Who lives here now? Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
History is evidence of the continuity of life, even after death. Science class teaches the continuousness of the cycle of life.This big ole’ Oak Tree stopped me in my path. Stories of the past, present and future were ripening in my mind when I stopped at this mighty giant on my morning walk.
The fuzziness of the hole in bottom intrigues me; I’ve seen holes in trees before but none so thick with rotted wood or moss or animal hairs or…. it would be a comfy retreat for resident wildlife. Looking upward it appears that the tree is still alive. Dead trees are valued as hosts for other living creatures and plants; and this tree has clear confirmation of hosting vines and animals.
So if you sense a good story here I would love to read it; share your imaginations here.
Mature oak tree in the winter of it’s life. Copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
While cooler weather and shorter days lead to fallen leaves and trees beginning their dormancy, some life thrives. Seems like the moss thriving right now on dead wood is mocking the standing trees.
Moss carpeting a fall log. Copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Prairie natives, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Life has had other things in store for me lately, so posting to my blog was sidelined. My intent of sharing my joy of nature’s wonders remains. I begin with today’s post of an image that I like for its composition and content.
The composition follows the rule of 1/3s with the grasshoppers on the right third. Ideally I’d have the subject on the right third, since eyes tend to look from left to right; your eyes would “rest” on the right 1/3 more naturally. But the background flowers leaning to the left work to send one’s eye back to the subject on the left. Depth is created with a definitive background and foreground.
Two prairie natives appear in this image. The Cup Plant (Silphium perfoliatum) was on the edge of a trail bordering a patch of preserved prairie inside the Cook County Forest Preserve. Typical of native prairie plants, this tall, deep-rooted plant commands attention with its sunny blooms. The Differential Grasshopper (Melanoplus differentialis), as evidenced from this image, mates in the fall and prefers flourishing flora. Egg pods will be laid and buried one to two inches underground and hatch the following spring.
Trillium are in bloom as well as the other previously mentioned springtime woodland plants. This patch of forest held both the Great White Trillium (trillium grandiflorum) and Purple Trillium (Trillium recurvatum). Appropriately, named “Great” White Trillium’s bloom is substantially grander than the understated Purple Trillium. The first’s brilliant white stance draws one’s eyes in contrast to the purple’s blending into the woodland shade.
Tiny flower of Purple Trillium. Bloom in no larger than your finger nail. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
“Grand” Great White Trillium, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Leaves and pedals of three, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
For more reading see older posts:
- Frosted Trillium, April 2012
- Humble interests, May 2013
First glance of this white patch of springtime, from my bicycle, looks like a uniform cluster of Wood Anemone (Anemone quinquefolia), named by the famed Carl Linnaeus in 1753. Natural diversity is one of the amazing characteristics of a wild, mostly-undisturbed area. Chicago’s Cook Country Forest Preserve is as close as I can get in this urban area to native wildlife.
As I get closer to the Anemone, I realize that other spring blooms are present in this “mostly” Anemone patch of forest floor. Note the Trout Lily leaves in the right and lower portions of the overall image. The fence in the background separates a public golf course from the bike trail. The shrub is probably the invasive Common Buckthorn (Rhamnus cathartica) and its presence reinforces that this is an urban, partly disturbed forest.
This small patch of woodland floor hosts a multitude of plant species; some will become visible in several months. This time my eyes stay focused on the natives.
Forest floor of Anemone and Trout Lily, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Wood Anemone with a few other natives. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Close up of Anemone with Trout Lily peaking into frame. copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Portrait of tiny Wood Anemone, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Violet on forest floor, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Portrait of Violets, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
More of my posts on Violets: “Branched cluster of violet flowers” Sept. 2011; “Silent graces” June 2014; “Native survivors” July 2013; “Essence of tradition” October 2013; “Old fashion” October 2013
Getting down to a child’s eye level is the best way to appreciate them. Children are less intimidated when you’re at their level inviting an opportunity for them to open up to new ideas and share their thinking. This learned lesson from years as a teacher, is similarly applicable when photographing wildlife.
An eye level view with spring wild flowers is worth a little dirt on the knees. Tip One: wear long pants to avoid irritations and be careful to not crush your subjects. The forest floor is plentiful with blooms this spring. I’m unsure if it is a result of restoration in this area, or if the temperatures and precipitation were perfect for such abundance.
These images of the native White Trout Lily (Erythronium albidum)
show a top and inside view of its flower. The inside view of the flower is only possible from a ground level perspective because the plant is only 5-6 inches tall and the flower faces downward when open. Tip Two: spend a few extra minutes getting to know other low growing (and moving) wildlife while at your new vantage point.
See “It’s Complicated” posted October 2013 for more information about the White Trout Lily.
White Trout Lily in bloom, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
Top down view of Trout Lily, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
White Trout Lily on forest floor, copyright 2015, Pamela Breitberg
A few more favorites of one of my favorite places!
Lilies in the wet ground. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Marsh woodland during the springtime. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Two micro habitats on forest floor. copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg
Two very different habitats though inches away in location. In the first image, the forest floor still has some un-melted snow while the top side of a decaying log resting on the same floor hosts a warmer habitat’s greening moss. The second image shows more green moss atop two logs resting in a typical vernal pool. Vernal pools are temporary springtime micro-habitats created when the still frozen ground has not yet absorbed the melted snows of winter.
Vernal spring pond with moss laden logs, copyright 2015 Pamela Breitberg