Welcome, but unsettling, early flowers
by Rob Tiller
Spring isn’t supposed to come in Raleigh in February, but it has. The birds are singing lustily and early flowers are blooming. It’s beautiful, though also unsettling—our climate is definitely changing. But we still have sweet moments.
I took a hike in Swift Creek Bluffs on Saturday morning and found some tiny wildflowers. At one point I was on my knees in the dirt with the camera and tripod, struggling with focus and exposure, and my glasses kept slipping down my nose, so I took them off. I did a minor adjustment, shifted position, and put a knee right on the glasses. Dagnabit! I’ll be taking them in to Adrienne at the Eye Care Center for repair next week.
Speaking of plants, there was an interesting podcast from Radiolab last week on plant behavior. For example, some trees can sense the presence of water some distance away in the soil with a sense that seems like hearing. Also, researchers have found that some plants appear to learn about threatening human behavior and remember what they learn. How they do this without a brain is still a mystery.
This morning I went up to Raulston Arboretum for the first time this year and found more things blossoming, and took some more pictures.
For the last two weeks we’ve been having dinner in front of the TV and watching the Winter Olympics. We like the skiing and skating, and for that we’ll tolerate the abusively repetitive advertising.
This year NBC improved the quality of its on air commentators, and for a number of events had people who both knew about the non-mainstream sports and had comments that were helpful to the non-specialist. Bode Miller was insightful on ski racing, as were Tara Lipinski and Johnny Weir on figure skating. And they let Weir be Weir, as gay as can be–a cheering step forward for tolerance and respect in American media.
I wasn’t expecting to see outdoor flowers for at least a couple of weeks, and so I’d been working on more pictures of Sally’s orchid. I did focus stacking with Photoshop, which took several hours of computer processing, and made a couple of images that I liked: