May 18, 2018

Sunny, 54 Degrees, East Wind, 10 – 15 mph.

It’s a funny thing how just a couple of small changes alter the feel of a walk in the woods. I am fifteen minutes later this morning than last, and there is a brisk breeze blowing. This means the woods are not as dark as yesterday, and the wind means there is no dew and less humidity. It feels much later in the day than it really is, and the dryness makes it feel more like Summer than Spring.

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The sunlight on the grasses is pretty at this time of the morning.

I am starting to be concerned that the sameness of Summer will make for slim pickings for photography, and perhaps writing. There’s something a little more dramatic about trudging through snow in the bitter cold than strolling in a short sleeved shirt through a sunny spring morning.

In winter, you might have anything from massive snowfalls that create a fairy tale world of frosted trees, to rainy or foggy weather; even the occasional thaw revealing the bare ground. Summer will probably be more consistent, and therefore less interesting. We will have to see if I can continue to make nice images, and interesting observations.

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There are a surprising number of Crab Apple trees tucked among the mass of vegetation on the upper level.

Nevertheless, Jamie and I walk the Westernmost trail on the property. It parallels the road and is generally not the most beautiful part of the walk, but this morning, I find several pretty shots of leaves back-lit by the sun. You may have noticed that I like to shoot against the sun—contra jour is the term, from the French for against the day.

Shooting with the sun at your back yields a flat, evenly lit look to a photograph. With the sun in your face, or at least well off to one side or the other, you are likely to have deep shadows somewhere, and bright sunlight in other. It makes the photographs much more dramatic and, to my eye, more pleasing.

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I’m not sure if this is a wild flower or a garden escapee, but it’s cute…

I notice that the grass is looking really nice in places, with the morning light dappling across it, so I try several shots to capture it. Unfortunately, there is no dew to give the grass any sparkle, but I hope I got something from the effort. Right now, the grass is so lush and green that it looks almost artificial in photographs, like I’ve over-saturated it. I haven’t, it’s just that green.

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I was surprised to notice this Dogwood just off the trail.

As Jamie and I make our way down the trail, I hear a tractor with a mower attachment start up behind me. The property owner is probably doing the first of the few mowings that they do each summer. They usually mow the meadow and the major trails, which I usually appreciate because it makes the walking easier. This year, I’m afraid the mowing will knock down any wildflowers and spoil the wild look of the place.

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This late-blooming Maple is just getting started. The shot is slightly out of focus because the branch was swaying in the breeze.

At the North end of the loop that makes up the upper level, we take a trail down to the lower level and the woods. Is it possible that the woods are fuller and greener than just yesterday? They certainly feel that way. The patch of Lily of the Valley, still not in bloom, is a lovely green carpet that leads the eye into the increasingly dense woods.

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The Lily of the Valley makes a great lead into this shot.

This scene has looked so barren and unattractive all winter that I have rarely photographed it. Actually, I have taken pictures, they just never look very good. Now, I’m hoping that will change.

The sun is shining in from the East, making the scene attractive, though less so than it probably was near sunrise. Getting up for some sunrise shots would be good, though the idea of getting up at 5:30 or so is not so attractive to me. It’s not that I mind so much, it’s just that mornings are difficult with my back aching, and requiring significant attention before I can function. Maybe when I feel a little better.

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May Apples carpet this section of the forest floor.

In Winter, I have a lot of shots with the sun low in the sky. The sun rises much later then, and it scuds low along the horizon for some time after it rises. I need to put together some pairs of shots from winter and spring. The comparison should be interesting.

I photograph the Lily of the Valley from several angles. Jamie has seen fit to take a dump at the edge of the patch, so I’ll have to be careful about where I crouch or lie down for these shots. He is usually very conscientious about where he poops. He always poops off of the trail. He probably doesn’t realize that I’m heading that way this morning.

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Just a single bloom in this patch of Lily of the Valley. Soon there will be many more.

There is a second trail up the ridge to the upper level that winds through the woods before tackling the ridge. I take this trail, skipping the marsh this morning because I’ve photographed it the last two days. I take a few more woods shots along the way to document the greening of the woods. I don’t think they’ll be great shots, but I feel the need to take them to document the progress of spring.

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Overhead, the trees are really filling in, but they’re not fully leafed out yet.

Back up top, we stroll up and down the hills along this section before taking a trail that heads West back to the car. I notice a new wildflower sprouting along the trail, and stop to photograph it. It’s not open yet, but I want to record it’s progress.

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Jimmy, striking a pose in this hilly section of trail.

I am thinking to myself how Lisa said to me the other day that the wildflowers would be coming up soon. I said there weren’t many wildflowers up here, but clearly I’m wrong. They’re pretty small and unassuming, but they’re here. There are Dandelions along here, and I think that although they are technically wildflowers, they don’t seem like it because they’re so universally despised by gardeners and lawn fanatics.

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The depth of field here is too shallow. Only the tip of one flower is in focus.
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The structure of the Dandelion seed head is amazing; like a geodesic dome.
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Another nice picture of this wild flower.

But then I notice that some of them have perfect spheres of seed right now, and the light on them is kind of nice. So, I photograph a couple of them. They could make some of the nicer photographs I take this morning.

I photograph a couple of other wildflowers that I’ve shot before, trying to get a better composition. We’ll see if I have.

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These flowers really seem to lend themselves to photography. I never do this sort of thing, but this bloom was in full sun, so I held up my splayed fingers to create a little variation in the light.

From there, it’s back to the car and home.

Injury Report

I’m going to minimize any reporting on my back injury in future, unless there are significant developments. It can’t be of great injury to my readers.

At this point, it’s hurting less, but still pretty darned sore in the mornings. At least the words “agony” and “excruciating” are not in my vocabulary at the moment. The injury is never far from my mind, and the numbness remains in my lower leg. When that goes, I’ll feel like I’m really progressing. Who knows if it ever will?

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