After a weekend of snapping shots without much thought because we always had to rush on to the next thing, it was a pleasure to slow down again and take my time with some shots. The light was not particularly good because of a heavy cloud cover. Shots in shady areas were hopeless. I was pretty pleased with most of the shots taken in the open areas, though. I picked out four to post on Flickr and to blog about. If you are a photographer with some constructive feedback, please comment!
Ox-eye Daisy. This is an alien. A lot of our roadside flowers are intentional or accidental imports from Europe. The tender young leaves are edible and quite delicious! I’ve never collected them to add to a salad; I have nibbled them in the field. Quite nice. I was pleased with this shot because it (almost) turned out the way I imagined it in my head. (Often my best shots are just lucky shots.) I wanted the front edge of the yellow center in sharp focus, and the rest of the flower blurred. The background is a little dark. I wish it were green. Still, all in all, I like this shot.
Orange Hawkweed. Another alien, this plant is described as a “troublesome weed” in some field guides. Apparently, once it becomes established, it is difficult to get rid of causing one author to speculate that this is the reason farmers gave it another common name: Devil’s Paintbrush. According to Andy, this plant was once used in an attempt to improve eyesight, giving it the name Hawkweed – for hawks have terrific vision.
I like trying to capture a flower in crisp focus, but also some other diagnostic information as well… In this shot, even though it is out of focus, you can see the very hairy stem which is mentioned in the Newcomb’s guide. Unfortunately, the stem is too tall for this lens to also show the very hairy leaves in a rosette on the ground.
Blue-eyed Grass. When I took the photo, I didn’t bother to check other diagnostic features of the plant. When I opened the field guide, I learned there are several species of Blue-eyed Grass. (This keeps happening to me… You’d think I’d learn to take the field guides into the field and ID the plants right away… but that would interfere with my photography…) I can’t tell you much more about this plant… except that when I got the photo home and on my computer monitor, I saw the bug inside! You may have to go to Flickr to view it large so you can see him!
Guess what? The Blue-eyed Grasses are native!
Red Clover. And my last colorful entry for today is another alien species. According to the Peterson Guide to Edible Wild Plants, this plant is edible. I’ve never tried it in any of the ways described: Apparently you can make tea from the dried flowerheads, grind the dried flowerheads and seeds to make flour, or eat both blooms and leaves, preferably after soaking in salt water or boiling for 5 minutes.
I like the smooth bokeh I get when I use this lens. The background is usually blurred to a silky, velvety texture, while the front image is sharp.
There you have it: four common flowers that I find to be uncommonly beautiful.