Wednesday, February 13, 2019

Skunk-cabbage and an icy waterfall

I hadn't tripped the shutter on a real camera for several weeks, due to lots of more important things taking place, so getting out a bit last Monday was very photographically therapeutic. Time was short, so I ran over to two local spots. The first was Kiwanis Riverway Park, a postage stamp of a natural area but full of biodiversity. Kiwanis sits on the east bank of the Scioto River in Dublin, Ohio, and to me at least it is defined by the artesian springs that feed its wetlands. The boggy soil created by the springs is wonderful habitat for the first of our native spring wildflowers to bloom, the skunk-cabbage, Symplocarpus foetidus

I was pleased but not surprised to find the skunkers lunging from the boggy mire, and a check of the more mature specimens revealed pollen adorning the tiny flowers. Full bloom, on February 11. I was especially pleased to be able to make photos of the plants in the snow. In this image, we can see evidence of the thermogenic nature of this odd arum. Skunk-cabbage generate heat as a byproduct of their growth, and self-warm enough to melt away the snow around the fleshy liver-dappled spathe - the fleshy hood that encloses the true flowers.

Spring has sprung.

As always, click the photo to enlarge

Only a few minutes from Kiwanis Park is one of central Ohio's most iconic waterfalls, Hayden Run Falls. So, over I dashed to try my hand at a landscape image. Abundant snowmelt and lingering ice formations cast the falls in an especially pleasing light, and I was glad that I made the short detour. If you've not seen this place, make a visit sometime, especially after rainfall has swollen the small feeder creek.

Sometimes when reviewing winter waterfall shots, I find that I don't particular like the colorized versions. That was the case here. The Columbus limestone has an orangish tinge in places, and the juxtaposition of mossy greens and various browns was a bit unpleasing to my eye. So I converted the image to black and white and was much more pleased with the end result. Ice, snow, and water often lens themselves well to B & W interpretation. I always shoot in color, though, even though I have the option of shooting in black and white with my cameras. Converting images to B & W is simple, and as I ALWAYS work off copies of original images, I will always have the original color versions should I ever want to use them.

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