May 28, 2013
Hiking at Boyd Big Tree Preserve
I needed to make a run to Harrisburg to drop off Silk Mill #3 for the upcoming Art of the State exhibit at the Pennsylvania State Museum. It was a cool and drizzly but gorgeous spring day, so we headed to the nearby Boyd Big Tree Preserve in Dauphin County for some exploration and a moderate hike. The approach to the park kiosk was encouraging--the drive was lined with bluebird houses, and many of them had a bluebird perched nearby.
A short distance down the trail, it became apparent that it was going to be a good day for macro pictures. I previously had a Diffcase and set of lenses; I’m now working with an Olloclip for my iPhone. The macros on both types have really helped me train my eye, and have opened up new worlds for exploration. Here I am caught zeroing in on some galls on a pawpaw sapling:
Here are two of the galls. An insect, most probably a species of tiny wasp, lays her eggs just under the surface of the tender bark, where the larvae can develop while well protected.
Further down the trail, a wild blackberry blossom got the macro treatment:
Everything was dripping with dew and drizzle. It took me a moment to recognize what this next plant was--the remains of a giant dandelion puffball, with micro dots of moisture. The macro lens helps the mundane appear magical:
Another shot of the dandelion puffball:
There was a lot of bush honeysuckle along the trail. It’s a non-native invasive shrub.
The flowers are moderately pretty, but lack the scent of the vining variety (also invasive).
It’s been a cool-ish, wet spring, and things are going great in the wild fungus world. Here is some lichen growing on a downed tree:
Lichen growing with moss:
More lichen and moss:
Here are some more galls, this time on a maple leaf. The coloration is quite striking:
Raindrops nestled among the leaf hairs of a mullein plant, Verbascum thapsus, look like an alien landscape:
Each raindrop on a spiderweb holds a reflection of the surrounding vegetation. Click to enlarge and appreciate the reflections:
The light was just perfect for capturing this amazing imagery:
Near the end of the looping trail we took, we came on a section where the undergrowth was almost entirely ferns, as far as the eye could see. The fisheye lens captures it well:
I love the deciduous forests and woodland of PA. This is a gem of a park. The big trees and deep forest support a lot of songbirds, especially warblers, and the whole time we were walking we were beautifully serenaded with birdsong.
These pictures, and many more from my macro series, are up on my Flickr site--there’s a link to it on the right sidebar.
Thanks for reading and commenting. Wherever you find yourself, I hope you have the opportunity to go out and explore what the natural world has to offer.