November 29, 2019
My friend Lynda invited me to visit her in Falmouth, Massachusetts, this September. We are both photographers, and she took me places where we could enjoy nature with our cameras. All but the last photograph in this post—which I took in Woods Hole—are from Falmouth and environs.
Update of December 4, 2019
A niece of a friend found the lichens shown in #18 on the Bigelow Building at 98 Water Street, just around the corner from the Aquarium. (I had not taken the time to note the exact location.) “Bigelow,” my friend says, “was constructed in 1930, the first building erected for the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution that was established in the same year. There are older brick buildings (and walls and gravestones) in Woods Hole but the north side of Bigelow may be particularly favorable for growth because north walls do not receive direct sunlight nor most of the prevailing winds, which would dry them out.”
1 You may think you’ve seen this photo before. I just love the look of light at the end of a tunnel and have taken many similar photographs.
3 There are so many varieties of goldenrod. I don’t know which one this is, but it was growing in a wooded area.
4 This is another kind of goldenrod, punctuated by iron weed.
5 My resident botanist says this is a composite he’s not familiar with. He says it doesn’t grow in Ohio. (I thought it looked just like one of our Ohio wildflowers.)
6 Until I saw them growing wild on Cape Cod, I’d only ever seen porcelain berries as cultivated nursery plants.
7 These wild rose hips were the size of small apples. The wild rose hips I’ve seen in northern Ohio are no bigger than the size of peas.
11 These rocks are remnants of an old wall.
12 Here’s a new rock wall.
15 This and the rocks in the following photographs were beside the park trail, not part of a wall.
18 As other photos in this post also show, lichens like Cape Cod.
November 19, 2019
Yes I always look for Leptothrix discophora when I’m at the river (see Sunday’s post), and yes our destination was the waterfall (see Monday’s post). But along the way many other things caught my eye. Here is a sampling. You’ll notice that I have a thing for rocks.
1 I don’t know what made those yellow-ish marks on the riverbed. Maybe it’s where mudstone is showing through algae that was scuffed up by a crayfish. Except that mudstone is grey—at least all the mudstone I’ve seen is.
2 I love seeing plants growing on other plants—even on dead ones. Logs that harbor other growth are called nurse logs. Isn’t that cool?
3 Many cliffs along the Vermilion River show where the earth has been formed or deformed over the eons—layers bent or upended. The white stripes are limestone layers in the shale that hold broken stalks of crinoid fossils.
4 The shale shore fractures in such interesting shapes. You’d think this is poured cement.
6 We have glacial erratics all over Ohio. They are especially visible in and along river beds.
7 Along one section of the river, rocks were patterned with white lichens. At least I think these are lichens.
8 This plant, bedded down in the moss covering a rock, will have a short life. But what a pretty one.
November 18, 2019
This post—a continuation of yesterday’s—is about the waterfall David and I visit when we walk downriver in northern Ohio’s Vermilion River, which we do most Septembers.
Update of November 22, 2019: In the Comments section, Steve Gingold asked if I’d thought of stitching together photographs 6 and 7. Look below photograph 7 to see how that worked.
1 This photograph is from August 2006. I had heard about a waterfall not far from Schoepfle Garden that could be accessed from the river. Here is my first view of it. As pretty as this small waterfall was, I was a little disappointed.
2 David thought there might be more, so he clambered up the cliff to have a look.
3 This year, when I saw the base of the cliff, I was not disappointed because I knew what was coming.
4 I could happily linger here.
5 This was our destination. From the top of the cliff to the pool, the water falls about 20 feet. It’s not spectacular as waterfalls go, but it counts as a real waterfall to me.
6 and 7 stitched together in Photoshop, per Steve Gingold’s suggestion. It almost works.
June 9, 2019
It’s happened again: the feeling that I’ve gone stale, taken my life’s quota of decent photographs, and all that’s left is to repeat myself. It doesn’t help that we’ve had so much rain that I can’t even get close to the river, let alone walk across it to the other side, where all the good photographs are. (You may recall the fence on the other side of which the grass is always greener.) I was in Schoepfle Garden yesterday hoping to discover something. I was prepared to try intentional camera movement if nothing came along. And it didn’t. ICM is always a crapshoot (think of the ways you can read that word). So when I downloaded, I didn’t expect to find a lot of treasures. But I did think I’d find a few. What I found was very few—so I tried going black and white with the best ones. The B&Ws may be my favorites. I wonder what you think. I also wonder if it will ever stop raining long enough for me to get next to the river. I need to get out of this slump . . . maybe a completely new location . . . or is that the fence with the greener grass on the other side, too . . .
May 28, 2019
Many of you know that I don’t photograph flowers—except when I do. Two photographs of flowers play bookends here to the rest of my haul from walking in Schoepfle Garden a week ago Saturday. In between are lichens on a low retaining wall and some favorite trees along the Vermilion River. Elsewhere in the park, I wasn’t surprised to see this stump; the tree had been visibly ailing. But I was surprised that someone had painted the edges of the stump with orange paint. Drawing closer, however, I saw that it wasn’t orange paint but a bright-orange fungus. None of my photographs of the fungus up close came out. I wonder if the brightness could have thrown off my camera’s focussing ability. Had I done more chimping, I might have noticed that the fungus was not in focus. Maybe I would even have thought to try manual focus. At least the section of the stump that is spalted turned out. The next photograph is in monotone because it was too confusing in color. Moving in, thus cutting down on the number of elements in the frame, the subject could handle color. I found some Leptothrix discophora along the river, but we’ve had so much rain that it was quite young (previous films having been washed down toward Lake Erie) and probably is all gone by now. Even though this film is very young, you know you’re looking at L. discophora when the water reflects the surrounding foliage so brilliantly. The opening flower photograph is of dogwood, but I don’t know the name of the closing flower. Maybe one or more of you do. The last image is a crop of the previous one. Click on it to see it larger.
April 15, 2019
The way that life grows on other life may be especially visible in semitropical and tropical locations. In Florida festooned trees draw my attention and wonder. A walk this winter in the Myakka River State Park with my friend Jean provided more instances of such complexities than usual—probably because Jean pointed out some beautiful examples at the very beginning of our wandering. The culmination was a tree and its inhabitants that Jean calls her favorite tree. Perched bromeliads (some people call them air plants, though that is a misnomer) and mosses growing on trees are easy to spot and appreciate. So are many species of lichens, which are not plants at all but hybrid life forms that combine fungi and (usually) green algae or cyanobacteria. Jean’s favorite tree is special for hosting a variety of lichens, including the subtlest—pale washes of color that make you lean in to see if you can catch when one faint hue gives way to another. Even a short walk through a forest of growth on top of growth may be enough to make you marvel at the connectedness of life, perhaps even to recall the John Donne poem.
And a detail of the photo above:
June 23, 2018
The last time I went to Schoepfle Garden, I noticed for the first time this paper-bark maple tree.
June 9, 2018
June 8, 2018
June 7, 2018
June 6, 2018
June 5, 2018
June 4, 2018
June 3, 2018
June 2, 2018
April 8, 2018
New snow has fallen since March 4 and was still hanging around in pieces March 26.
April 7, 2018
Although the temperature in the area never rose above 36 degrees Fahrenheit March 4, the sun was out, dislodging snow and ice from tree branches overhanging the Back Pond.
April 6, 2018
By the time you see this post, spring may have appeared in full in northeast Ohio, but this blog will linger on the transition from winter for a while longer. While the photographs in the previous eight posts were taken in Oberlin (on March 10), the rest of this series features photos taken in Schoepfle Garden. I always make my way down to the Vermilion River by way of the Back Pond. Here’s how the pond looked March 4.
April 4, 2018
Ice had formed on the surface of a pond. A polarizing filter was on the camera lens. The download of photographs was more surprising than usual. I wasn’t thinking of interference colors when I took these photographs, but that’s what was going on. The explanation in the link above is a bit thick, but if you’re keen to know more, there’s more information here and here. (Longtime followers of this blog know that the colors of Leptothrix discophora films—which I photograph ad nauseam—are due to the interference phenomenon and may not be surprised that I raise the topic again.) OK, but here’s a new puzzle for me: Why is the ice forming in shards? Does ice always form that way? Mysteries, mysteries.
April 2, 2018
March 31, 2018
March 7, 2018
Every year, I’m surprised by the beautiful emerging or senescing leaves of the seagrape. Like fall maple leaves up north, no two are ever alike. I’m never in Florida in late summer, when the trees bear edible fruit.
March 6, 2018
March 5, 2018