John Hadden Photography

Photography of the Natural World



Coltsfoot vs Dandelion


By late May, some early flowering plants have already gone to seed. You’ve no doubt seen these silver tufts along roadways and ditches, and maybe you thought they were dandelions. But no, they’re the seed heads of coltsfoot, one of the earliest flowering plants that we have here in Vermont. Like dandelions (which are also producing their seedheads) coltsfoot disseminates its seeds by wind action as each toughs of silver fibers are connected to individual seeds. Here’s a dandelion seedhead for comparison:


I’ll agree that coltsfoot looks a little rangy compared to the nifty seed-stalk-and-fluff setup sported by dandelions, but it too gets the job done!

Sony A7II, Sony 90mm macro lens, ISO 800, f/20, f/22 respectively, 1/500″, 1/100″ respectively.


Canada Violets

Canada violets blooming near Little Baldy

As we bushwacked up the approach to Little Baldy the other day, we walked through broad patches of Canada violets (Viola canadensis) blooming near areas where logging had occurred a few years back. These are our tallest native violets growing 6″-8″ with large white blossoms.

Sony A7II, Sony 90mm macro lens, ISO 1250, f/13, 1/160″ exposure.

Young Beech Leaves

Young beech leaves

Beech leaves are popping out right now. I’ve often photographed fall beech leaves with their coppery hue and late winter marcescent leaves of papery tan fading to ghostly white, but I’ve never shot a fresh, new leaf as it emerged. The fine hairs on the surface remind me of a baby’s skin!

Sony A7II, Sony 90mm macro lens, ISO 1250, f/13, 1/125″ exposure.

White Trillium

White Trillium

Robin and I went for a walk on the Sucker Brook Hollow trail in Williston yesterday. We’d never been on that short trail before, and were pleased to find a bounty of white trillium flowering along the western sloping hillside. White trillium prefer well-drained, neutral to slightly acid soils, usually in second- or young-growth forests of maple and beech, and often grow in large colonies. We certainly encountered such a colony on our walk and would recommend a hike up there to take a look.

Sony A7II, Sony 90mm macro lens, ISO 800, f/9, 1/160″ exposure.

A colony of white trillium


Painted Trillium

Painted trillium near the Mailbox beaver pond

We came across some painted trillium while poking around the beaver pond complex off of Taft Road yesterday morning. This variety of trillium prefer strongly acidic, humus-rich soils, and will be found in the shade of acid-loving trees such as eastern white pine, red maple, red spruce, and balsam fir—pretty much exactly where we found them above the older beaver pond off the Mailbox trail.

Sony A7II, Sony 90mm macro lens, ISO 1250, f/16, 1/125″ exposure.

Buckeye Leafing

A buckeye leafing out by our pond

We have two buckeye trees on the property—the one by our back deck that I featured the other day sporting a mantle of snow, and one out by the pond. Both are beginning to leaf out. Buckeyes are prodigious and fast growers, and the bud pictured above will magically transform into a 16″-24″ long stem of new growth and leaves over the summer season. It’s a spectacular thing to observe.

Sony A7II, Sigma 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, f/6.3, 1/320″ exposure.


May Fools’ Day?

Emerging buckeye buds hold falling snow

Yup, it’s May 9 and we picked up 3.4″ of snow overnight. The emerging buckeye buds on the tree off our back deck seems to nicely sum up today’s struggle between the seasons.

Sony A7II, Sigma 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, f/8, 1/200″ exposure.

Bluebirds vs Tree Swallows

We had lots of activity around the two bird boxes in our front field the other day as a pair of bluebirds and a pair of tree swallows battled it out for possession. I first noticed the swallows swooping about, chattering, and occasionally perching on the weather station anemometer:

A tree swallow perches on the anemometer

The swallows would swoop in to check out the boxes:

A tree swallow checks out one of the boxes

At the same time, a pair of bluebirds were busily guarding both boxes—the female taking up positions on one, and the male on another:

The male bluebird guarding one of the boxes

At one point, the more aggressive mail bluebird attacked one of the swallows:

The male bluebird attacks the tree swallow

Things simmered down a bit after this attack. I’m not sure which box the bluebirds finally chose (if indeed they did choose one), and we’ll have to see if the swallows will be taking up residence in the other box (the two boxes are about 60′ apart). Stay tuned for the thrilling conclusion!

The bluebird pair on one of the boxes

Sony A7II, Sigma 100-400mm lens @ 400mm, ISO 800, f/8, various shutter speeds


Trout Lily

A close look at a trout lily

The trout lilies are blooming gang-busters up in the new Huntington Town Forest. This close-up view shows the details of the “business bits” of this lovely spring ephemeral.

Sony A7II, Sony 90mm macro lens, ISO 1250, f/16, 1/125″ exposure

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