What the ocean blows in…

This is the third day of rough seas thanks for the first “tropical wave” pre-hurricane season. What most fascinating of beach walks is that every single day brings new experiences and finds. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

A new treasure on the Lauderdale by the Sea beach in Florida. CLICK image to see LBTS’s EarthCam; it’s the perfect place to relax, even if the seas are rough. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Second miracle discovery…

Spotted this on the beach near one of the Common Purple Snails shown the other day to you. Looked at first like a shell on top of some dark sand. Moving to the side so that I didn’t cast a shadow on it I saw the vertical clear “sail” on top. It is a By-The-Wind-Sailor (Velella, aka Sea Raft. It makes sense that I saw it near one of its predators, the Common Purple Snail. The By-the-wind-sailor is related to the Men of War. This one was only a couple of inches in size; not sure how large they can become. I continued to be amazed and humbled by nature’s designs. Brand new miracle found (witnessed?) this morning!

By-the-wind-Sailor beached after high tide receded. Copyright 2018 Pamela Breitberg

Nature’s defense…

Snow packed Arborvitae copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

Snow packed Arborvitae copyright 2014 Pamela Breitberg

These evergreen trees were planted as a privacy wall by a nearby neighbor that faces an open field owned by Commonwealth Edison, our electric company. This winter, their matured growth serves as a sturdy barrier, collecting some of this record-breaking season’s wind-blown snow. What wildlife is huddled down inside keeping relatively dry and warm is left to my imagination; it would be unkind of me to disrupt the dense fortification to seek answers to my wonderings.

These trees are most likely American Arborvitae (Thuja occidentalis ‘American’), used often for the purpose previously described: to act as a hedge wall. The brown elements showing through the snow are most likely opened cones absent of seeds.

For more information: http://www.na.fs.fed.us/pubs/silvics_manual/Volume_1/thuja/occidentalis.htm

Delicately strong…

Yellow coneflower copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Yellow coneflower copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Prairie winds torment photographers. Dusk’s side lighting with the sky’s gentle ambient glow soothes the soul. This evening the winds were gusty as a cold front drew near and the sun began its descent. A lens shade and polarizing filter are usual additions to my lens for such settings.

Prairie winds copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Prairie winds copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Yellow Coneflower (Ratibida pinnata) danced chaotically. Each petal on each bloom seemed to have its own different idea of which way to go. Don’t be fooled by the delicacy of this flower. Nature’s resilience gives strength to prairie blooms so that they can withstand the frequent and ever changing winds. Yellow Coneflower survives urbanization better than most prairie natives.

swiftly catching calm…

Hosta buds copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Hosta buds copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Ah, the thrill of a new toy, which for me is a new camera. These images were taken with a Nikon AW110 using the macro setting. Reading the manual, yes, I’m one of those people, I couldn’t resist testing out their claim that it could focus as close as 1cm.

Geranium (annual) flower copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Geranium (annual) flower copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

My subject choice today was a variety of three-dimensional flowers, resulting in an overall soft effect except for one sharp focal point. Macro photography often creates images with shallow depth of field. Of course it was breezy outside as our 95 degree heat wave began to be pushed eastward by a cold (less warm) front. Patience and timing were required to allow the camera time to focus on such close range subjects.

No-wind is rarer than one realizes until one tries to photograph a flower or grass. My preference for hand-held image creations along with nature’s continual animation provide continual challenges in creating crisply sharp, artistically lit and composed images. This just means I must spend more time outdoors which for any nature photographer is an appreciated gift.

Hydrangea flowers copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Hydrangea flowers copyright 2013 Pamela Breitberg

Perfect winds…

 

Common Milkweed in seed copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg


    Not the “perfect storm” that many are suffering through today in this country. Instead the early morning saw the perfect winds needed to spread seeds that depend on gusts to break open pods and send their silky skirted seeds dancing through the air. Milkweed (Asclepias syriaca L.)
seeds floating through the air always remind me of Disney’s Fantasia scene, Tchaikovsky’s Waltz of the Flowers.

 

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    The dancing Milkweed seeds begin about 2 minutes into the dance.

    Common Milkweed seed pod copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

The prairie is known for its wind; even on still days I find it a game of patience to capture a plant’s likeness. The prairie plants are never still for more than a brief moment at a time. This morning was windy, so a challenge for portrait photography of a subject. What I enjoy is finding a subject that somehow is relatively still while surrounded by a blur of motion. The Milkweed is relatively sturdy compared to surrounding grasses so it appears there is more depth of field in the image than usual from my use of a long lens. The background yields a more out-of-focus appearance because of the plants’ continuous movements. The Goldenrod seed heads are also relatively sturdy so they appear more in focus in the background.

No wind…

Canada Thistle copyright 2012 Pamela Breitberg

Wasn’t sure what I was looking at when I walked past a large display of thistle along the street. I did see a spider quickly vanish behind a bloom, but the white fuzzy mass did not look like spider web. This is actually non-blown collection of feather-like tufts of hair attached to the end of seeds. Each flower can produce 40-80 seeds, so with little wind to disperse the ripened seeds they were just hanging out on top the plant.

My best guess for this mass of roadside weed is that it is Canada thistle (cirsium arvense); and no, I do not welcome it in my yard,, though I actually have not witnessed any attempt for it to enter.

For more information on thistles check out: http://bulletin.ipm.illinois.edu/article.php?id=64