. Those who aren’t familiar with the area should note that the name is a token of honor to Elizabeth the First, who sent Sir Walter Raleigh to the area to found a new colony, over a decade before my relatives made it to Jamestown. Alas, it was not meant to be. When the Colony’s founders returned from other duties (England was at war with Spain at the time, which slowed things down considerably) they found the Colony gone, a mystery yet unsolved. There had indeed been conflict with the local Native Americans, but the evidence suggested that the departure of the surviving colonists was not hurried and the agreed upon sign, a Maltese Cross carved on a tree to indicate that hostilities had taken place, was not to be found. Thus the name: The Lost Colony.
The Gardens themselves are, for me, as much about their classical design as their horticulture.
Carefully planned paths and a wonderful tree canopy, coupled with statuary that is nicely integrated with nature make for a very contemplative experience.
I am, however, always drawn to the designs created by this great, and greatly loved, trees.
You mean you went to the Elizabethan Gardens and didn’t photograph any flowers? I wouldn’t make that mistake. Even though it was only the third week in March, the flowers were on the field.
The tulips were well along.
We asked the Hostess there about the unusual weather. She explained that the plants were running roughly a full month ahead of schedule. Yes, it was beautiful, but one had the eerie since that something was wrong. The Azalea’s were already past their prime.
We were in Petersham, MA yesterday, inside Gate 40 to the Quabbin Reservoir. On the search for invasive species, we quickly discovered that we were the invasive specie, at least that’s what the swarming collection of mosquitoes and flies of various sorts seemed to think. We were covered head to toe in approximately 1/4 inch of deet, so they couldn’t bite us. Frustrated, they seemed to take on a “in that case, we’ll drive you crazy” strategy which worked quite well. We did locate a stand of Red Pines that is being quickly attacked by Pine Needle Scale, but more about that in another post soon. However, we also saw other species that were also not originally from around these parts, Lilies. We were obviously thinking about Lilies this week given their beautiful presence in the City. But out here???
We’ve seen them frequently before inside the Quabbin Reservoir gates and often speculated as to their origin. When you see Lilies by the side of the road, it is hard not to imagine that they were planted by someone, but by who? I have to believe that few if any folks would have the motivation to set down bulbs inside the Quabbin gates. The reality is, these European immigrants are extremely hardy and multiply. Certainly the actual flower bulbs planted by the original settlers, such as produced this Day Lily, would have given out long ago I would think.
But their off spring, maybe not. Chris noticed a less common variety on the opposite side of the road, a Canada Lily.
In addition to being beautiful, the Canada Lily was also used by Native Americans to treat a variety of illness with a tea prepared from its roots: including stomach ailments and rheumatism. (from New England Wildflowers by Frank Kaczmarek.)
I’ve often considered the great character trees along the roads inside the gates of the Quabbin to be the last living entities that remain from that era at their pre-Reservoir location. It is perhaps the case that these “wildflowers” have been keeping the trees company.
Closer to home, walking about the City. Lots and lots of green of course. But nature, with a little help, has a way of breaking up the monotony. Thankfully, homeowners and gardeners seem to have rallied around to my mind, one of the most beautiful of flowers….the Lily. They seem to be nearly everywhere, mostly planted and frequently well cared for, but some just seem to keep coming back year after year, even though who actually did the planting may be long forgotten. (Click on the images for a better view.)
I also find them to be a good deal of fun, as they seem to work and play well together.
Sometimes the most interesting sites really are close to home.
Things are looking up. The snow has stopped, for now, the roads are clear so it’s time to get back out into the field. I’ll report back next week. Meanwhile, as I mentioned in a previous post, I’ve been working on my flower photography, doing some new shooting as well as revisiting some older images, which is always interesting. This spring and summer one or our projects is going to involve a more systematic survey of some of the threatened and endangered species in the area, some of which are wild flowers. Here are a few recent products of that work, a bouquet to a nice week of weather (I hope, am I jinxing us here???). The first two are actually from the Quabbin. (Click on the images for a better view.)
The background in flower photography is all important. The background in the first two images is blurred and offers more of a romantic glow. The blur is created by using a longer lens. There are alternatives. Turns out that New York City, from the 22nd floor, will do. Here, I wanted to show the City.
Of course, if you get in close enough, the flowers provide their own background.
The last two are really my favorites. As anyone who walks the city knows, wildflowers are everywhere, particularly in vacant lots (along with lots of other stuff, but that’s a another story).
Happy Valentine’s Day!