May 15, 2018

Cloudy, 62 Degrees, Light North Wind.

After going through my ritual of pain for the morning, I pick up Jamie’s collar and he comes running. He stays in bed until he’s sure I’m leaving. I hobble out to the car and head for the woods. This is the first morning in the woods in a few days and I’m eager to see the changes.

It’s been raining in the night, so everything is wet, with many of the tree trunks and brush branches dark with rain. This look is perfect for illustrating the rich green that is coming to dominate the woods now.

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This branch of Oak leaves was pretty against the dark background. 

I drive up to the woods (still not nearly well enough to walk up there) and park on the side of the road. I start with a couple of shots of the road, and the conditions are perfect. The sky is dark enough that you can really see the upper branches nicely. There are leaves coming out up there, but they haven’t closed off the sky yet. The photos should be great.

From there, I give Jamie the sign, and he dashes off down the trail with me in slow pursuit. Despite all the pain in the morning, I’m walking pretty comfortably and that’s a real surprise and a pleasure. Right away, I can see how the woods and brush are rapidly filling in with rich, fresh green. The place is transformed from just a few days ago.

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This gives a sense of how rich the woods look now. 

I photograph a number of places along the trail where the richness and variety of greens looks especially beautiful. I think some of these shots might be really nice too.

I’m having one of the most relaxed and enjoyable walks I can remember in a long time. With the clouds, I don’t have to worry about the light changing much. I’m not rushing to catch a sunrise or sunset light. And my back pain is minimal. All in all, it’s wonderful.

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Another example of the richness of the new growth. 

I keep strolling along, stopping at particularly rich and beautiful places. I’m using the 70 – 200mm lens and the tripod, so I should be getting fantastic images; nice and sharp and free of noise. I’ve been carrying the tripod for a few trips now, and I’m getting quite comfortable with it.

I’m just carrying it, with the legs extended and splayed out, in one hand and it seems no burden at all. When I see something I want to photograph, I just set it on its feet, compose, and shoot. It makes me wonder why I resisted carrying it for so long. I guess, like everything else I’ve been doing, you figure it out and you get used to it.

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I really liked these delicate leaves against the dark branches and woods behind. 

Using the tripod should really improve my images, and I don’t have to take two or three shots of everything, hoping to get the composition right, and the image sharp. I can get it right in one shot. I can always take the camera off and do what I was doing if it’s appropriate, but I haven’t felt the need yet.

I make my way down to the woods on the lower level, and I see they’re really filling in. The new leaves are mostly on the lower story of the woods at this point. The tree tops are still fairly open.

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Down in the woods, things are filling in but still a long way to go. 

Down at the marsh, things are really filling in there too. The trail is surrounded by more green, and the trees are starting to really obscure the distant trees across the marsh.

I came upon a single Trillium. It’s a common and very beautiful wildflower in Northern Michigan. Up there, the Trillium will carpet the floor of a wooded area and it’s spectacular. You don’t see as much of it down here. There is only a single plant here, and it’s the only one I remember seeing.

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A poor shot of this Trillium. I’ll make a better effort next time. 

Looking at the flower, I belatedly realize why it is named Trillium. Each flower has three petals, and this particular plant has three stems. Maybe they all do, I’ve never noticed. I’m still a little too stiff and sore to get down low and photograph the flower in detail, so I just take a documentary shot and move on. Maybe next time I’ll get down there on hands and knees and get a decent shot. It’s pretty wet for that today.

The view from the Southern lookout over the marsh is getting less interesting as the marsh and trees leaf out. I liked it best when the leaves were just starting. It might look better with a sunrise, but there will be no sun this morning.

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Down by the marsh, things are really greening up. 

I take a few more detail shots on the way back to the car, and that’s it for the morning. My back aches, but it doesn’t really hurt to walk, so I feel thankful.

At my physical therapy session yesterday, I told him how painful the exercises he gave me last week were, and how they aggravated my injury. He gave me a much milder exercise to do, and I seem to be tolerating it well. It’s nothing more than lying on my stomach with a pillow under my hips for three minutes, then propping myself up on my elbows for a minute. Repeat that three times, and it really presses that lower back into the shape it needs to be in.

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The combination of flowering tree, new leaves, and branches makes this a lovely shot. 

The exercise pushes my bulging or ruptured disc back into the place it should be. It leaves me sore in the lower back, but able to walk without pain. He told me that as long as my lower back hurt and my leg did not, that things were going where we want them to.

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These little leaf buds caught my eye. They’re behind the times. 

He also told me that if he had to guess, he would say that I have a herniated (ruptured) disc in my lower back. I didn’t get a chance to ask him what that meant—especially whether it might require surgery. I’ve been worrying about that a lot this weekend as I’ve suffered with the pain.

I sure hope I don’t need surgery. It would be expensive and would undoubtedly put a cramp in my photography. Ha Ha.

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This Crabapple sits beside the trail and is a nice contrast to the dark woods. 
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This vine caught my eye. 
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Another example of how rich the greens are becoming. Remember when this was bunch of sticks? 
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Down at the Southern lookout, there’s an opening with this gorgeous grass. It will be almost waist high by summer. 

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