Sunday, March 25, 2012

More about Table Mountain: 3/23/12

I'll continue with my Table Mountain saga in the morning after a good night's sleep.  Meanwhile, I hope you enjoy this image from the canyon below Phantom Falls.  I'll return to the colorful flowers and save the bugs for later.
Monday afternoon: I'm back with additional photos of the colorful Table Mountain flora and some notes about names.  Starting at the top, we have the Foothill Poppy, Eschscholzia caespitosa.   When hiking around in the Nature Preserve on Table Mountain, it's apparent that there are two kinds of poppies, this one and the smaller-blossomed Frying Pan Poppy.  Along the paved road and in many people's yards there is also the California Poppy, E. californica. It seems inevitable that there will be or has been some mixing.  In fact, we believe we saw some California Poppies in the Preserve.
The second photo is White-tipped Clover, Trifolium variegatum. It's easy to confuse these true clovers with Owl Clover, which is not a clover but a variety of Paintbrush. 
The third photo is Delphinium nudicaule, known locally on Table Mountain as Canyon Delphinium but over most of the Sierra is better known as Red Larkspur. 
Next, we have Table Mountain Meadow Foam, Limnanthes douglasii, known elsewhere as Douglas's Meadow Foam. 
Next is the Mountain Jewel Flower, Streptanthus tortuosus.  These off-white blossoms are easy to miss when one is surrounded by brighter-colored flowers of many kinds.  They are quite beautiful, however, and deserving of a closer-up look. 
Next is Kellogg's Monkey Flower, Mimulus kelloggii.  This flower is so bright that it usually confuses both digital sensors and film.  I did my best, but you can still see a bit of what we digital photographers call "noise."
Next, Phantom Falls again.  A friend and I have been discussing what is the optimum shutter speed for photographing waterfalls.  It's an interesting dilemma because is we're trying to preserve the best memory of what we saw, it can't really be done with a still photograph.  So, we're stuck with deciding just what degree of blurriness best suggests the amount of motion we remember seeing.  Opinions will vary.  Then again, if we're trying for a particular aesthetic response, the jury is out.  Some prefer the extremely blurry effect, that is, slow shutter speed.  Others prefer a very fast shutter speed that can freeze the waterfall down to the individual drops. 
Next, we have the tremendous Valley Oak, Quercus lobata, that tells you you're in the right place to enter the Preserve, namely, the public parking lot, usually equipped with portable potties, and surrounded by lots of wildflowers within a short walk.
Last, a photo of one of the butterflies in a group known as Blues feeding on a Phacelia bush. I'm guessing this one is Rock Phacelia, P. egena, as that is the most common species on the mountain.

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