Montana Outdoors

March 16, 2015

The blossoms of the willows

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , , , — montucky @ 9:32 pm

It rained here all of yesterday and I wanted to photograph the willows which are just starting to bloom but while the soft light was wonderful for taking pictures, the rain wasn’t. I tried by holding an umbrella with one hand, a hiking staff serving as a monopod with another hand and the third hand (!/?) working the camera. (And, to make it more interesting, what I was trying to shoot was too high for me approach closely, forcing the use of a 70 – 300mm lens to shoot from a distance of about 5 feet.) So when today turned up dry, I re-shot yesterday’s photos again with a real tripod and I am posting a few of them. (The last photo is one from yesterday’s batch with poor focus, but I still rather liked it.)

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Pussy Willow ~ Catkins

Umbrella shot ~ Pussy Willow

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34 Comments »

  1. NICE! That’s like looking at them with a magnifying glass. Beautifully done!

    Like

    Comment by wordsfromanneli — March 16, 2015 @ 10:35 pm

    • Thanks Anneli. I’m grateful for a good lens. Today I looked at these from very close range with no magnification and couldn’t really see what the lens showed. There are so many things that we miss…

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 16, 2015 @ 10:58 pm

  2. Beautiful pictures! Spring is such a wonderful time of the year! Have a great day 🙂

    Like

    Comment by Lucy — March 17, 2015 @ 2:30 am

  3. Wonderful shots!

    Like

    Comment by derrycats — March 17, 2015 @ 5:09 am

  4. Beautiful!

    Like

    Comment by centralohionature — March 17, 2015 @ 5:11 am

    • Thank you! Isn’t it good to see them getting started again!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 17, 2015 @ 8:27 am

  5. They’re beautiful! I was out looking for the same thing yesterday. I found some but ours are still in the soft gray pussy stage. It won’t be long before they start to flower though.

    Like

    Comment by New Hampshire Garden Solutions — March 17, 2015 @ 6:44 am

    • They have been in the gray stage for about a month already, but now the flowers are just bursting open.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 17, 2015 @ 8:28 am

  6. You’re exactly right, that there are so many things we miss. When I was a child (and even older) one of the sure signs of spring was the appearance of the pussy willows. But I only remember them in their soft, gray, catkin stage. I don’t remember ever seeing them flower. All these years, I’ve only remembered the buds. I haven’t a clue what I thought they did — I guess I assumed they just fell off, or something.

    The photos are magical. Astonishing, really. There’s so much around us all the time that we just don’t see.

    Like

    Comment by shoreacres — March 17, 2015 @ 6:48 am

    • I think we all remember pussy willows from our childhood days. When I was a kid I used to cut some for my mother every spring, and then continued when she was in her 90’s and in assisted living: she was always pleased. I dimly remember seeing their flowers, but they didn’t seem to stand out as much as they do today. It might have just been that they were of a different species that didn’t have such pretty flowers.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 17, 2015 @ 8:33 am

  7. What super photos! I have a real weakness for willows and their furry buds. I just have to stroke them! I would like to have seen your contortions while trying to photograph these!

    Like

    Comment by Jo Woolf — March 17, 2015 @ 1:00 pm

    • Thanks Jo. I always look forward to seeing them each spring. The first ones this year came about a month ago, and I cut some and took over to an old friend who is now in her 80’s and not in good health. It looked as though a light turned on in her face when she saw them: she hadn’t seen pussy willows in many years.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — March 17, 2015 @ 8:05 pm

  8. Wow, the only way I’ve ever seen them is as they appear in your 2nd photo, pussy willows. I had no idea they ever looked like this. Amazing and beautiful! And I love a good lens.

    Like

    Comment by Candace — March 17, 2015 @ 9:56 pm

    • They are most familiar in the fuzzy stage, before the flowers appear, and that’s all I really saw for years. When I was able to see the flowers through a good lens I was very surprised and pleased too. I sure agree about the value of a good lens!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 17, 2015 @ 10:11 pm

  9. I don’t like having to admit I have never seen pussy willows blossoming out. what a beautiful thing. I also love your last photo, the dreaminess of it is wonderful!

    Like

    Comment by Teresa Evangeline — March 18, 2015 @ 11:23 am

    • One of the challenging and wonderfully surprising things about spring and early summer is that the new vegetation develops so rapidly. A newly emerging plant can change completely in the course of a day or two. Unless you go to the same places every day, you may miss out on a stage of something and perhaps a year later see what you had missed before. Lots of beautiful surprises!

      The last photo was my favorite too, despite the focus not being quite right.

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 18, 2015 @ 7:50 pm

  10. Stunning! I love the flowers of wind-pollinated plants like willows; around here (SE NY) the red maples have very beautiful flowers, and I love the flowers of grasses as well. Very few people notice any of them. They are often delightful announcements that spring is happening. The colors you captured here are really gorgeous.

    Like

    Comment by Jessica — March 19, 2015 @ 7:11 am

    • Thank you Jessica! For some reason we don’t seem to think about trees and grasses producing flowers but they do and very pretty ones too. Perhaps partly the reason is that they bloom for pretty brief times. I watch for the big fir tree by our house to bloom and yet some years I miss seeing the blossoms entirely. Anyway, I’m glad that you enjoyed the photos I was able to take!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 19, 2015 @ 8:09 pm

  11. Hi Montucky, I really enjoy seeing your fabulous photographs! I love these beautiful breaking buds. Have a great Friday tomorrow!

    Like

    Comment by wildlifewatcher — March 19, 2015 @ 7:29 pm

    • I’m pleased that you enjoyed the photos. You have a great Friday too!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 19, 2015 @ 8:10 pm

  12. I meant to come back and write a comment on this as I didn’t have a chance when I first viewed them. Pussy willows were mentioned in story books I read growing up and now I have been able to see the buds breaking in glorious detail thanks to your beautiful and clever photography! The detail is exquisite! Love the water droplets too. If only we could see and appreciate the close-up beauty of nature like this more often, I think we would feel happier. 🙂

    Like

    Comment by Jane — March 20, 2015 @ 6:41 pm

    • You’re right, Jane, much happier. And perhaps more confident, understanding that the natural world at least, still knows what it is doing.

      Liked by 1 person

      Comment by montucky — March 20, 2015 @ 7:46 pm

  13. oh, a caterpillar on one, very cool.
    loved seeing each one. they are wonderful little expressions of spring.

    Like

    Comment by Tammie — March 23, 2015 @ 6:26 pm

    • Yes, they do indeed make a nice welcome for the new season!

      Like

      Comment by montucky — March 23, 2015 @ 8:14 pm

  14. I especially like the lighting on these.

    Like

    Comment by burstmode — March 31, 2015 @ 5:38 am

  15. Fantastic set! I loved Your explanation of difficulties to shoot photos. You remember my Poor-man photos and in many cases I had umbrella in one hand protecting my camera and camera in the other hand. Pure acrobatics. 🙂

    Like

    Comment by Sartenada — April 2, 2015 @ 1:03 am


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