Montana Outdoors

March 30, 2015

A two photo day

Filed under: Wildflowers — Tags: , — montucky @ 7:09 pm

Yellow Bell ~ Fritillaria pudica

Yellow Bell ~ Fritillaria pudica

Yellow Bell ~ Fritillaria pudica

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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

March 13, 2015

Woodland Star and friends

A few of the tiny wildflowers are beginning to emerge.

Small-flowered Woodland star

Small-flowered Woodland star ~ Lithophragma parviflorum (blossom size about 1/4 in – .64cm)

Spring Draba, Spring Whitlow-grass

Spring Draba, Spring Whitlow-grass ~ Draba Verna (blossom size 1/8 in – .32cm)

February 28, 2015

Mule deer buck ~ B & W conversion

I seldom participate in challenges, but Maurice at i AM Safari invited me to post in the current Black & White challenge and I have a photograph that is so similar in its essence to the one that he posted from half the world away that I simply had to post it.

When I was a kid growing up here in western Montana in the mid 40’s, we lived near the edge of town and about a mile away from our house (within my permissible roaming distance) there was a large section of natural prairie which in the spring was very nicely decorated by a profusion of wildflowers, most notably the state flower of Montana, the Bitterroot (Lewisia rediviva). The Bitterroot has always been considered a valuable plant to the native Salish and Kootenai Indian tribes who cooked and ate the roots and large numbers of tribal members came from the nearby Flathead Indian Reservation each spring to camp and harvest roots on that section of prairie. They were very friendly people and were quite pleased to let a little kid like me help them with their harvest, and that became a real highlight for me every spring.

Sadly, that special place has now long been buried under the asphalt , concrete, and brick and mortar of commercial development that some folks call “progress” and Bitterroots have become very scarce. They do still bloom in places on the Reservation though (although not in great numbers), and each June I visit there to see and photograph the flowers.

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia rediviva

Bitterroot ~ Lewisia rediviva

In June of 2011 a couple of miles from where I had been photographing Bitterroots I encountered a beautiful young Mule deer buck and was able to capture one of my favorite photos of that species, and probably the only photo in my entire library that I think looks fairly decent as a black and white conversion: a native mulie, perfectly at home in his natural habitat, wondering who or what I am and if I really belong there too.

Mule deer ~ Odocoileus hemionus

Mule deer ~ Odocoileus hemionus

February 13, 2015

The first of 2015

Filed under: Wildflowers, Winter — Tags: , , — montucky @ 5:34 pm

After about a half mile of hiking toward a trail that I intended to visit today I tired of all of the snow and ice and turned back. I hike for the pure pleasure of it and saw no point in hiking where it wasn’t fun. And there are other places to go, one of which is Buttercup Ridge, where the very first wildflowers bloom every year about this time. It’s a small area, about 50 feet by 100 feet atop a very steep, narrow, rocky, cliffy ridge, and why buttercups bloom there nearly two months before they bloom anywhere else is a complete mystery to me. They do though, after all, bloom in western Montana and somewhere in their DNA they know that and they also know that before spring comes they may see temperatures of -20ºF and two feet of snow, but they bloom anyway. I love their attitude!

Buttercup Ridge

Buttercup Ridge

Sagebrush Buttercups ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus: (the water drops on some of them came from last night’s frost).

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

Sagebrush buttercup ~ Ranunculus glaberrimus

February 4, 2015

Looking forward to Spring

This is the time of year when many of us start looking forward to Spring and all of the new arrivals of the season that will be appearing, my favorites of which are wildflowers. In my photo library there are somewhere around ten thousand photos of western Montana wildflowers and I’ve decided to have a few printed and I have made some simple frames in which to mount them. At the moment I really don’t know what I will do with them, but first I have to see what they might look like that way. As I go along I will post a few of those photos here as a sample of what the next seasons are sure to bring.

Spreading Dogbane

Spreading Dogbane ~ Apocynum androsaemifolium

This is a rather mundane appearing little plant that grows to be about 20 inches tall and its flowers are small and, as you walk past them, hardly noticeable. However, when scrutinized closely, they are quite pretty. This photo was taken in June of 2009 along an old road upon which I walk quite frequently, and the gentle raindrops that were falling that day added a little sparkle to the appearance of the blossoms.

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