A botanical highlight of last weekend's foray into the depths of Adams County was catching peak bloom of the Stiff Gentian, Gentianella quinquefolia. This species has a spotty, localized distribution in Ohio, and prefers rather barren openings. There's a ton of it along the start of the trail to Buzzard's Roost Rock, which is one of the Buckeye State's essential hikes.
The curious bluish-purple flowers look as if they're made out of paper, and the pointed petals often cover the mouth of the corolla.
Most wildflowers are dependent upon the physical transfer of pollen to another plant, and this usually involves the assistance of insects. In the case of gentians, bumblebees are often the dispersal agent. These big brutish bees are perhaps Nature's ultimate pollinating machine. Their size and strength allows them to forcefully push into semi-closed flowers - like gentians - and access pollen that is off limits to lesser insects. It didn't take long before I saw a bumblebee busily making the rounds of the Stiff Gentians, and I set out after it to try to capture some pollination pictures.
The bumblebee has located a flower that has piqued its interest. The color of the corolla and its striped nectar guides are irresistible and the bee is drawn in like a moth to a flame.
After a bit of fumbling about, the animal manages to force its face into the maw of the flower.
A few wriggles and buzzes, and the bumblebee is swallowed up by the gentian flower, eagerly harvesting the nectar at the base of the bloom. Its fuzzy body will get doused with pollen, and then it's off to another flower, thus serving as an effective agent of cross-pollination.
I am a lifelong Ohioan who has made a study of natural history since the age of eight or so - longer than I can remember! A fascination with birds has grown into an amazement with all of nature, and an insatiable curiosity to learn more. One of my major ambitions is to get more people interested in nature. The more of us who care, the more likely that our natural world will survive.
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All photographs are available for purchase. If interested in an image(s), please feel free to contact me at: jimmccormac35 AT gmail.com
If you contact me requesting free photos, the reply may be long in coming :-)
I've been taking photographs for a few decades, but never became fully engaged in photography until 2003. That's when I got my first digital camera. Since then, photography has become a passion and a steadily growing addiction. If you delve back far enough into this blog, you will see photos that were made with a variety of Panasonic point & shoot bridge cameras. Then came a Canon Rebel DSLR, followed by a Nikon D7000. I've since returned to Canon, and use their gear exclusively. My camera bodies are a Canon 5DS-R and a 5D IV - both are awesome full-frame sensor cameras.
The lens bag includes a dozen Canon lenses that collectively cover most bases, ranging from macro to super telephotos. I do lots of macro, and my typical flash gear is the Canon Twin-Lite setup, or sometimes a diffused Canon 600 speedlite. If the gear needs three-legged stabilization, it is mounted on either an Induro tripod, attached to an Induro Gimbal head, or a Gitzo 3542 tripod and Wimberly WH-200 head. Finally, I've got a GoPro Hero, which is fully waterproof and can be used for underwater work. Sometimes I even use the camera or video feature on my iPhone 5S smartphone - it's amazing how good phone cameras have become.
Speaking, guiding gigs 2017
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