My Photo-Walk – July 2012

Nature reclaims . . .

Nature reclaims . . .

One of our favorite activity is walking.  Melisa walks every day and, whenever I am home, I happily join her.  Our typical walk is four to four and a half miles, usually with something like a 300 to 400 feet elevation change.   One of our routes includes an area that was slated to be a subdivision, but got caught in the housing crash and now sits blocked off from auto traffic.  Locals regularly walk their dogs there, and use it as a pedestrian area.

Plants are slowly reclaiming the road that cuts through the site, and I always thought it offered a good photo opportunity.  In late July I dedicated a few hours to photo-walking a quarter mile stretch of the place.  The following are the result.

This stretch is actually open to traffic, connecting the local high school with our subdivision.

This stretch is actually open to traffic, connecting the local high school with our subdivision.

That’s Pikes Peak in the distance.  The Peak is visible from multiple places along our walk.  Those are Common Mullein plants, and invasive species common in these parts.  I always thought they were milkweed plants.  I looked them up for this post, and I now stand . . . er . . . sit corrected.

Like in the opening photograph, those are common sunflower plants.

Like in the opening photograph, those are common sunflower plants.

I don’t think they are common at all; they have amazing flowers (more later).  However, this particular setting was a bit . . . blah, so I played around with it.

Processed with the onOne Suite of effects and treatments.

Processed with the onOne Suite of effects and treatments.

Amadeus!!  . . . how could you!!

Amadeus!! . . . how could you!!

Actually, I’m pretty sure it’s a forgery.  I think the guy died a while back.  But, I was impressed with how cultured the graffiti artist around these parts are.  Bravo!

Grass is leading the reclamation effort.

Grass is leading the reclamation effort.

I had planned on many wonderful shots of grass and grass seeds.  Unfortunately, the wind picked up just as I made it to the area in question.

I did manage to capture a few.  I think this is Rye.  Or not.

I did manage to capture a few. I think this is Rye. Or not.

By the way, astute viewers (especially in SmugMug) might notice small editing signs.  A rare thing for me, I had neglected to clean my camera, and a number of black spots marred every picture.  Blending them out added to my edit time, and served to ingrain a valuable lesson; take care of your equipment.  And right after that, take care of your camera and lenses.

This particular flower caught my attention.  It could not have been more than a quarter-inch round.  Very tiny, and delicate.

This particular flower caught my attention. It could not have been more than a quarter-inch round. Very tiny, and delicate.

One other thing which I wanted to work on during this walk was the use of low-angle shots.  I have this articulating tripod that lets me set the camera very low to the ground, and still be angled upward.  I can then fire the camera remotely.  My knees appreciate it greatly.

I probably walked by these kinds of plants hundreds of times, and never noticed a very important thing.

I probably walked by these kinds of plants hundreds of times, and never noticed a very important thing.

They attract lots of insects, and they ooze stuff.

They attract lots of insects, and they ooze stuff.

Pretty disgusting-looking, really.  It’s a Gumweed Plant.  And you can’t hardly snap a picture without some bug being in the shot.  I spent nearly forty minutes just photographing this plant.

This is a Sweat Bee, and it was intent on hitting all the flowers on this plant.

This is a Sweat Bee, and it was intent on hitting all the flowers on this plant.

And there, on one of the flowers, what do I see?  A Northern Crab Spider.  Small thing.  The flowers were maybe a inch round, and this guy blended in very nicely.

And there, on one of the flowers, what do I see? A Northern Crab Spider. Small thing. The flowers were maybe a inch round, and this guy blended in very nicely.

That little spider was very animated, and not only because of my lens a few inches away from him.  He seemed to be trying to get comfortable.  And yes, I also shot movies, but did I mention it was windy?  Really, it’s not something you want to watch if prone to motion sickness.

This to me looks like a Soldier Beetle, but I cannot be sure.  I need better bug books.

This to me looks like a Soldier Beetle, but I cannot be sure. I need better bug books.

This particular guy was adamant about occupying this flower.  Do you remember the Sweat bee?

Well, the bee kept trying to land on this flower.

Well, the bee kept trying to land on this flower.

The beetle basically ignored the bee, and did not budge.

The beetle basically ignored the bee, and did not budge.

The thing is, there were many, many flowers. I could not figure out why that particular flower was in high demand. Then again, I am not a bug.  Yes, I know I bug people; it’s not the same.

A close-up of one of the oozing flowers.

A close-up of one of the oozing flowers.

I almost touched the stuff, but seeing as I handle multiple expensive lenses and an expensive camera, I thought it best to let it be.

Did I mention this little guy was moving around a lot?

Did I mention this little guy was moving around a lot?

. . . at one point he even mooned me.  Cheeky bastard!

. . . at one point he even mooned me. Cheeky bastard!

Meanwhile, the Sweat Bee was having a heart-to-heart with the beetle . . .

Meanwhile, the Sweat Bee was having a heart-to-heart with the beetle . . .

Again, to no avail.  His head was buried in the flower, and he never even looked up.

Again, to no avail. His head was buried in the flower, and he never even looked up.

After I had more shots than I could use, I moved on to the thistle.  In this particular instance, it was Wavyleafed Thistle.  I never knew there were so many different thistle . . . until I started looking.

On the left you can see a few Salsify plant seeds caught on the spines of the thistle.

On the left you can see a few Salsify plant seeds caught on the spines of the thistle.

A Longhorn Bee came visiting as I was photographing the flower.  This is another treatment using onOne software.

A Longhorn Bee came visiting as I was photographing the flower. This is another treatment using onOne software.

The original shot.

The original shot.

This bee was also oblivious to me snapping photos from a few inches away.

This bee was also oblivious to me snapping photos from a few inches away.

It just went about its business . . .

It just went about its business . . .

. . . and then it too mooned me.

. . . and then it too mooned me.

There were a number of different grasses, but as I said above, they were a-swaying in the breeze.  Did manage a few when they momentarily stopped.

Grass . . . don't know what all the hoopla is about smoking this stuff, or why it costs so much.  Lots of it just laying about, and no one pays it no mind.

Grass . . . don’t know what all the hoopla is about smoking this stuff, or why it costs so much. Lots of it just laying about, and no one pays it no mind.

Aside all the thriving weeds, there are also remnants of weeds from seasons past, or maybe earlier in the year.

What's left of a Wavyleafed thistle after all the glory has passed.

What’s left of a Wavyleafed thistle after all the glory has passed.

This one had particularly nice coloring.  Yes, I like gray.

This one had particularly nice coloring. Yes, I like gray.

This looked as if it would make a nice nest for a very tiny bird.

This looked as if it would make a nice nest for a very tiny bird.

As I said, I experimented with ground-level shots.

As I said, I experimented with ground-level shots.

Hairy Evening Primrose plant - - - not a very flattering name, but a pretty flower on this plant.

Hairy Evening Primrose plant – – – not a very flattering name, but a pretty flower on this plant.

More grass . . . I don't see how you could even roll this into a cigarette.

More grass . . . I don’t see how you could even roll this into a cigarette.

It was difficult to pick a favorite flower, but if pressed I would have to go with the Bull Thistle.

My favorite obnoxious weed.

My favorite obnoxious weed.

But first, let’s look at the common sunflower plant.

Ain't it purty?

Ain’t it purty?

Wait . . . we interrupt the sunflower plant for a developing situation on a bull thistle.

That is likely an Orange Sulphur Butterfly

That is likely an Orange Sulphur Butterfly

I also shot movies of it, but again, the flower was weaving vigorously in the wind, and the movies are for crap.

I also shot movies of it, but again, the flower was weaving vigorously in the wind, and the movies are for crap.

Once again my presence was of no concern to the butterfly.  Perhaps it cound not see me behind the massive lens stuck in its face.

Once again my presence was of no concern to the butterfly. Perhaps it cound not see me behind the massive lens stuck in its face.

Like every other flower, the thistle did attract a number of insects.

Like every other flower, the thistle did attract a number of insects.

Occasionally I would find a flower devoid of insects . . .

Occasionally I would find a flower devoid of insects . . .

Typically, young buds were pristine . . . and very showy.

Typically, young buds were pristine . . . and very showy.

This has some type of fly or midge on it.  Could not positively identify it.  If I ever become king, all bugs will be required to carry identification papers.

This has some type of fly or midge on it. Could not positively identify it. If I ever become king, all bugs will be required to carry identification papers.

But back to the sunflowers . . .

But back to the sunflowers . . .

They are a close second to the thistle as far as beauty.  They look magnificent, especially when viewed close-up.

At first I thought those "spidery" things were insect legs, but no. They are part of the flower.

At first I thought those “spidery” things were insect legs, but no. They are part of the flower.

I will once again take the opportunity to suggest a visit to SmugMug might be in order.  All these pictures will show much better there than here.  Just click HERE.   There are 124 photographs in the gallery. 

Oh look! . . . more grass.

Oh look! . . . more grass.

Anyway, back to the sunflower . . .

Oddly, the back of the plant looks as good as the front.  Notice the shadow of the bug.

Oddly, the back of the plant looks as good as the front. Notice the shadow of the bug.

It was a very curious bug . . .

It was a very curious bug . . .

. . . it came around to see what I was up to.

. . . it came around to see what I was up to.

A shot of the plants growing between the road and the curb.

A shot of the plants growing between the road and the curb.

A ruby crown . . .

A ruby crown . . .

A shot of the neglected median . . .

A shot of the neglected median . . .

. . . and another.

. . . and another.

This was incredibly small for the amount of detail it had. It seems to be the same type of plant that sports a tiny yellow flower in the beginning of this gallery.

This was incredibly small for the amount of detail it had. It seems to be the same type of plant that sports a tiny yellow flower in the beginning of this gallery.

I had to shoot the above with one hand as I steadied the plant with the other. The wind was blowing it around pretty good.

Close-up of the mullein flower.

Close-up of the mullein flower.

This might be the remnants of a Mullein flower . . . I don't think so, but who knows. Nice texture, though.

This might be the remnants of a Mullein flower . . . I don’t think so, but who knows. Nice texture, though.

There are a lot of these things around, and I can't be bothered to find out what they are, But they don't look particularly attractive.

There are a lot of these things around, and I can’t be bothered to find out what they are, But they don’t look particularly attractive.

Until one takes a close look.

Until one takes a close look.

As the sun rose higher, the heat became more than I wanted to tolerate.  I called Melisa to come and pick me up, and snapped this last photo while I waited.

This is the tip of some sort of grass. I noticed it had flowers on it. Very, very small flowers.

This is the tip of some sort of grass. I noticed it had flowers on it. Very, very small flowers.

I thank you for letting me share my photo-walk with you, and stay tuned for the Hummers of Summer.

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About disperser

Odd guy with odd views living an odd life during odd times.
This entry was posted in Black & White, Black and White, Effects and Filters, Macro Photography, Photography Stuff, Wildflowers and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

24 Responses to My Photo-Walk – July 2012

  1. Gunta says:

    I rather wished you had identified the one in the 2nd and 3rd to last because it’s an obnoxious weed that grows here and it’s really, really hard to pull up. Great shots of the becoming wasteland and it’s lovely flowers.

    Like

  2. kurt says:

    Some amazing shots in here. Great color.

    Like

  3. Aren’t walks even better with your camera close by :)
    All of them were beautiful
    Thanks
    Eunice

    Like

  4. Emily Heath says:

    I enjoyed seeing all the insects and the gumweed plant, don’t think we have an equivalent of that in the UK. Amusing that the beetle was blocking the bee!

    Like

  5. Nice shots. It seems nature always wins in the end and reclaims what was once hers…whether it be quietly; little by little..a seed here and there… or in one great big commotion.

    Like

  6. What a fabulous series. It’s amazing what you can find in such a small area. Your macros are fantastic – and for such a windy day. What tripod do you use. I have to carry a gardening pad with me when I take macros to protect my knees, back, and everything else.

    Like

    • disperser says:

      The tripod I use most often is the Velbon EL Carmagne 540 Carbon Fiber Tripod –Black ($129). I have a larger aluminum Manfrotto which is sturdier and allows horizontal shooting as well. However, that is only used when I am traveling by car. I use the Joby Gorillapod Flexible Tripod for very low shots or shots where I need to secure the camera in odd places (note, it does not work well with heavy lenses).

      I have two ball heads I use, both with pistol grips. One is the Opteka TS-1 TacShot Pistol Grip Ball Head (http://amzn.to/RDW68r) which is a steal for the price ($35). It’s not “finely made” but I use it a lot, and I’m happy with it.

      The other is the Manfrotto 322RC2 Joystick Head ($135 – http://amzn.to/RDW68r) which is a bit more refined.

      By far my preferred method for shooting is hand-held, however, all of the above photos were taken with the camera on a tripod, the shutter set to remote release with the mirror up feature (that’s where the mirror lifts before the picture is taken to avoid potential shaking). I do get better results this way (see pictures in SmugMug), but it takes longer and is not as easy lugging a tripod around. I only do it when I specifically go out to photograph something. Usually I’m strolling with my wife, and a hand-held shot is my typical M. O.

      I also have a Manfrotto monopole which I mostly carry when I walk. I use it to beat on the owners of unruly dogs.

      Like

  7. Too many beautiful photos, Disperser, I might get jealous. ;) Rye, yes I believe so, it is the only one grown around here. The processed bee on the tistle is probably my favorite, but the tall grass is also one of them.

    Like

  8. AnnMarie says:

    I just finished my tour of the SmugMug gallery and want to express my appreciation to you for turning a walk into a wonder. As I just mentioned to you on the phone, I can always count on your nature entries in you blog and your amazing SmugMug galleries to lift my spirits. Thanks for sharing yourself with us.

    Like

  9. Pingback: Looking back at what was lost | Disperser Tracks

  10. Pingback: Project 313 – Post No. 091 | Disperser Tracks

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