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  1. #1
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    158

    Default Follow the Fireweed



    Fireweed is pretty amazing stuff. It ranges throughout North America, from coast to coast and border to border in both the US and Canada, skipping only the southeastern quadrant, from Texas down through Florida. It grows at sea level, and thrives all the way up to the sub-alpine zones. It’s hardy as the dickens and useful, as medicine, as well as food for both animals and people (the green shoots aren't half bad, and they're rich in Vitamin C). It’s called fireweed, not because of the flaming color, but because it’s often the first plant to reappear in the burned ground after a forest fire. Fireweed is an opportunist: it does best in disturbed soil, such as road cuts, so in those areas where the plant is most prolific, including northwestern Canada and the State of Alaska, fireweed lines at least a portion of every highway in a showy display that lasts from June all the way to September. Visualize a summertime journey through that part of the world, a world filled with mountains and glaciers and boreal forests, ice blue rivers, turquoise lakes, and billowing clouds that fill the sky. Imagine your vision as a beautiful piece of music. The fundamental, underlying theme of that symphony would be a gently rising swell of perfect harmony, pinkish lavender in its hue. If you'd like to see a slideshow that illustrates what I'm attempting to describe, click here for a view of my best fireweed photos.

    Rick

    As a veteran of many a road trip, wildflowers in general are what you might call a perennial favorite of mine. So, in honor of spring: if anyone else out there has a favorite wildflower, a favorite route for the viewing of wildflowers, or a good road trip recollection involving--you guessed it--wildflowers? Share it with the rest of us on this thread.
    Last edited by Rick Quinn; 05-09-2016 at 03:13 PM. Reason: added text

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Dec 2008
    Location
    Melbourne, Australia
    Posts
    6,923

    Default Lovely Photo.

    The brilliant Fireweed along the roadside has been one of the highlights of my trips, each time I have tripped to and through Alaska.

    Lifey

  3. #3

    Default Indian Paintbrush - Castilleja

    The flower that I have photographed the most in my travels is Indian Paintbrush. And no wonder, there are over 200 species from Canada down to the Mexican border. Ask my husband - when he now sees the flower along our travels he immediately asks - should I turn around? My favorite time and place to photograph this flower, and others, is when I can find it within or near our campground. That allows me to get the light right, either AM or PM lighting.


  4. #4
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    Beautiful photos, both of the fireweed, Rick, and the paintbrush, Pat. Would love to know whether you are using a DSLR with the proper lenses, or just using your smartphone.

    My husband always says I'm not picky about what flowers I photograph. If I find it pretty, I photograph it using whatever camera is at hand. I draw the line at dandelions. :-)



    Donna

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    158

    Default



    Since Pat showed us some Indian Paintbrush, here's some Indian Blanket, from the Texas Hill Country (Highway 290, near Fredericksburg). Taken right about this time of year, a couple of years back.

    I use a DSLR, with proper lenses (Nikon). Lately I've taken to carrying one of the Sony Mirrorless models (also with proper lenses) as a backup. There are some situations--especially street photography--where smaller is better. Smartphone cameras are amazing, and getting better all the time, but for anything more serious than a snapshot? No contest.

    Rick

  6. #6

    Default Which camera?

    In response to Donna57's question about which camera we use-

    I too use multiple cameras. The iPhone is best for people and memory photos. Once in a while I can get a good flower or wildlife photo using the phone. Up until 3 years ago I traveled with my Nikon D60, DSLR and macro adapters. I have never invested in additional lenses as the process of changing and carrying lenses did not work for me. The adapters work well for flowers.
    Three years ago I purchased a bridge camera, Nikon Coolpix P 520 with a 42X zoom. This has allowed me to get good close-up flower pictures and some wonderful wildlife pictures, safely. It is also much lighter and I am more likely to carry it on a hike.
    The most I do with my photos is create notecards for friends and family, otherwise it is to document my trips and fun times with family & friends.

    Globe Mallow - Nikon D60 with 12mm plus 20mm macro adapters


    Pacific Dogwood - Nikon P520

  7. #7
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    158

    Default

    Pat:

    I'll see your Globe Mallow, AND your Pacific Dogwood, and I'll raise with a royal flush of saguaro blossoms:




    This photo is from a few years ago, but the million plus tall cacti in Saguaro National Park should be going off, right about now. It's a 90 minute drive for me, so I'm not quite sure why I'm talking about it, instead of doing it! I dearly love Saguaro National Park--I've got lifelong roots in the Sonora Desert.

    Back to business: Pretty much everybody reading this has a favorite photo of roadside wildflowers. C'mon, don't be shy! Show us what you've got by posting a reply with your photo attached. (That's a challenge)!

    Rick

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    I have several, but this was my favorite from our 2014 trip:

    June 19 to 21 090

  9. #9
    Join Date
    Mar 2016
    Location
    Phoenix, Arizona
    Posts
    158

    Default



    Okay, how about another shot of roadside flowers on the Alaska Highway? There were vast fields of these yellow blooms alongside the road outside Dawson Creek--but they're not wildflowers. Quite the opposite. These are Canola fields. Canada is the largest producer of this crop, the seeds of which produce a high grade vegetable oil. (I didn't know any of that either, not until I saw those fields for myself and got curious enough to find out what they were).

    Who else has roadside flower photos? Anybody?

    Rick

  10. #10
    Join Date
    May 2011
    Location
    Southern California
    Posts
    4,509

    Default

    The Alaska Highway was the reason that my family and I switched from vegetable oil to canola oil. I ran out of cooking oil on the way up, and bought a bottle of the only thing the store had: canola oil. It was also cheaper than the American vegetable oil, if they'd had some in stock (they were out). After passing all those fields of canola, it was neat to be able to use the results. We still use canola oil to this day -- just bought a bottle this morning, AAMOF -- and we were talking about seeing these fields.

    These aren't flowers, just huge leaves:

    Lake Superior - WI 012


    Donna

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