Monthly Archives: March 2012

Signs of Spring

This past Friday was unseasonable warm for this time of year in the Washington DC area, so I took advantage of the opportunity to go out and do some shooting in the neighborhood. For these captures, I used a Panasonic GF-3 ILC camera with a Leica 45mm F2.8 macro lens.

Here is a photo of the fruits of the maple tree. The immature fruits are still attached to the branches. Their reproductive structures have completed their purpose in life, and are seen desiccated, hanging to the tops of the petiole. The winged fruits are beginning to ripen and will soon mature, as which point they will be blown off the stems of the tree to sail away to begin a new journey of their own.

Maples are endemic to Asia, Europe, and the United States. Although the genus, Acer, to which the maples belong, consists also of shrubs, we are most familiar with the tree form. Most maples are deciduous, loosing all leaves during their winter hibernation. Flowers appear during late winter and early spring. In the above example, the flowers have appeared before the leaves. The winged fruits will have begun to drop with the first appearance of leaves. As the fruits mature, they will turn from the above pink color to a light green, then to a deep green at maturity.

Here is an image of forsythia. Their bright yellow petals are clearly visible, as they imbue the bush with a golden glow. The common name, forsythia, is the same as its genus name, Forsythia. These shrubs are native to Asia, though many can now be found throughout the world as ornamental plants in gardens, yards, and along city streets.

Forsythias are deciduous shrubs, which flowers in early spring before the onset of leaves. The flowers are generally yellow, with four petals, joined at the base. After pollination and fertilization, the mature fruit is a dry capsule containing a number of winged seeds.

Flower Buds Opening

Side Elevation

Front Elevation

Continuing from my previous post, we are now a week further (3/15), the flower buds of the highbush blueberry are beginning to open. As the buds open, their bright pink color gives way to a pale pink color. The greenish-yellow pistil, which holds the embryo sacs and ovules, can also be noticed emerging from the apex of the opening flower.

Highbush Blueberry flower bud

Last Thursday (3/8) with temperatures hovering around the low 70’s here in the Washington, DC area, I noticed a bunch of highbush blueberries (Vaccinium corymbosum) bushes beginning to awaken from their winter slumber. The highbush blueberry is a native of eastern North America, growing to about four feet tall. The one pictured is about two feet tall.

In this sample, the flowers buds are turning a bright pink, as they swell and absorb water. Their winter condition is more of a dull greenish-crimson color. As the weather warms and the availability of water increases, the buds should begin to open in the next few weeks.

Stay tuned to future postings as I chronicle theĀ  progression of the highbush blueberry from flower bud to fruit.

The image was captured with a Panasonic GF3, using a Leica 45mm F2.8 macro lens.

f/9 @ 1/30 sec ISO 160

Burke Lake Park

Burke Lake Road and pedestrian bridge spanning the northern end of Burke Lake.

Burke Junction train station. A functioning replica from the days of the steam engine, complete with a wind-driven water well.

This past Saturday, 3 March 2012, having noticed the sun coming out after a cloudy morning I decided to use the opportunity to take a trip out to Burke Lake Park for some photography. Here are two pictures from this excursion. Each picture is actually a composite of multiple images taken with exposures optimized separately for the sky and the land areas. The sky exposures were also taken with a polarizing filter with the sun at approximately 80 degrees left of the camera. The multiple exposures were then combined in Photoshop Elements 9 and Lightroom 4 to achieve the final results.

Woodland Phlox

The Woodland Phlox is a perennial, growing about 1-1.5 inches tall, with purplish flowers. Although Woodland Phlox is an early Spring bloom, this year, because of the warmer winters, they have started appearing even earlier than usual. The photo above was taken on 24 February 2012, in northern Virginia. They were in full bloom. A week later the blooms have started to wither, as the flowers become fruits. [Nikon S8200, f/3.5 @ 1/800 sec, ISO 800]

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