Montana Outdoors

April 20, 2011

A little red leaf

Filed under: Inspiration — montucky @ 9:45 pm

This is characteristically the time for the trilliums to be in full bloom along the Munson Creek trail in the TeePee/Spring Creek roadless area here in western Montana. The trail is a beautiful one that climbs steeply up the side of a wild canyon full of rushing water and thick undergrowth, then levels out for awhile to become the quiet companion of a musical little stream that bubbles along in the deep shade of tall cedars before it resumes it’s steep climb to Big Hole Peak.

There is always a small bloom not far from the trail head, but a much larger one a thousand feet higher, two miles up the trail. Today the ones down low were in full bloom, but the ones up higher were still a week or two away from their peak.

Since the bloom up high was just beginning, I took some rather strange and (hopefully) interesting photos of the trillium buds that I will post a little later. Today however I was captivated by this single small twig of an Oregon Grape. Isn’t it interesting how such a simple little thing can sometimes steal the whole show!

Oregon Grape leaf


  1. It’s a beauty!


    Comment by mitambien — April 20, 2011 @ 10:02 pm

    • Thanks! That’s what I thought. It was cold and when I found a sunny spot in which to eat my lunch the little leaf was quite visible in the sunlight, with the silver of an old dead cedar branch behind it.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2011 @ 2:52 pm

  2. Hi Montucky, That has real mood to it! I think you are very talented as a photographer. Have a super nice afternoon.


    Comment by wildlifewatcher — April 21, 2011 @ 9:19 am

    • Thanks wildlifewatcher! Despite its fall color, it has the easy-going mood of spring.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2011 @ 2:53 pm

  3. I absolutely see where the grape twig is captivating. Eating your lunch in a sunny spot, avoiding the cold as much as possible is a scene I can picture.


    Comment by Jack Matthews — April 21, 2011 @ 12:12 pm

    • The places where we live are so vastly different, aren’t they!


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2011 @ 2:55 pm

  4. That’s a great shot, Dad. I love the focus and curves of the leaf. Beautiful! 🙂


    Comment by Juls — April 21, 2011 @ 12:46 pm

  5. I can see what caught your eye. It makes a very good subject for a shot.


    Comment by sandy — April 21, 2011 @ 2:15 pm

  6. Love the red, and simply beautiful.


    Comment by Anna — April 21, 2011 @ 2:21 pm

    • That plant has an interesting habit of having some red leaves even in summer, but this one was all red and stood out all alone.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2011 @ 2:57 pm

  7. A lovely shade of red in this indeed, beautiful work !!


    Comment by Bernie Kasper — April 21, 2011 @ 7:45 pm

    • Thanks Bernie. I often see red leaves on Oregon Grape, but this one was all alone and standing tall among all of the new green grasses and dark green cedar leaves. A photo just waiting to be taken!


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2011 @ 9:41 pm

  8. The simple things are usually the best. I once took a picture of a fallen leaf that had that same shade of red.


    Comment by Ratty — April 21, 2011 @ 7:49 pm

    • I think simple things are best too, Ratty. There can be such an elegance there.


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2011 @ 9:42 pm

  9. simplicity….


    Comment by silken — April 21, 2011 @ 8:21 pm

    • Nature can make simple but very clear statements, can’t she!


      Comment by montucky — April 21, 2011 @ 9:45 pm

  10. When seeing it, I immediately thought that it is fall picture, but now I see that was wrong. Very beautiful.


    Comment by sartenada — April 22, 2011 @ 12:56 am

    • That plant will sometimes have a few red leaves in any season. This one just stood out from the surrounding greenery.


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2011 @ 10:43 pm

  11. It does seem as though it should be a fall color at first. It looks especially nice against the dark background.


    Comment by Candace — April 22, 2011 @ 1:30 am

    • When I first saw the leaves I thought of red blossoms, but there wouldn’t be any yet. Usually the red leaves of that plant don’t stand out alone like that.


      Comment by montucky — April 22, 2011 @ 11:00 pm

  12. Look at that! Simple and beautiful! Happy Easter to you and yours!


    Comment by Stacey Dawn — April 22, 2011 @ 7:03 am

  13. Even a tiny leaf can attract a lot of attention.


    Comment by knightofswords — April 22, 2011 @ 2:56 pm

  14. Love the perfect simplicity..the gorgeous color. Terrific!


    Comment by Marcie — April 23, 2011 @ 9:43 am

    • The photo was composed for me by nature. I know you would have seen it immediately too. I love it when that happens!


      Comment by montucky — April 23, 2011 @ 8:55 pm

  15. I’ve been watching my Mahonia and have some similarly colored leaves on it this time of year… this is a lovely image! Might have to get out tomorrow and photograph mine!


    Comment by Victoria — April 23, 2011 @ 3:29 pm

    • It is an interesting plant and there must be many varieties of it. It also seems to have a ton of common names. I think what we have here is known as this list: Oregon grape, Holly-leaved Barberry, (Mahonia aquifolium, Berberis aquifolium).

      It is now starting to bloom, and the leaves are showing a lot of the effects of a very harsh winter, some green, some red, and a lot with damage to them. I suppose that by later summer they have themselves all straightened out again.


      Comment by montucky — April 23, 2011 @ 9:00 pm

  16. I love the simple shots. I love it when one looks so quietly yet so intently, that the simplest of things is noted, and then documented. Thank you.


    Comment by Bo Mackison — April 29, 2011 @ 5:59 am

    • I like simple things, and this appeared so simple and clean, quite unusual in a forest setting.


      Comment by montucky — April 29, 2011 @ 12:30 pm

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