Friday, May 1, 2009

Lichen the small things

Most days I am conscientious and do my chores first and then go hiking. Yesterday, with the boss still away, I decided play first, work later. The rationale being I always take photos in the late afternoon light with sun lower in the western sky; now it's time to get some morning and early afternoon shots. So really this is an educational outing, not just play. Do you think the boss will buy that?
I left without a plan in mind, not sure where I was headed. I put my GPS on tracking mode so when I got back I could see where the heck I had been. My feet headed towards the Bull, again, first poking around on the south side for a bit, then over the bridge and heading east up the Bull. This area is such a magnet for me. I traipsed here and there, wandering through much of the same areas as before. Stopping and enjoying the sounds of the river and the birds.

I find myself looking down a lot, mostly cause I am a bit clutzy and need to see where my feet are going. But when I take photos I tend to focus on scenic types shots. Today though, not being in a hurry, worrying about fading light, I stopped and focused on the small things; like the wildflowers, rocks, lichen and sounds. Sounds are hard to capture in a photo so I tried for the other stuff.

There are many different types of moss and lichen here in the trees and on the ground. My experiment today was getting up close and personal with some of these small things, learning about depth of field, manual focus and my zoom lens. Some turned out, some no so much. But that's okay, it validates the learning portion of the excursion. Not getting it perfect today is a very good excuse for more practice, more hiking.

If you click on the photo of the lichen on the branch it will enlarge and the spiderweb on the branch will be visible!

Here is another example of a lichen, kind of like a net, covering the lower branches of a shrub. Oops, that's a hunter's blind I stumbled on along a animal track that I was following.

This purple wildflower, a violet I think, was tiny but in a field of rocks and shrubs, very pretty.

This branch just coming into bud had such nice colors. I'll have to go back and visit it when it is in full bloom.

My conscience was telling me I should save some energy for chores, so I headed in the general direction of home. By the time I arrived back at Dusty Acres my GPS showed that I had traveled a little more than 5.5 miles. I pulled off my boots and had just sat back with a drink cooling my heels when my neighbour showed up. 'Want to go for a walk?'

Whoo hoo, two hikes in one day! Chores could wait. Back on went the boots, grabbed the bear spray and off I went again. We headed 'up the hill' and did a 2.5 hour tour around, what the locals call, Crowsnest Lake through areas I had not been yet. A bit of bear scat around but we hoped the dogs (Yeller and Cinch) would spot any bears before they spotted us. Especially since out of the two of us, I would be the slow one, therefore, a hearty snack for some cranky, hungry momma bear. I'll have to borrow a dog and go back again, this time with my camera and GPS.

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