Friday, April 24, 2015

Shooting in the dark

 I haven't finished sharing my observations from a drive up Mt. Hough last Sunday morning.  However, a more recent visit to the Oakland Camp area has thoroughly distracted me.  On Wednesday, I decided to drive out there to check on the progress of the Mountain Lady Slipper.  When I got the the special spot where these orchids grow, the far more noticeable plant was the False Solomon's Seal (above) which was blooming in a very dark, shady spot.  It was also cloudy and that usually is best for the richest greens in photography.  I took quite a few photos of the Solomon's Seal before going back to the Lady Slipper I had posted here over a week ago (below).  As you can see...
 it hasn't grown much in the meanwhile.  In the above photo, the Mountain Lady Slipper is the plant in the background, and another False Solomon's Seal is in the foreground.  I uses flash here, or else I'd have required a much slower shutter speed.
 Another view with some Douglas-fir needles for scale.
 In this same area there were many young Trail Plants.  Note the undersides of the leaves are quite a contrast from the top sides.  When one walks through a dense patch of these, the turned over leaves form a sort of trail marker, although they correct themselves fairly quickly.  in other words, don't depend on them for finding your way back.
 There were quite a few young shrubs called Utah Serviceberry (above) and they seem to be blooming at a much earlier stage of growth than usual.
 The Arrowleaf Balsamroot are blooming profusely on the hillsides lining the road into the camp.  They'll be followed soon by Mules Ears which have nearly identical looking flowers, but a quite different leaf.  I'll wait until both species are blooming before commenting further on them.
 Lots of Horsetails looking fresh in the shady areas near the creeks.  This one was near the place where Tollgate Creek emerges from a culvert under the railroad tracks.  In this area there are many new windfalls of large Ponderosa Pine.  I'm wondering if they'll be "cleaned up" before the camp season begans.  It's a popular area for sitting and writing or sketching, or just listening to the water.
 Chokecherry are blooming all over the mountains surrounding Quincy.  This one was just a few yards above Spanish Creek along the road into camp.
None of the flowers I saw on this trip were having many insect visitors, so I was excited to see at least one animal before I had to head home.  This large, male Fence Lizard had just enough blue spots and yellow beneath his thighs that I knew he was in hot pursuit of a springtime rendezvous with a female I didn't see.  His pushups and overall body language indicated that he probably did see her.

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