Flowers on the Mountian

22May07

As you know I am madly in love with the mountain. My hubby and I hike it often especially when we just want to clear our heads. We use the pups as an excuse. “I guess it’s time to take the pups for a run.” This is our intimate talk that means one or both of us need to clear our heads. It’s an amazing thing. How good living out here is for a marriage.

Okay onto mountain flora. A common sight would be an apple blossom. Washington tends to be a great place to grow them and they show up just about everywhere. I had one old timer tell me that if you want to find an old home-site look for lilac bushes and apple trees and you’ve probably found the foundation of one. (Upon closer examination the old fella was absolutely correct.)

These Small Mountain Bluebells and sometimes called Trumpet Bluebells (Mertensia longiflora) are inconspicious at best. A person can hike all day and miss the tiny splashes of blue under their feet. I thought the sunlight was harsh in this photo but couldn’t leave out such a colorful little guy.

(Castilleja elmeri) or Elmer’s Indian Paintbrush.

Here is a photo from the top – I really became enamored with this plant. It goes from looking scarlet to bright pumpkin orange in the field depending upon the light of day.

What is amazing about this plant is it looks like the leaves actually turn color. Like the petals of the plant haven’t figured out if they are petals or leaves. It’s actually really neat to look at – and explains the name. Close up it really does look like the tips were dipped in paint. 

Heart-leaf arnica or Heart-leaf leopardbane (Arnica cordifolia)

Okay last one of the day. (Hydrophyllum capitatum var. thompsonii) or Ballhead Waterleaf. This is an edible plant – the shoots of it was boiled by Indians in the area. They did this however before the flowers bloomed on the plant.

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9 Responses to “Flowers on the Mountian”

  1. 1 montucky

    Those are fantastic pictures! All of them are just great! Well done! Are you using your new lens?

    We have the bluebells here too, but they’re not blooming yet, nor are the paintbrush, and our apple blossoms are all gone now. I’m not familiar with the Waterleaf but I’ll look for it now. It’s a beautiful blossom!

  2. Hi and thank you! The waterleaf (so far as I could tell) is a shade plant – and sometimes they are white. We ran into this guy because I had shown hubby your blue grouse photos. He was so impressed so when we went up on the mountian he saw a low shadow and we heard that thick low thumping sound that as a grouse hunter you know what I’m talking about. So we traveled pretty deep in the woods and the pups threw the grouse into a chase. Joe said, “forget the bird come look at this plant!” It was in the center of about six thick pine trees. Joe especially liked your photos because he had never seen a blue grouse in courtship like that – not even in a photograph. (He has always been an avid hunter but originates from New York.) So after seeing your photos he wanted to see one of those blue grouse in real action.

    In ans to your question; no, my new lens is the wide angle. (And I’m still working on it not pulling in so much light) I’ve found the most difficult part of photographing these guys is my (Kodak Z650) camera always wants to center them. (It’s the way the camera setting is designed.) So I trick it. I get it as close as I can and then I crop. (in the editing software) Even if you aren’t a fan you should look at it – because all of the photos are high resolution designed to take a 8×10. So when you crop it’s like taking a pair of scissors to it at your kitchen table – and the resolution rarely alters and instead I see close ups that just blow me away. (It’s a great way of seeing how many points there are on a buck – I do it a lot in hunting season to make sure the guy wandering in my backyard is legal) But that’s the simple method to my madness.

    ps. I can’t wait to see your paintbrush! There is a nasty rumor that they don’t exist in washington. :o)

  3. Great photos! You’re right about waterleafs (waterleaves?) – the ones here are all shade-lovers. Paintbrush, like lupine, drives me nuts for identifications, as we have a lot of them too (20 species in genus Castilleja!). I like your top-down photo of it especially.

  4. 4 montucky

    Thanks for the insight into your methods. I’m having a struggle getting good focus. My camera is extremely sensitive to motion. I also haven’t mastered getting the right exposure for whites. That seems overly difficult with my camera: it wants to over-expose them.

  5. Thanks Adam! I loved that top down shot too – at first the goal was simply to show how the colors melt together and in the end fell for the photo because of how alien it look. Which seems an irony that something so alien looking came right out of the natural world. Again I’m thrilled you paid me a visit!

  6. Hi Terry! I think our cameras are set up in a similar design. I noticed they were close on your flickr site.

    I’m not sure if this will help but my focus is in relation to distance. I either have to step back or zoom back and try to focus again. (If I for example try to get a flower head – oftentimes it will try to capture the leaf of the flower or the blade of grass behind the flower.) It’s a slow process of walking backwards :o) My hubby jokes I get so involved in the process I’ll probably walk right off a cliff one day. (This is all in the “flower” mode with the flash manually turned off.)

    Me personally I’d love to know what mode you caught your grouse photos and your eagle photo in – only because I’m sure I would have got a great looking bush or tree with a grouse (or eagle) looking so blurry they would resemble a teddy bear!

  7. 7 protovietic

    Great pictures! Running with doggies on the mountain sounds great.

  8. Thanks for the kudos Protovietic!


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