Black birches from below

Black birch from below

On Mt. Greylock, Massachusetts. Hiking down the Haley Farm Trail on the west side of Mt. Greylock we came across a dead black birch with huge mushrooms on it. Hiked out to the tree and shot straight up hoping to catch the mushrooms but instead got an interesting shot of the creepy decaying tree and the trees around it.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker holes in basswood tree

Dave shooting yellow-bellied sapsucker holes in basswood tree

Macedonia Brook State Park, Kent, Connecticut. Dave and I were hiking the other day and I spotted some unusual bark on a tree. On closer inspection the bark was riddled with woodpecker holes up and down the entire tree.

The bird is a yellow-bellied sapsucker and it really likes this tree. As you’ll see in the other pictures, the entire tree is riddled with holes, bottom to top.

Dave thought this tree was close to 100 years old so this is many generations of sapsucker action on it. No other trees in the area showed this kind of woodpecker damage except two other basswood trees a few hundred feet away.

As you’ll see in the last image the tree is still living, amazingly after such a riddling with holes.

Yellow-bellied sapsucker holes in basswood tree

Yellow-bellied sapsucker holes in basswood tree

Yellow-bellied sapsucker holes in basswood tree

More ice-coated mountain laurel

Dripping with ice

Bear Mountain, Connecticut. Hiking around the back side of Bear Mountain we encountered more mountain laurels coated with ice. The hike was both wonderful and terrible: under two feet of snow was running water from rain and melt off and every now and than we’d break through the crust and get soaked in the “stream” under the trail. The pleasures (tortures) of spring hiking…

Coated with ice

Coated with ice

Mountain Laurel buds in ice

Bear Mountain, Connecticut. We hiked up Under-mountain trail onto the Appalachian Trail and up onto Bear Mountain the other day and the last 500 feet of elevation gain saw everything coated with ice. It was a beautiful scene and we stood around photographing so long our hands got cold and we had to get moving again. We could have spent hours here with tripods and DSLRs and macro lenses but alas, it was about 20 F with wind, not a great environment for relaxed photography.

Mountain Laurel branch in ice Oak branch and acorn in ice Mountain Laurel branch and buds in ice Pine needles in ice

Aerial tree minimalism

On the Grid

Dutch photographer Gerco de Ruijter recently got in touch with an extraordinary series of aerial photographs called Baumschule—some of which, he explains, were taken using a camera mounted on a fishing rod.

The series features “32 photographs of tree nurseries and grid forests in the Netherlands.”

Fantastic stuff. Would be fun to make mosaics out of these.


Sycamore on the Appalachian Trail

Sycamore on the Appalachian Trail

Kent, Connecticut. Walking north from Kent on the AT along the Housatonic River brings you by a fantastic array of big trees: sycamore, oak, pine, hemlock, ash and locust. I’m not sure why this particular group of trees has gotten as large as they have but for a mile they’re huge. The canopy on this sycamore was a pleasant umbrella of shade on a very hot and humid morning. This magnificent tree is close to five feet in diameter at its base. There are bigger sycamores in Connecticut but this one is up there.

Macro view of fall leaves

Ash Leaf

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This is a collection of images taken of fall leaves from a variety of trees around our house in the past few years. I’ll add more to this collection later this fall.

All of these images were done with a Canon EOS 5D camera and almost all of them were done with a Canon EF 100mm f/2.8 macro lens. A tripod and remote shutter release was used.

Because the leaves curl and because I wanted to shoot them with back light, I made a jig to hold them which consisted of two small pieces of mat board with a small rectangle cut out of the middle (about 1.5 inches by 1 inch) so that a leaf could be sandwiched in. This “sandwich” is then clamped together and hung so that I can shoot straight at it with natural light coming in from behind. The key is to get the rig absolutely parallel to the front of the lens (I used a level) so that the leaf would be in focus edge to edge. In macro photography, even stopped way down, depth of field is very shallow so the more one can take care of these things in setup the better.

I hope to repeat this technique this year with my new 5D Mk II and maybe a newer macro lens. Stay tuned.

Dogwood from outer space

Dogwood from outer space

Warren, Connecticut. I spent an hour photographing beautiful, perfect dogwood blooms and then I ran across this old one going by. Some might say that young, beautiful flowers are the thing, but give me old flowers going by, they have character and are much more interesting to photograph.