Saturday, May 18, 2013

Out Again

 Photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(Lots of Wild Turkey "gobbling in the distant landscape as I was photographing this scene.) 
click on images for a larger view

Out again, walking the hillsides and valleys south of the studio with the cameras; it feels good!  Its too bad spring and early summer are so fleeting; I love the subtle colors that later turn a full blown summer green.  You'll get chartreuses, yellows, ochres, rusts, siennas, and many unexpected in-betweens with the buds swelling and the emerging foliage.

"Ground Plum (Astragalus crassicarpus) 
Photograph © Bruce A. Morrison 
click on images for a larger view

I walked a new place and was pleasantly surprised to find some scattered patches of Ground Plum (Astragalus-crassicarpus) on some prairie remnant slopes.  I have found them on the Waterman Prairie near there but hadn't yet on private property.  Many times you'll still find "plums" from the previous year or remains of them but didn't this made me pause and doubt the find but later verified the plants.  There is a large deer population here and I found a large nest of a Wild Turkey very close to some plants, so suspect they're being utilized as soon as they're available.
 Photograph © Bruce A. Morrison
(Wonderful woodland understory and early morning light!)
 click on images for a larger view

There were many Wild Plums in bloom - very late this year due to the extended winter hanging on...most were less than dramatic however; I suspect from the heavy flush last year followed by hard drought.  Even the plums on our acreage have filled out to a more noticeably smaller degree.

The biggest surprise to me was the nice open woodland edges over a small ravine, very pleasant with the morning sun just breaking through the forms of Bur Oaks.

More walks...must have more walks this spring and summer!!!  Its nice to get out again.


Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Iowa's Natural Heritage

Baltimore Oriole (male)
photograph - © Bruce A. Morrison

They're baaaack!  Just moments ago I had 6 males and 1 female Baltimore Orioles out side the studio window, not over four feet away, fighting over the Humming Bird feeder - so good to have them home once more!  These are drop dead gorgeous/bright voiced birds...such a joy to have all spring and summer long.  

The photograph above was actually taken out the very same window here at the studio, and is part of an exhibit I'm participating in at the moment - "Iowa's Natural Heritage".  This new art exhibit will be starting at Arts on Grand in Spencer, Iowa on Thursday, May 9th, and continuing through June 1st.

This is a "juried" show, meaning the artworks and photography went through a jury process to be voted in for inclusion in this show.  There are around 20 different artists participating and the show celebrates the "natural" heritage of Iowa!

I have 5 pieces in the exhibit - 1 photograph, 1 drawing, and 3 oil paintings.  But the exhibit also includes mixed media, ceramic, and other works including interpretive pieces...promises to be an excellent show!  There will be an artist's reception Thursday - May 9th, from 5 - 7p.m.  Hope to see you there!

Take in Iowa's Natural Heritage this month if you can!


Thursday, May 2, 2013

Third Month of Spring?

May 1st at the Studio?

This is so weird its almost funny...well not quite, but weird for certain.  Here it is May 2nd and we're just shaking off a snow storm from yesterday!  Not a bad storm as winter goes, but its the third month of spring now!!!  I think we're lucky though; our storm ended before nightfall and the rest of the state got theirs during the night.  Ours has all but melted now and they just woke up to twice or more of the snow than we did!  We've been so dry the past 9-10 months that I'll accept it just the same!

 Moon over Waterman Prairie
photo © Bruce A. Morrison

I had gotten used to the idea that it was "finally" spring here.  Last Saturday I went for a good walk in a couple areas south of here on Waterman Prairie looking for Pasque Flowers.  Had a nice big waning moon setting in the west while I was up on one of the many ridges and tried photographing the moment.  I think this would have been more interesting/spectacular if it had been "really" spring, or even summer , fall or winter...this time of year is too dull!  Wait for some green I guess?  By the way, the Pasque Flowers were up this morning but "just" up...I was going to give them some time but now the weather's put things off again.  Maybe I'll still see them before they're done.

 Northern Leopard Frog
photo © Bruce A. Morrison

A couple days before our May snow, Georgie and I went out to drive around and listen to the frogs.  They had been singing with great gusto for about three days prior to our outing and did not disappoint us when we went on our excursion...we LOVE to listen to them!  We'd even been sleeping with the windows open to listen to them each of those nights...they just lull you to sleep.  Wonderful music!!!

The shot above was a Northern Leopard Frog who was playing the "If I don't move - he won't see me game" on Monday night when Georgie and I were out and about.  I think they're likely "hung over" now from what the weather has unloaded on them!!!  I wonder if this weather event has messed up what they were working so hard to do the past week?  Maybe they'll have to start over?  Haven't the foggiest.  Would like to hear more singing up the hill here from the backwater of Waterman Creek down below us though!

And the Great Blue Heron Rookery across the valley from us has been hit 4 weeks in a row now, by ice, snow and freezing rain storms!  I wouldn't blame them if they packed up and went back to the Gulf of Mexico!  But I hope they persevere too. 

Life is interesting on this little blue ball we live on!