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Posts Tagged ‘iris’

There were crowds of people at Huntley Meadows Park on Monday, a  holiday in the United States, but I managed to find some moments of serenity and solitude as I contemplated this skipper butterfly perched on a faded iris at the edge of a vernal pool off of the beaten path.

I may be a little selfish, I suppose, but I enjoy nature most when I don’t have to share it with others.


Skipper on iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Flowers are beautiful, of course, but when it comes to taking photos, I seem to be equally (or more) attracted to insects among the flowers. Yesterday we finally had some sunshine here in Northern Virginia after three soggy days in a row and I made a trip to Green Spring Gardens with my mentor Cindy Dyer to check out the flowers in bloom.

The wind was blowing most of the afternoon, which turned many of the flowers into moving targets, but patience and persistence allowed me to get some shots of some of my favorites, like love-in-a-mist and columbines. I am still going through my images, but I was immediately attracted to this shot of a bee in flight that I captured as it moved from one iris to another.

I remember being a little surprised to see a bee gathering pollen from irises—there seemed to be much candidates nearby, including some large, showy peonies. The bee didn’t spend long in each iris and the long petals of the iris often hid the bee from view. As I was tracking the bee, I somehow managed to maintain focus and captured this whimsical little shot of it in mid-air. My shutter speed of 1/640 sec was not fast enough to freeze the wings, but I really like the blur of the wings, which enhances the sense of motion for me.

bee and iris

 

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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Is it just me, or does this iris make anyone else think of a rather elegant lady with a broad-brimmed hat? There is just something whimsical about the position of this rather ordinary flower that brings a smile to my face.

I don’t have my own garden, but fellow photographer and neighbor Cindy Dyer has all kinds of flowers in her garden. Her irises have just started to bloom and I walked by her townhouse recently and spotted this somewhat faded iris and took this shot.

iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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At this time of the year I love seeing irises growing in the wild at Huntley Meadows Park. I think these all are Blue Flag Irises (Iris versicolor), though I am not absolutely certain of this identification. These irises are not as big and showy as the ones growing in my neighbors’ gardens, but I find them to be equally beautiful.

Blue Flag Iris

Blue FLag Iris

Blue FLag Iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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The past two weeks have been filled with intermittent rain and constant clouds, so I have not been able to chase dragonflies as I like to do at this time of year. The rain has been good for the flowers, however, and the garden of my photography mentor and neighbor Cindy Dyer is now full of beautiful bearded irises. Yesterday I attempted to capture some of the beauty of the purple ones in different stages of development. I particularly like the way the first image turned out, where the blurry image in the background gives a foretaste of the beauty that is to come when the bud opens up.

Speaking of Cindy Dyer, I was thrilled recently when I learned that another of her images will appear as a United States Postal Service (USPS) stamp. Her image of Sacred Lotuses at Kenilworth Aquatic Gardens will be part of a 16-stamp series celebrating the centennial of the National Park Service. The series will be officially unveiled in New York City on June 2. Check out this announcement from the USPS for more information and to see her beautiful image.

purple iris

purple iris

purple iris

purple iris

© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.

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Like Paul Revere’s call in 1775, the cry went out in early May, “The cicadas are coming, the cicadas are coming.” After 17 years in the ground, the cicadas of Brood II  (Magicicada septendecim) were coming back in force. The Washington Post ran a story with the sensationalist headline of Bug-phobic dread the looming swarm of Brood II cicadas” and hysteric anticipation gripped the metro D.C. area.

Like most of the snowstorms forecast in this area, the invasion of the cicadas has been underwhelming. I had not seen a single cicada until I traveled to Manssas, VA for a cookout and the got to see and hear a large number of these scarey-looking insects. Apparently we are past the peak moments, but the noise in some places was just short of deafening and there were some bushes that were covered with the giant insects.

I was struck by the contrast between the fierce look of this cicada and the delicate beauty of the purple iris on which he was perched.

beast1_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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I was pleasantly surprised to come across a group of irises in one of the marshy areas of Huntley Meadows Park, the nature center where I do a lot of my shooting.

It probably reveals my ignorance about flowers, but I had no idea that irises could grow in such moist conditions. Although the irises were smaller and less showy than many of the cultivated ones that I see, they were no less beautiful.

It had been raining intermittently the morning that I took this photo and you can see drops of water on some of the petals. I tried very carefully to frame this image and am pretty happy with the way that it turned out, with the blurry image of a second iris in the background repeating the shape and color of the iris in the foreground.

swamp_iris_blog

Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved

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