When the conditions are right, and we’ve had a wet fall season, I often head into the forest in search of mushrooms and fungi to photograph. I found these Candlesnuff Fungus/ Carbon Antlers (Xylaria hypoxylon) in Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia. This was not a species I had seen before, and in many ways is more interesting than the simple cap mushrooms I’ve photographed in the past here. Also in contrast to the mushrooms I’ve photographed, this species was unique enough (I hope) that I was able to determine the actual genus and species for it.
A Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) with a bed of Pacific Bleeding Heart flowers (Dicentra formosa) – at Campbell Valley Park in Langley, British Columbia, Canada.
Vine Maple and Pacific Bleeding Heart in Campbell Valley Park (Purchase)
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Today I have two photos from Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia. One of the things I have been working on with my photography is to improve the photos I make of scenes inside the forest. There can often be so many competing elements all heading in different directions that a pleasing, non cluttered composition can be difficult. So I decided to work on that, and am getting results that I think are an improvement and more compelling than previous efforts. This photo (left) of a Vine Maple (Acer circinatum) with a bed of Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) growing below it is one example.
Walking path in Campbell Valley Regional Park (Purchase)
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I’ve recently been editing and key wording all the photos I’ve made in this park over the last few years. Many were already processed, but there was still a lot of work to be done. I’ll place them all in their own gallery on my website soon – right now they are scattered over a few different categories. Campbell Valley Park is only about a 15 minute drive for me, so I will likely be spending even more time there as a lot of the park I have yet to explore.
I made this photo in a favourite local park – Campbell Valley Regional Park in Langley, British Columbia. There is not much in the way of wide open scenery here, but it is a great place to focus on smaller things such as mushrooms, wildflowers and occasionally birds. If you have read my previous mushroom posts over on Google+ it will come to you as no surprise that I have not identified this species of mushroom.
I would normally shoot something like this with my macro lens, but in this case I was not going to be able to get close to this log at all without destroying a lot of underbrush, so I setup my tripod on the trail and used my 70-200mm lens to “get closer”. I am not against placing items in a scene, but for this particular photo I did not place the Maple leaf – it was already laying there. I do have another version of this photo without the leaf, but I believe the above composition is stronger with the leaf in place.
A few months ago I walked through Campbell Valley Park with only my macro lens on my camera. The point of this exercise was that I wanted to focus on just type of shot and not get distracted by other sorts of shots. I wanted to concentrate on the small things like this mushroom, or another subject from that day – a Bleeding Heart flower.
Unfortunately I am not adept at identification of fungi, so I’ll get as close as possible and merely identify this as some sort of Mycena sp.
I went for a walk through some trails last week and while I wasn’t going there specifically for photography I brought the camera along. I figured that if I didn’t have it with me, an eagle would land in a tree right in front of me and well, I would be out of luck photographically. No eagles this time, but a Barred Owl (Strix varia) did land right in front of me and posed for long enough for me to get a few decent shots of it. I have never seen an owl this close before, and I’m lucky I had a camera poised to take the shot. A few weeks ago I was in the same spot on the trail taking some macro shots of Pacific Bleeding Heart flowers. If the owl had shown up then I would have had the macro lens on (instead of the 70-200mm), camera on the tripod, mirror lockup turned on, the ISO too low, and an aperture stopped down enough that a handheld shot would have been impossible. I guess what I am saying is I feel fortunate to have had all the factors work out for me this time! Getting a nice composition is difficult with so many branches sticking out everywhere though.
Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) -click to enlarge-
This is a Pacific Bleeding Heart (Dicentra formosa) flower I found in Campbell Valley Park. It doesn’t break any new compositional ground being a simple macro shot, but it did require a fair bit of patience to shoot. While in the middle of the forest, low to the ground, the breeze was still throwing these flowers around quite a bit so getting this shot required about 30 minutes. I managed to get a few shots that were sharp, luckily.
One thing that has helped me greatly in getting sharp macro shots is the live view mode on my new Canon 7D – a feature my old camera did not have. I find that especially with the macro shots zooming in using the screen not only allows me to focus better (using manual focus) but determine when the subject has stopped twitching in the wind. It also means I do not have to lie down on the trail to look through the viewfinder to compose the shot like my old camera.
Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) -click to enlarge-
Last night the weather was good so I ventured down to Campbell Valley Park to see what I could find in terms of wildlife and wildflowers. A whole lot of both as it turns out. While I was setting up this shot of a Western Trillium (Trillium ovatum) a Rufous-sided Towhee (Pipilo erythrophthalmus) decided to land on my camera. I have spent hours in the past trying to get a shot of these guys in my backyard, but they enjoy hiding in the underbrush and are not very interested in people being near them. This one, however, didn’t seem to think of me as a threat – at least up to the point where I couldn’t keep my mouth shut and said “are you kidding me” out loud. I guess I was surprised. The Towhee was not amused and fled.
Trillium aren’t as skittish so I was able to get this shot with my macro lens. A lot of wildflowers are just about to bloom in the park, so I will be returning there shortly to try to get some more photos.
The Western Trillium is considered a Species at Risk (Yellow Listed) in the Fraser Valley due to habitat fragmentation.