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After a long winter wait, I am finally seeing a few spring flowers blooming in the gardens in my neighborhood. So far all I see are crocuses, but it looks like the daffodils will not be far behind. The weather is still erratic—I awoke to sub-freezing temperatures yesterday morning—but it is beginning to look like spring is here at last.

I took these crocus shots in the middle of the day on a windy, sunny afternoon. In the first image, I was trying to capture some of the beauty of the sunlight coming through the petals. In the second shot, I had the lens almost wide open and the really shallow depth of field helps to give a dreamy painterly quality to the image that I really like. The two images are very different, but I think they work especially well as a set.

crocus

crocus

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

All orchids are beautiful, but I am particularly fascinated by Lady’s Slipper orchids, which are characterized by a slipper-shaped pouch. The pouch traps insects that help to fertilize the flower as they climb up and out of the pouch. According to Wikipedia, the Lady’s Slipper orchids are in the orchid subfamily Cypripedioideae, though some apparently consider them to be their own family separate from the other orchids.

I took this shot last week in Washington D.C. at the US Botanic Garden. There were several rooms full of orchids of all kinds, including multiple species of Lady’s Slipper orchids—it was almost like being in heaven.

Lady's Slipper orchid

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.



The weather has not been very cooperative and outdoors there are not yet many flowers blooming. Yesterday I went to the US Botanic Garden in Washington D.C. to get my “fix” of flowers in a more temperate setting. Among the many beautiful flowers that I observed was this Madeira Cranesbill geranium (Geranium maderense).

Madeira Cranesbill geranium

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Mike Powell:

Imagine what it would be like to have a half billion miniature copies of some your images making their way across the country in the form of postage stamps. Last week I was thrilled to travel to Cleveland, Ohio with my mentor and friend, Cindy Dyer and her husband for the first day ceremony for the Water Lily stamps that feature four of her photos.

Originally posted on Cindy Dyer's Blog:

Last week my water lily FOREVER stamps were unveiled at the Garfield-Perry March Stamp Show in Cleveland, Ohio. First photo: digital postmark first day covers and booklet of stamps; second photo: autographed program and cancelled stamps from First Day Ceremony: autographed by Jay Bigalke, American Philatelic Society, Editor of The American Philatelist; Paul Davis from U.S. Postal Service, who sang the National Anthem; Harold Chapman, President of the Garfield-Perry Stamp Club, who gave the welcome; remarks by Cynthia Druckenbord, Vice President of the Cleveland Botanical Garden; (then me!); and then Melvin J. Anderson, U.S. Postal Service Northern Ohio District Manager, and I got to unveil a giant poster with the water lily stamps (Third photo, shot by my dear friend Michael Powell).

The water lily stamps are available in booklet form at post offices across the U.S. You can also order them online.

Stamps in…

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I’m so desperate for the weather to warm up more and for insects to emerge that I got really excited when one of my fellow photographers spotted a small ant on one of the tendrils of a passion flower vine yesterday at the US Botanic Garden in Washington DC.

The ant seemed determined to follow the long and winding road.

winding1_blog

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Blue Morpho

One of the butterflies that I observed this past weekend at the Franklin Park Conservatory and Botanical Gardens in Columbus, Ohio was this spectacular Blue Morpho (Morpho peleides), a species whose normal habitat is the tropical forests of Latin America.

In the past when I have visited butterfly exhibitions, I have found it amazingly difficult to catch this butterfly with its wings open, but this one was surprisingly cooperative and posed for a moment to let me get this shot.

Blue Morpho butterfly

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

Bees in Ohio

While I was in Blacklick, Ohio (just outside of Columbus) this past weekend, I had a chance to observe and photograph the beehive of the folks with whom I was staying. They offered to let me wear a beekeeper suit, but I declined and instead got up close and personal with some of the bees. In these images, a bee was licking up some syrup that had dripped down the side of the hive structure.

bee

bee

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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