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April 9, 2016

Carter Caves State Resort Park
Carter County, Kentucky

Our new photography group had planned a wildflower outing for today but the weather forecast looked dismal and we finally cancelled.  Good thing too, it was certainly a surprise to wake up with a snow covered ground.  Yesterday (Friday morning), I made a quick stop to the park to find out how the wildflowers were doing and found this Columbine looking very well.  It was windy and cold but I managed to photograph a few varieties- later in the day the sun disappeared and the wind would have made it nearly impossible. For the Columbine, I was already shooting a fast shutter speed.

In Morehead, I stopped at CoffeeTree Books and picked up a cup of great coffee, of course, and also that nice wildflower book by Thomas Barnes and Wilson Francis, "Wildflowers and Ferns of Kentucky".  I had followed the online writing of Barnes for quite some time, his death last year at the age of 56 was quite a blow to lovers of the natural world in our state.  The book is very nice, arranged by the season and then by color (with the page edges marked with the colors for quick selection).  The beauty of the book is that it covers only the most common wildflowers, in the introduction he stated the criteria for inclusion included the ability to be found by the average person.  For my one time in using it so far, I liked it very much and paired it with the book Wildflowers of Tennessee that gives some nice tidbits or trivia about the plants, though covering so many more varieties that I had difficulty in using it for identification.

He devoted a few paragraphs to speak on photography (he had written a book specific on that subject too but I don't own it), explaining that a real difference exists between photography of wildflowers for artistic purposes vs journalistic or identification purposes.  For art, we often prefer to not have the whole plant in focus whereas for illustration purposes, the stem, leaf and flowers need to be well defined.  So most of his images use flash and seem to take on the same appearance as off-camera portraiture done in the fashion of David Hobby's Strobist method, that being to dial down the exposure a stop or two then re-light the flower with a diffused flash to make a 1 to 2 stop difference between the subject and the background.  His results are really nice for the most part.