Emerging Ferns are so Intricate and Detailed

Below is a set of photos from a recent trip to the woods, all ferns in the wild with their fiddleheads unfurling (for lack of a better word) ... so intricate and full of details. All of this season's fronds are wrapped up inside the fiddlehead.

I read a few introductory pages of the "Peterson Field Guide to the Ferns".  I found it rather amazing that worldwide there are about 10,000 species of ferns covering almost all ecosystems. This includes mountains and swamps; in sunny open fields and dimly lit wet crevices; on high, dry windy cliffs and on still waters of ponds and lakes; in the Arctic and Antarctic Circles (though sparingly) and tropical jungles (in great quantities). The only exception seems to be desert ecosystems.

Unfortunately all I know about the images below is that they are ferns.  I have no idea what specie(s) is/are represented here.

All photos were shot with the Panasonic GX80/85 and Olympus 60mm macro.


The Beautiful White Trillium Wildflower

An  array of White Trillium... from white to pink as they age.

After taking a few photos of the wildflower Trillium last week, I did some reading about it. There are dozens of species.  I believe what I am showing here are called Eastern White Trillium.  It is the official flower of Ontario and Ohio.  As the name suggests, the flower has three petals that rise above what is called a whorl of three leaf-like bracts.  

Some online sources say that the flower turns purple as it ages.  Others say it turns pink.  But according to my Audobon Field Guide to New England, the White Trillium will turn pink, and there is separately a Purple Trillium species. 

One source mentioned that this is one of many plants whose seeds are spread by ants.  As I understand it, the plants produce small fruits that attract ants. The ants take the fruits to their nests, where they eat the fruit and discard the seeds. Apparently an ant colony's “discard pile” provides a very rich growing environment for the seeds.

Each of the images in this post were created by focus stacking 10 images
Panasonic GX80/85 with Olympus 60mm macro
1/125sec, F2.8, ISO200
Hand held, sitting with elbows on knees


One Photo: Happy Belated "National Chocolate Chip Day"

It's horrible!  I missed yesterday's National Chocolate Chip Day.  So, I figured I'd better celebrate today, belatedly, with a couple of these bad boys: Traditional Toll House cookies.

With Mother's Day having been this past Sunday, Toll House cookies make me think of my mom, who frequently had batches coming out of the oven as my brother and I walked in the door from the school bus. It doesn't get much better than warm cookies and milk.  (I'll ignore the fact that she used "Crisco" because butter was too expensive.)

Panasonic GX80/85 with Olympus 60mm macro
1/60sec, F5.6, ISO400 (-1.0 EV so I could add a flash)
Diffused and bounced flash at 1/2 power


The Joy of Big Prints

For most photographers these days our photos easily find their way to our websites, blogs, online portfolios, or are emailed to family and friends as .jpeg attachments. All of these are digital images.  It is for this reason that I do not own a good printer.

Rarely do we -I'm generalizing- make prints. Personally, I desire prints infrequently enough that I find it easier to just upload files to an online vendor. It may actually be cheaper this way, as I hear about photographers buying new (and better?) printers before the old ones have died. That buying strategy is not cheap, as the half-used printer is basically given away, at a "pennies on the dollar" price. I also hear about dried up ink cartridges. They are not cheap either.

I'm afraid too that if I even slightly open the door to doing my own printing, I'd really get into it and would soon find myself buying all kinds of fancy papers and spending way more money and time than I ever expected. 

I think printing is actually a hobby all by itself. Plus I have nowhere to set it all up!

All that being said, there is nothing so satisfying as a nice big print, and I do have some. For the past 10 years I have been using mpix in Kansas City, when I want printing done. If I upload a digital file on, say, Monday it will be printed, mailed and received by me on Thursday, or perhaps Friday. That's not a 24-hour turnaround, but having the process take a few days is fast enough for me.

You can check out their prices online at mpix.com. They are on the high side I believe (at least compared with my second choice, adoramapix.com), but the results from mpix are very high quality and their support is excellent. Two years ago I had several 20" x 30" prints get slightly bent in the mail (the only time in 10 years that happened and I can't remember whether it was their fault or that of the U.S. Mail), I contacted Mpix and they overnight mailed replacements to me at their cost. 

Also, it is worth noting that several times a year I receive emails with discount codes for 50% off on large prints, usually defined as a print equal to or bigger than 11' x 14". I have framed and matted a small number of prints measuring 20" x 30", and quite a few measuring 16" or 18" x 24". The largest size available is 24" x 36".  Prints of that size are mailed in a tube.  Prints smaller than that are mailed is a sturdy flat box.

I have always been happy with the quality of the prints from mpix. Recently I framed two large prints for an office conference room project. I asked that 18" by 24" images be printed on their 20" x 24" paper, as the images had a 4:3 aspect ratio, which is the native aspect ratio of the Olympus E-M1 camera that was used for both images. 

Because they were to be wall mounted side-by-side, I chose two strong subjects that I thought complemented each other: Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone in Wyoming and Mount Rainier in Washington.

[The mats, frames, acrylic non-glare glazing, and foam backing were purchased from americanframe.com and were cut to the exact measurements I furnished through their online tools.]

A little more about each image:

Mount Rainier from Reflection Lake
Olympus E-M1 and 12-100mm F4 zoom @ 47mm (94mm equiv)
1/500sec, F5.6, ISO200, -1.7EV

Lower Falls of the Grand Canyon of the Yellowstone, Wyoming
Olympus E-M1 and Panasonic 14-140mm @ 14mm (28mm equiv)
1/640sec, F6.3, ISO200, -1.3EV