Plant Photography: Lighting

5.25 x 5.25 Sunflower_5104

Photography. The very word means “writing with light.” In spite of all our digital technology, light is still the most important aspect of a photograph. And light is often the difference between a nice picture and an outstanding work of art. The old masters knew this—think of Rembrandt, with the light  illuminating his subject:

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A PPB&NF Weekend

I don’t go to many birding festivals. They cost money and they attract crowds. I’m not a big fan of crowds. But I make an exception every year for the Pikes Peak Birding and Nature Festival, held right here in the Pikes Peak region of Colorado. In fact, not only do I go to the festival, I’m a volunteer.

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Nasty Knapweeds

Centaurea stoebe_Spotted Knapweed_PikeNat'lForest-CO_LAH_1141rThe flowers could be considered somewhat pretty—a white or lavender tuft reminding me of cornflowers (aka bachelor’s buttons). The somewhat pretty flowers are probably the only positive aspect of these plants. A common noxious weed, knapweed is the bane of my garden.

The problem is that we live immediately adjacent to an open space, a few supposedly wild acres left by the developer (probably because it’s too steep to build on). There’s Gambel’s oak, six Ponderosa pines, a smattering of yucca, assorted wildflowers, and some rather nasty weeds.

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Flightless Birds

What do the Ostrich, Kiwi, penguin, and Giant Coot have in common? Yes, they’re all birds—but none of them can fly. In fact, there are over 60 species of flightless birds, including all the Ratities (the family that includes the Ostrich, Rhea, Emu, and similar species) and all the penguins (in spite of the evidence in this video):

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May Bird Quiz: Uncropped Photo

If you were stymied on Monday, now can you name this bird? The photo was taken in Colorado in May. The answer will appear at the end of next Monday’s post.

05_Lincoln Co-CO_LAH_6325

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A Better-Mannered Forget-me-Not

Brunnera macrophylla_Siberian Bugloss_DBG-CO_LAH_6652

On a recent trip to the botanic gardens, I was captivated by a constellation of tiny blue flowers, stars spread on tender green leaves in the shade of some mature pines. Five azure petals surrounded a hollow white center on blossoms under a quarter inch in diameter. They bloomed in profusion, an inverted sky beneath my feet.

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May Bird Quiz

Can you identify this bird? The photo was taken in Colorado during the month of May. The answer will appear next week.

05_Lincoln Co-CO_LAH_6325f

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