Fragrant rugosa roses are blooming in many locations around our property. This hearty and aggressively spreading perennial shrub can sometimes be a bit invasive, but I’ll take the sweet smell and bright blooms!
I’m always amazed at what is revealed when you get in close to a subject. From a distance (and without my reading glasses on…) these rye grass stems (please correct me if I’m wrong on the ID) don’t look like much. But on closer inspection, the tiny flowerettes reveal themselves. A shallow depth of field blurs the irises that were blooming behind.
I’ve been using my full frame Nikon again recently along with a wonderful Sigma 105mm macro lens. I’d kind of forgotten what wonderful photos this setup can take, especially with the magic bokeh!
Nikon D600, Sigma 105mm macro, ISO 800, f/11, 1/100″ exposure.
I came across this spectacular shrub while hiking in Plaza Blanca, New Mexico. I was drawn to the feather styles of the plant.
“The flower of the shrub is roselike when new, with rounded white petals and a center filled with many thready stamens and pistils. The ovary of the flower remains after the white petals fall away, leaving many plumelike lavender styles, each 3 to 5 centimeters long. The plant may be covered with these dark pinkish clusters of curling, feathery styles after flowering. Each style is attached to a developing fruit, which is a small achene. The fruit is dispersed when the wind catches the styles and blows them away.”
Here’s a shot of the shrub in situ. Amazing that anything can grow out of solid rock!
While in New Mexico, we stayed at the lovely home of some friends in Santa Fe. The 360 degree views from the hilltop house were stunning with the Santa Fe and Sangre de Cristo mountains to the east and the Jemez mountains to the west. As the sun set to the west, the lights of Los Alamos would begin to twinkle beneath the Jemez ridgeline.
I found myself thinking about Los Alamos quite a bit. This was the place where the first atomic bomb was developed and tested. We visited the town on our way back from hiking in the Jemez Mountains. Unlike neighboring Santa Fe—where adobe homes and businesses are the rule—the architecture of Los Alamos is all metal and glass. Very modern. Los Alamos calls itself the “Atomic City”— a moniker I understand is taken with pride, but I can’t help but feel a bit conflicted about it. The work done there might have helped to end the Second World War, but it’s also ushered us into a far more dangerous world.
While hiking near the east branch of the Jemez River in New Mexico, we came across this flowering choke cherry bush that was alive with butterflies. There must have been several hundred—mostly small western whites and a few painted ladies—swirling about and lapping up the sweet smelling nectar of the flowers.
Panasonic GX8, Lumix 14-140mm lens, ISO 1600, f/10, 1/1600″ exposure
While visiting New Mexico recently, our intrepid host took us to a favorite hiking location—Plaza Blanca in Abiquiu. Abiquiu is where Georgia O’Keefe had her studio and painted much of her later work, including “From The White Place” featuring Plaza Blanca. The layered white sandstone hoodoos tower, and eroded volcanic boulders litter the landscape. Interestingly, the property is owned by the Dar Al Islam Education Center and Mosque which is nearby.
The Great Sand Dunes National Park in Colorado is a fascinating place. The park contains the tallest sand dunes in North America, rising to a maximum height of 750 feet from the floor of the San Luis Valley on the western base of the Sangre de Cristo Range, covering about 19,000 acres. Researchers say that the dunes started forming less than 440,000 years ago. In this photo, Medano Creek flows in curious pulses along the southeast edge of the dunes, while snow covered peaks of the Sangre de Cristo rise behind.