Thought I’d look at my March images from last winter/spring so that I could share some more colorful, spring-like images. Well, there was snow on the ground then too. But only enough to coat the ground and still allow plant remnants to poke through. And look, the dormant shrubby remains have foggy water drops….no frozen snow.
Many persons are grossed out thinking about spiders; they don’t even have to see one to feel tingly. These predators may be venomous commanding serious fear. Knowing that they protect many favorite plants from their predators is reason for gardeners to tolerate their presence outdoors, from a distance. Morning on the prairie reveals multiple spiders’ webs dripping with morning dew; the spiders’ traps that in the dark of night were hidden traps.
These tiny creatures survive by creating amazing works of art, often a new piece every day. The diversity in this species is mirrored in the diverse web patterns found in the prairie. These architectural feats were not learned over multiple workshop sessions like many of us have endured. Many times our large brain attempts to crochet or knit fail to produce anything with a detailed pattern eliciting praise from observers. Spiders are masters at their craft and deserve respect for this talent.
I invite you to spend a few moments looking past the beautiful webs and find the two spiders in one image. Then notice the large lump attached to one grass stem, the carefully bound prey held in reserve for later dining. The spider web images are more complete with these inclusions.
Sunrise in the forest is uneventful at best; there is no dramatic glowing ball rising from the horizon. Pre-dawn can be a tease for the nature photographer in the forest. The coyote, deer and other nocturnal animals are still up and about but the camera produces dull images. Colors become evident as light gradually penetrates between trees, signaling photographers that it is now prime time to capture wildlife images as in my previous post, “The Formative Years”.
The trail I took this morning led me out of the forest and into the prairie. Coming out of the forest preserve, at 6:30 a.m., shortly after sunrise in midsummer, presented an American version of a French impressionism scene. The warm earth and cool morning air produced fresh dew on every blossom and leaf. Fog layers interspersed grasses. The rising sun would soon warm the air to equal the earth’s temperature dissipating visible liquid drops back into unseen vapor. Timing is everything; photographing nature takes both patience and early rising, along with some good fortune.
Revelation is in the detail. Zoom in on each of image and see what more often than not remains unnoticed. Plump balls of morning dew crowd on pedals and stems while stamen and buds appear dry. These blooms nod not because of abundant mass but as an adaptation that helps deter insects while also protecting the nectar from rain. In spite of the incredible dexterity of flying insects most choose not to hang upside down. The bee is the benefactor of this plant’s design, enjoying the protected nectar of Nodding Onion (Allium cernuum) .
These images are busier in composition than I prefer; too many lines and no real focal point that makes the subject easily understood. The thin grass leaves are echoed by the long thin pedicels holding each flower. Only the change in color from green to pinkish white and the spherical cluster of blooms draw one’s eye to this plant. Yet, like the prairie, taking a close look at each image is time well spent.
When the air is cool and the season warm, grasses and dew are nature’s instant breakfast.