Montana Outdoors

April 8, 2010

Umbrella photography

It’s impossible to resist getting outside into a sudden springtime snowstorm and when one came up this afternoon I grabbed my camera gear and headed down toward the river.

The forecast for western Montana today had been for strong winds and snow although this particular area was excluded from the wind part of the forecast. However, as so often happens, Nature ignored that and decided to push the snow along by a brisk little wind of about 20 knots. Just up off the river, it felt cold; it was 33° to be exact, putting the wind chill at about 17°.

Rather than give up my excursion completely I sought the shelter of some small cliffs above the river that looked as though they would serve as a wind break and climbed up toward them to sit for a spell to watch the storm play itself out over the river. As I scrambled up the steep slope, a speck of color showed itself and when I investigated I found that there were several very small Oregon grape plants in bloom deep down inside some other brush that sheltered them quite nicely, and since the blossoms were open I decided to try for a shot.

Of course, one of the laws of photography states that the lens currently on your camera is never the one you want to use, and that is where the umbrella (which I always carry strapped to my pack) comes in. Yes, it is indeed possible to change lenses and take macro shots while lying prone under an umbrella on a steep slope in a 20 knot wind that is driving heavy snow before it; not easy really, but possible.

I hope it was worth it.

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

Oregon grape

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February 3, 2010

Oregon Grape; then and now

Oregon Grape in April (April 20, 2009)

Oregon Grape(February 3, 2010)

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April 24, 2008

Oregon Grape

Filed under: Montana, Nature, Outdoors, Photography, Photos, Pictures, Wildflowers — Tags: — montucky @ 6:33 pm

The Oregon Grape, mahonia repens, AKA creeping barberry, has begun to bloom here in western Montana despite the snow we’ve had nearly every night this week.

Its fruit consists of tiny light blue berries that can be made into great wine or delicious jelly. If you taste the berries right off the plant though, you will discover a brand new standard for the concept of sour!

More information is available by visiting the USDA Plants Profile and doing a search for it. This site doesn’t refer to it as Oregon Grape though: I guess the USDA doesn’t know it’s the state flower of Oregon.

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

Oregon Grape

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