Saturday, September 5, 2015

Happy Labor Day weekend!

The weather these past few days has made me wish I had two DSLRs, one for inside and one for outside. Each time I take my camera outside from the air conditioned house or vice versa, I end up with lenses/covers fogged for several minutes. The fog also coats my viewfinder which limits my efforts to compensate with a manual focus technique. It's not the heat, it's the humidity has taken on entirely new meaning for me. Instead of buying another camera, I'm learning to practice patience as a solution, and that let me get this shot of what I consider to be a classic later Summer, early Autumn sultry morning sky.

late Summer, early morning sky
late Summer, early morning sky
Photo by J. Harrington

After yesterday's posting, I became curious about acorn identification. An online search yielded few satisfactory pictures that identified both oak leaves and acorns together. The Vanderbilt University page comes close, but I'd like to see better photo examples. The USDA-FS field guide, like many field guides, shows each species separately, hindering "compare and contrast" searches. Since we have several kinds of oaks growing on or near the property, I thought I'd see about adding acorns to the kind of leaf photos we showed yesterday. Here's some from the red northern pin oak that keeps dropping acorns onto the deck.

red oak acorn
red northern pin oak acorn
Photo by J. Harrington

red oak leaf
red northern pin oak leaf
Photo by J. Harrington

I'm once again reminded of Theodore Rothke's line "I learn by going where I need to go," although at least two things should be obvious from these pictures:
  1. Creating clear shots, with a decent depth of field, of acorns and leaves together is a real challenge
  2. I need more practice and patience, but these photos are a start, (causing me now to remember the old joke about a mighty oak starting from a little nut like me).
Relax, go enjoy your weekend, try some foraging if you're absolutely positive you can identify what you're collecting. (Be glad if you're in better shape than my car. My visit to the dealer is resulting in a new hose plus a new radiator. For a car that's only 5 years old, radiator replacement seems premature. I had expected better of Subarus.)

Field Guide

By Cynthia Zarin 
The stars are pinned between the leaves   
of the trees, and love is only a harbinger,   
a regular Boy Scout handbook
of things not to do, and how to do other things,   
small chores you’d never think of,   
and supper gets cold on the table.   
But I can’t leave here without
taking you with me.
And the formal customs we once had,   
like wearing red during hunting season,   
are only signposts pointing the way   
in and out of the territories—
colored leaves floating on the water,   
hesitant, before the rains come.


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