The good camera

Each time we take the bike out Joanna will ask, So which camera are you going to bring along? And I’ll say, The good camera is too heavy and we never see anything interesting while on the bike anyway. I’ll bring the Point-n-Shoot though, just in case. And she’ll draw out the phrase as she responds,You’ll be sorry. Well, we took the bike out this past Saturday and on the return leg of our out-n-back we stopped to admire some beautiful ferns, mosses, and horsetails growing in the adjacent wood. The light was just right and danced among the droplets of dew which had yet to evaporate from the primitive plants. Dam, I should have brought the good camera, I said. Joanna did not respond. We would be shearing sheep the next day so we were up early and off for a walk along the same stretch of creek we had passed the day before, but this time I had the good camera along. Joanna is so good to accompany me on these expeditions; but I feel bad for her because almost immediately upon arrival I promptly abandon her. I am lucky that she brings Mr. Darcy (her faithful Keeshond) along for company. I was delighted that the light was good once more and the dew had yet to depart. I spent an hour or so crawling around for just the right vantage. I should say that I like neither ticks (especially Ixodes, the kind that carry Lyme Disease) nor Poison Ivy and I came home with my share of both. Such sacrifice. Horsetails are interesting organisms indeed. Although they are vascular plants, in that they have conducting elements, they are primitive and more closely related to Ferns and their allies than they are to either the Angiosperms (the flowering plants) or Gymnosperms (conifers), for example. Their vertical stems are photosynthetic and are interrupted at regular intervals by whorls of branches, not leaves. Fellow bloggers at Portraits of Wildflowers, and even at Duck? Starfish? But … 23? and Theory and Practice of Trying to Combine Just Anything may appreciate the trivia I dug up at Wikipedia which suggested that the very regular decline in spacing of the whorls, toward the tip of the plant, may have inspired John Napier’s discovery of logarithms. A very close look at the nodal positions will reveal the tiny leaves which are pressed firmly to the stem. Horsetails are also known as Scouring Rush because their stems accumulate silica in concentrations which exceed those of the surrounding environment. Apparently the plant has a particular need for this material with the fortunate side consequence that it is not much bothered by herbivores, insect pests, or fungal pathogens. The specimens below are vegetative and sterile and develop from rhizomes within the soil. The fertile, reproductive shoots will also develop from the rhizome and will produce spores which germinate to form a gametophyte which will produce egg and sperm which will fuse to form the sporophyte you see here. I especially like this shot because of the good view of the dew and its subtle bokeh. Joanna observed that the little plants (just 4 – 6″ tall) look like mature trees – scale and reference are everything.


17 thoughts on “The good camera

  1. Of course you were correct! It is very interesting how plants inspire many of the sciences, not just botany. When reading about sleep research recently I learned that the open-close-cycle of the Mimosa plant gave the first hints about the existence of internal clocks (observed by an astronomer, by the way).

    Now my usual stream-of-consciousness observation. What is intriguing is – again! – the contrast. The plant in the middle is the blurry one, in contrast to the others. It is irritating in an interesting way – my eyes try to focus on the center of the image but it does not work 😉

    I did not read Wikipedia back then – but I recall from my childhood (“dinosaurs”/”paleontology” period) that horsetails are among the most ancient plants on the planet.

    • You’ve got your science correct Elke … Horsetails are indeed relics of the very distant past … along with the ferns they are the oldest vascular plants we know. D

  2. One thing about blogging is that it reveals much richer data about people than does other methods. I suspect you have Elke and me figured out correctly here 🙂 On that topic I had never suspected that, logs had plant origins, but had always figured that, maybe the nautulus shell would have been more of an inspiration. That is extremely interesting! One other thing, have you purchased a good travel bag for your camera? Perhaps a good backpack-type would work well for you. Take a peek at Lowepro’s website (and, no, I have no connections to them) as I found several down through the years that met my former colleagues needs perfectly. At the time I needed to outfit five of our people with bags that held both their laptops as well as DSLRs, both of which were company property and, so, I needed to protect the equipment while ensuring that the people could use it. You’ll find some nice camera backpacks that you could take on the bike as well as a nice backpacks that could hold both the DSLR + accessories as well as a laptop, all for less than $100. They’re durable too. Oh, and, for a point and shoot, that’s one fine picture. I could not do as well with my Rebel … but that’s another story 🙂

    PS: I don’t know if I mentioned this before but my Mom’s sister’s boss was a Mr. D’arcy 🙂

    • It’s funny you should suggest Lowepro … for I had one of their bags for the Nikon when I only had a single lens for it. After collecting a couple of additional lenses I needed something bigger … the backpack-type you mention was just what I got. Not a Lowepro but a Tamrac … their Evolution 8 model ( I’m not sure I’d take it on the bike though … for, fully loaded, it must weigh 10-15 pounds. I’ll give Joanna the D’arcy report. And, finally, this image WAS taken with the NIKON on the second day out … because it was only the Point-n-Shoot I had with me the first time! D

  3. I’ve always loved the exoticism of horsetails … they are so striking in the middle of the ordinary woods. Nice image

  4. GLORIOUS! The good camera is good indeed! I agree with Joanna in that they DO look just like miniature trees! The drops of dew (can’t believe you captured that) look like X-Mas ornaments! YIKES about the poison ivy and ticks! Did you pull them off with tweezers? No long sleeves? You worry me sometimes!

    • Joanna is the tick expert and assures me that the ticks (5 or 6, can’t remember) were not the Lyme tick but were juveniles of our Rabbit Tick. They all look the same to me and scare the heck out of me. I’ve been bitten twice by the Lyme tick and had to take the week of antibiotics both times. Joanna has done it twice as well and the stuff really threw hew for a loop. The Poison Ivy thing has always been a problem … I seem to get it simply by looking at it. Anyway … it seems it was worth all of that for the pretty pictures. More to come … stay tuned. D

  5. Ah, there’s a familiar “face.” I’ve seen plenty of these, but you make them much more interesting in your post than they first appear. I hope the sheep shearing went well (not too hard on the backs)?

    • Thanks for asking after our backs M. We shear with the animal in a fitting stand rather than having the animal on its rump. This way is lots easier on the backs of us old folks! It takes a bit longer this way … 20 minutes or so per animal … but we always remove the fleece in a single piece, rather than in so many ‘swathes.’ Standing is also less stressful for the animal and allows us the opportunity of a careful check of the hooves and other essentials and also allows us to worm the animal easily as well. Thanks for checking in … now I’ve got to go take a look at YOUR recent post. D

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