Spring Green 2014

So I set out, as I do this first week of May for the past ten years, to become immersed in fernery.  A nearby glade is famously rich in pale spring greens of a half-dozen ferns and the lighting of a morning is excellent.

To my dismay, a tree had fallen across the middle of the meadow. I was disappointed–until I glanced up the steep hillside above the meadow. Not only was it equally as rich with ferns of a variety of ages and types, but the steep pitch let me shoot at eye level while standing downhill of the subject.

And the light–just glancing over the east ridge at 915, cast its rays on first one grouping, then another, allowing shots facing both towards and away from the light.

Suffice it to say, I became lost in time and space–it is called FLOW–for a good hour, after which I felt like I’d cut and loaded a couple of truck-loads of firewood. Holding position on a 45 degree grade is a kind of photographic yoga not for the faint of heart.

[flickr_set id=”72157644506956026″ open_originals=”true”]

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Fred First holds masters degrees in Vertebrate Zoology and physical therapy, and has been a biology teacher and physical therapist by profession. He moved to southwest Virginia in 1975 and to Floyd County in 1997. He maintains a daily photo-blog, broadcasts essays on the Roanoke NPR station, and contributes regular columns for the Floyd Press and Roanoke's Star Sentinel. His two non-fiction books, Slow Road Home and his recent What We Hold in Our Hands, celebrate the riches that we possess in our families and communities, our natural bounty, social capital and Appalachian cultures old and new. He has served on the Jacksonville Center Board of Directors and is newly active in the Sustain Floyd organization. He lives in northeastern Floyd County on the headwaters of the Roanoke River.

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  1. I carried both the Nikon D200 and the Panasonic Lumix L7. All these shots were with the smaller camera. I purchased it specifically for its macro capabilities and was not disappointed. I did, however, fail to put it in RAW shooting mode, so no magazine covers from this shoot. : > }

  2. Hey Fred, glad to see spring is working it’s way into the valley.

    You might try installing a plugin to allow you to integrate your Flickr sets into your posts. I just tried the Flickr Photostream Plugin from the WP Plugin repository and it does a neat little “photostream” type presentaion from a set into a post with just a shortcode.

    There were a number of different plugins to try…

  3. I was blown away by the cinnamon fern fertile frond. What a macro! But I have no idea what all those tiny little balls are. Too big to be spores?

  4. Good question, Kathy. Those little balls are sporangia clusters on the fertile frond–thousands on a single fern, each containing what will become a bunch of spores–so altogether a massive release soon of fern spores into the wind on a dry day. Most will, of course, fall on barren ground, a few will find just the right place to “hatch” and make fern gametophytes, male and female, and the swimming sperm in a drop of rain will complete the story. Fern life cycle–for those few who might have forgotten it since the last time you drew it with colored pencils in school: http://goo.gl/NwOxg3