Montana Outdoors

May 16, 2009

Pioneer violet

Filed under: Flowers, Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 9:10 am

As you capture an image of the first yellow violet that you’ve seen this year you realize that’s the way photographing wildflowers is meant to be!

Lying prone in the wet grass and low shrubs along the stream, one leg of your tripod (in this case your right elbow) in the water (causing you to wonder momentarily how water that is at a temperature of -40°F is still in liquid form), the second leg of the tripod (your left elbow) wedged into a nest of sharp rocks, and the third leg, which is a six inch long monopod screwed into the tripod mount on the bottom of your camera with three of those inches buried in the mud, leaving your nose also in the mud as you attempt to frame a photo in the viewfinder, you are, under the circumstances, having a quite pleasant experience.

In between exposure bracketing it comes to your attention that every creature that has eight or more legs and lives within a four mile radius of your position has joined its friends in a gleeful stroll through the neck of your sweat shirt and far down the center of your back. You probably don’t want to think too much about exactly what they’re doing down there, but you’re pretty sure you heard the “pop” of a champaign cork. Actually you hope that’s what it was.

It’s late evening, the light is failing, you’re two miles from the trail head and as you click the shutter for the last time you hope that wet sensation you just felt in the middle of your back wasn’t caused by the foot of some large hairy creature of the night stepping on your cold, wet body because, while that might make the trip back to your Jeep faster by several orders of magnitude, you know on that trip back you really won’t enjoy the sensation of knocking down that big Douglas Fir near the bottom of the trail with your sternum because the trail took it’s sudden turn to the left and you didn’t.

But it wasn’t: the Fir survived because your more leisurely pace allowed you to make that sharp left turn in the dark, and, after you arrive home and transfer your photos to the iMac you can see that the photos of the flower were actually in focus this time. Life is good!

Pioneer violet

Pioneer violet

Pioneer violet
Viola glabella
Violet family


  1. Wow… those shots jump right off my computer screen. Kudos to you! And you also have me laughing out loud at your description of the experience… funny!


    Comment by Cedar — May 16, 2009 @ 9:25 am

    • They are pretty little violets, once you find them and get down to their level.


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 6:04 pm

  2. So that’s how you do it! LOL! You should write more! I’m still laughing! Beautiful photos of pioneer violets!


    Comment by Maureen — May 16, 2009 @ 9:33 am

    • Thanks Maureen. Some times it’s easy, other times, well…


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 6:07 pm

  3. Ah yes! The glamorous life of the nature photographer. Its always wonderful to return home after such an adventure just to have your wife ask “who exactly were you mud-wrestling with dear?”.

    Great shots and terrific writing!



    Comment by Jeff Lynch — May 16, 2009 @ 10:46 am

    • Thanks Jeff. The real accomplishment is keeping the camera clean!


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 6:09 pm

  4. So glad you had a pleasant experience – creepy crawlies and all! Much worth it, huh?!?


    Comment by Stacey - Addicted to The Click — May 16, 2009 @ 10:47 am

    • Lots of creepy crawlies for sure, especially wood ticks this time of year. Better than mosquitos though.


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 6:10 pm

  5. Ah yes, there’s nothing else like walking in the door and having myself a good spider panic. I ask myself, as I am cleaning up blobs and speckles of mud from the ceiling, walls and floor of my kitchen, “Shouldn’t you really get some help for this phobia?!”

    The violet shots are gorgeous!


    Comment by Tabbie — May 16, 2009 @ 10:53 am

    • I have been thinking about posting some shots of a real cool little crab spider I ran into last week. Maybe I should warn you first?


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 6:11 pm

  6. They’re all the more beautiful knowing that you must consort with tired feet, critters and the elements to get the best shots.



    Comment by knightofswords — May 16, 2009 @ 12:13 pm

    • Those are some of the things that really do make wildflowers special. And they are found in the most unusual places. Often I’m kind of like a kid looking for Easter eggs.


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 6:13 pm

  7. This violet has been the bane of my existence. For three years now, I have been trying to get an image that I am happy with and I am OH for three years.

    Your image really looks good. Great depth of field and color. And the background complements rather than detracts from the image. Nicely done.


    Comment by edvatza — May 16, 2009 @ 2:42 pm

    • Thanks Ed. They don’t seem to grow in convenient locations for a photographer and they just hug the ground. These were tough, believe it or not, because they were on relatively flat ground, something I’m not used to.


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 6:16 pm

  8. Hope you know that they’re are folk all around the world (me for one) who appreciate all the effort you put into caputuring your beautiful, beautiful photographs.


    Comment by connie — May 16, 2009 @ 6:28 pm

    • Thank you for your kind words, Connie! That’s what makes the effort well worth while!


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 7:01 pm

  9. what we won’t go through to get a photo! nice pic of the yellow beauties!!


    Comment by kcjewel — May 16, 2009 @ 8:03 pm

    • We sure do. I’m kind of a “blue collar” photographer anyway.


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 9:10 pm

  10. LOL–“…every creature that has eight or more legs and lives within a four mile radius of your position has joined its friends in a gleeful stroll through the neck of your sweat shirt and far down the center of your back.” Ah the fun of being a nature photographer! I once discovered a tick on the top of my head. I had a bit of a yelling fit getting it off and my screaming resounded throughout the prairie. LOL Spiders and ticks are what gets me and there are plenty in the fields and woods.

    That 2nd photo is fabulous! I love the twirl of the Pioneer violet cupped in the green leaf. So vivid and detailed. Beautiful!


    Comment by Anna Surface — May 16, 2009 @ 8:50 pm

    • I actually like spiders: we get along very well. Ticks though are a different matter. I brought back at least 40 of them this spring. The routine is that as soon as I get home, my clothes go into the washer and I go into the shower. We’re past that season now though.

      I was elated when I saw that I could catch the flower against one of its leaves. It was a rather rare chance.


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 9:16 pm

  11. I love those low angle shots too but am now too lazy to get down and dirty. Just shoot blind and hope for the best.


    Comment by rvewong — May 16, 2009 @ 9:49 pm

    • That’s my second choice, although sometimes I consider making it the first.


      Comment by montucky — May 16, 2009 @ 10:03 pm

  12. I love this capture. The color is absolutely wonderful and the violet’s delicate petals are perfectly intact.


    Comment by scienceguy288 — May 17, 2009 @ 3:25 pm

  13. and people wonder what you do for fun??!! 🙂


    Comment by silken — May 17, 2009 @ 4:10 pm

    • Well, I guess there are worse things a body could do, but I sure wouldn’t trade!


      Comment by montucky — May 17, 2009 @ 7:58 pm

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